It may help to know that everyone experiences trouble falling or staying asleep once in awhile. Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you are awake at around 3:30am, but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. If disrupted sleep rules your nights, it can make your days nightmarish. You may feel sluggish and dull. Your emotional and physical health may suffer.
Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this present time. Here are some simple ways to get a more restful sleep.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine drinkers may find it harder to fall asleep than people who do not drink caffeine. Their sleep is always shorter and lighter. For some, a single cup of coffee in the morning will results to a sleepless night. That may be because caffeine blocks the effects of a neurotransmitter that promote sleep. Caffeine can also interrupt sleep by increasing the need to urinate during the night.
Exercise helps promote restful sleep if it is done several hours before you go to bed. It can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly, as long as it is done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain.So, try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.
Settle For An Appropriate Environment
A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound sleep. To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it is time to wake. Keep the temperature comfortably cool and the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Also, keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
Sleep When Tired
Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you are not asleep after few minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.
Avoid Smoking Tobacco
Nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant that can cause insomnia. This potent drug makes it harder to fall asleep because it speeds your heart rate and raises blood pressure. It also stimulates fast brainwave activity that indicates wakefulness. In people addicted to nicotine, a few hours without it is enough to wake a smoker at night.
People who kick the habit fall asleep more quickly and wake less often during the night. Sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue may occur during the initial withdrawal from nicotine, but even during this period, many former users report improvements in sleep. If you continue to use tobacco, avoid smoking or chewing it for at least one to two hours before bedtime.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night. Also, alcohol can worsen snoring and other sleep breathing problems, sometimes to a dangerous extent. Even one drink can make a sleep-deprived person drowsy. It is therefore best to limit alcohol consumption to one to two drinks per day, or less, and to avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime
Avoid Late Night Meals
Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that (in your experience) won’t disturb your sleep, perhaps dairy foods and carbohydrates.
Drink Enough Fluid
Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty. But this should not be close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need to visit the bathroom.
Stop Staring At The Clock In Your Bedroom
Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clock’s face away from you.
And if you wake in the middle of the night and can not get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And avoid bright light because it can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are dropping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.