There is no doubt how important sleep is to our lives. It helps our brain work better, helps us be more productive at work, and even helps out immune system functionality.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a positive relationship with sleep. Despite its importance, many people struggle to get quality sleep. There are countless reasons for this, but they all result in a person being tired, irritable, and unable to perform their best.
Thankfully, there are some ways to improve your relationship with sleep and start waking up more well-rested in the morning, and this article will go over a few of them.
Table of Contents
Improve Your Sleeping Environment
It’s also essential to create an environment conducive to sleeping well. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and comfortable. Keep your room free from any distractions like TVs or phones.
If possible, keep the temperature cool. Cooler temperatures promote deep sleep cycles.
Relax, Before Bedtime
Taking a nap earlier in the day instead of in the evening can boost energy and help you fall asleep more easily at night.
Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or deep breathing before bed each night can help reduce stress and anxiety that may keep you awake.
Another helpful technique is the 4-7-8 breathing method. This involves breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling for eight seconds. It’s a great way to relax your body and mind before bedtime.
You may also want to try progressive muscle relaxation or visualization techniques before bedtime. These involve focusing on different body parts and tensing and relaxing them one by one, or imagining yourself in a peaceful place such as a beach or forest.
Here are some relaxation activities you can incorporate into your pre-bedtime routine:
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- Deep breathing – take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This helps to relax the body and mind.
- Mindfulness meditation – focus on the present moment and observe your thoughts without judgement or attachment.
- Guided imagery – use visualization techniques to imagine yourself in a calming environment or situation.
- Progressive muscle relaxation – tense each muscle group in your body for several seconds before releasing them one by one, starting from the feet up to the head.
- Yoga, tai chi, or qigong – these gentle forms of exercise can help relax the body while also improving balance and coordination.
- Stress balls – squeezing a stress ball can be an effective way of releasing tension in the body while also helping to focus the mind on something other than worries or anxieties.
Get a Better Bed
Perhaps the best way to completely overhaul how well you sleep is by upgrading your bed and mattress. A new mattress that is both comfortable and supportive can make a world of difference in your sleep quality.
There are memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, innerspring, and several other options on the market.
Be sure to think about your sleeping position when choosing a mattress. Those who sleep on their sides may need a softer mattress, while stomach sleepers will often enjoy the experience of a more supportive mattress.
Of course, when deciding which bed to buy, you need to think about price and size.
Keep Your Sleep Schedule Consistent
While many may think they can go to bed, wake up any time they want, and get good sleep, this isn’t the case. This is because of your circadian rhythm. These are 24-hour cycles in our body, and the one that impacts sleep is the sleep/wake cycle.
This cycle works in tandem with our internal clock, which is influenced by light and sound. If you are constantly sleeping and waking at strange times, it can be incredibly confusing for your body, and it will not know when it should be preparing you for sleep or when it should be energizing you for the day ahead.
As a result, try to keep your sleep relatively consistent by waking up and going to bed around the same time. It may be difficult to force yourself into a consistent sleeping schedule, but as your body adapts, it will become much easier and you will certainly see an improvement in your sleep.
Creating a consistent bedtime routine is one of the most important steps in improving your sleep habits. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps your body establish an internal clock that will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
A relaxing pre-bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it’s time for rest. Taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to calming music are all great activities that can help you unwind before bed.
Turn off the Electronics
If you go to bed with your phone still on, then you need to try and break that habit. It’s important that you try and keep all of your electronics out of your bed so that it helps you fall asleep more easily.
Many of us have our phones near our bed so we’ll end up responding to late night messages and engaging in late-night video watching.
If you have a TV in your room, then it’s all too common to leave it on and watch some shows to try and fall asleep. Sadly, you’re not going to fall asleep by watching something or actively using your brain.
You need to relax and unwind if you want to fall asleep, turn off all your electronics, keep them out of the room so you’re not tempted to use them during bedtime, and simply close your eyes.
With that said, some people do find it easier to fall asleep when they play some soothing music. Electronics in the bedroom aren’t necessarily bad, but they can be distracting. As long as you’re not tempted to use those electronics, they’re acceptable in the bedroom.
Practice a Nighttime Routine
Get used to a bedtime routine and you’ll find that it’s much easier to fall asleep. This article from Huff Post has many helpful tips that you can follow that will help you sleep more easily.
It involves cutting caffeine long before bed and turning off your electronics roughly an hour before sleep. However, it also helps to take a nice warm bath and drink something soothing such as a glass of warm milk.
Creating a pre-bedtime routine of relaxation activities can help wind down your body and mind before bedtime. A few more ideas are:
- Taking a warm bath or shower
- Listening to relaxing music
- Reading a calming book
- Doing gentle stretches
- Writing in a journal
- Practicing deep breathing exercises
- Making an intention for your day ahead
- Visualizing yourself in a peaceful place, such as a beach or forest
By incorporating these activities into your bedtime routine, you can help make it easier to fall asleep each night and wake up feeling refreshed.
Whatever your bedtime routine, make sure you do it every night so that your body instinctively knows it’s time to rest.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
The food and beverages you consume can also have an impact on how well you sleep. While coffee is the common culprit that everyone thinks about, it isn’t the only thing you should avoid before bed.
You also want to watch out for spicy foods or overly heavy foods. Too much protein before bed generally isn’t good, either.
These can make you uncomfortable or make it hard for your body to naturally prepare for sleep. As for what you should eat and drink before bed, you usually want to keep it light. Something healthy and mild is generally the best choice.
Of course, the best option is to not eat for the last few hours before sleeping.
Time To Sleep
In conclusion, these tips are sure to improve your relationship with sleep and ensure you can get a more restful slumber for a better and more productive life.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.