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5 Simple Tips to Help Improve Your Sleeping Habits

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It’s the new year! Have you made a resolution to take better care of yourself in 2020? 

As an adult, you need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

Anything short of this and you begin accumulating a sleep deficit, with disastrous results on your health, quality of life and general wellbeing.

However, some people need a bit more help than others when it comes to falling and staying asleep.

Do you find yourself counting sheep every other night or waking up numerous times? Here are some tips to help you get enough hours of rejuvenating sleep every night.



1. Avoid Substances that Affect Sleep

Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other substances that have stimulants can make it harder for you to fall asleep.

Avoid these substances four to six hours before bedtime.

Alcohol might initially induce sleep, but it acts like a stimulant hours later. This increases the number of times you wake up during that night, interfering with your quality of sleep.

If you choose to have some, try and consume your alcohol several hours before bedtime.



2. Make Your Bedroom Conducive for Sleep

Look around your bedroom. What is in it?

If you have a laptop, a TV and bring your phone to bed, these could be part of the reason why you are not sleeping well. Your bedroom should have minimal distractions. If you have to keep glancing at your phone, this can make it harder for you to sleep.

Granted, you might need your phone in case anyone needs to reach you at night. However, train yourself to leave the ringer on and trust that you will be alerted when needed.

Looking at your phone every hour or so is counter-productive.

However, the most significant sleep aid in your bedroom is your bed. If it isn’t comfortable enough, you will have trouble falling asleep. Get a bed with a sturdy base and use the right mattress and you are well on your way to enjoying quality sleep. A good mattress can make all the difference.



3. Establish a Pre-Sleep Routine

The few hours leading to bedtime should be relaxing, not stimulating.

The rise and fall in body temperature after a bath is known to promote drowsiness. Most people find that a warm bath eases them to sleep.

Reading, listening to calming music and meditating are also other activities that help promote a deep snooze.

On the other hand, activities that are physically or psychologically taxing can cause the body to release the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol does nothing for your sleep as it is known to increase alertness, which is the last thing you want at bedtime.



4. Use Light to Your Advantage

Natural light keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake-sleep cycle.

Because of this, any lights that are close to the natural light spectrum tend to keep you awake.

Aside from not being able to fall asleep, the more light you get when sleeping, the more your chances of falling into deep sleep are lessened.

In this regard, avoid white light for your bedroom, and go for red light instead.

If your bedroom is right outside bright streetlight, look at buying heavy quality drapes in darker colors as well as layering several of them.

If these make little difference, invest in some quality sleep masks.



5. Schedule Your Sleep

Human beings are creatures of habit.

Sleeping and waking at roughly the same time every day sets your ‘internal clock’.

This helps your body learn to expect sleep at a certain time.

You have probably experienced this internal clock differently. If you set your alarm at the same time every morning, you find that you tend to come to at that time, even when you do not set the alarm.

It also works in reverse, where your body anticipates sleep time, and you find that you fall asleep faster.

Is Sleep Worth the Effort?

Indeed it is.

Sleep deprivation affects your health, increasing your risk of diabetes, blood pressure, and depression.

It also hampers your ability to concentrate and make decisions, which can substantially impact your productivity at work, or make you more accident-prone.

Quality sleep in undeniably one way to feel better, perform optimally and safeguard your overall health.

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