A bad night’s sleep can make the next day brutal. No one likes being tired. Just a quick look at energy drink and caffeine consumption in this country would support that. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, next to multivitamins, energy drinks are the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults. It’s time we put down the latte and started sleeping better. But how?
Put down the devices
One of the most common things you’ll read about improving sleep is disconnecting from your mobile device, be it phone or tablet, at least an hour before bedtime. The light from the screens alters your ability to fall asleep and has also been shown to reduce melatonin. So, give yourself a break, put down the devices, and enjoy a better night’s rest.
Dim the lights
In the same way that mobile devices can interrupt melatonin levels, so can bright lights. Dimming your house lights two to three hours before bed can help signal your brain to produce melatonin, which will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Don’t eat too late
Depending on what time you get up and go to bed, “too late” may be different for you and your friends. A good rule of thumb is not to eat three hours before bedtime. Not only will this help you sleep better because you’re not stressing your digestive system, but it can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Unwind as much as possible
It can be difficult to put the day behind you. If something is weighing on your mind from your work or personal life, try writing about it in a journal and then not thinking about it again until the next day. Meditation can help with this as well. If you’ve never tried meditating before, a quick Google search will deliver plenty of free guides to help you get started. Relaxing your mind can make sleep come quicker.
Give up the pick-me-up
Find yourself reaching for that mid-afternoon caffeine boost? If you’re determined to have your daily cup of coffee, but you’re having trouble sleeping, try moving that last cup of coffee to earlier in the day. Caffeine stays in your system longer than you might think. Try this for a few days in a row and see if it makes a difference in your sleep patterns.
Of course, you should also make sure your bedroom is a peaceful place with a comfortable bed and the correct pillows for your sleeping position. Painting your room a tranquil color, adding some aromatherapy and making sure your alarm clock isn’t too bright, can all be ways to help improve your sleep. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and you’re still waking up exhausted, it may be time to see your doctor.