Nothing is worse than going to bed early, only to find yourself tossing and turning, counting sheep to no avail. Going to sleep in the dark in a comfortable bed is only half the battle, as your habits during the day and before bed can have an effect on how you sleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it can be anything from what you ate earlier in the day to what you were doing right before bed.
Considering 35 percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep per night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure a good night’s rest.
Why? Lack of sleep can affect your cognition, kill your sex drive, increase your risk of depression, and possibly raise your chances of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
If you’re looking to fall asleep more easily and for longer, consider trying these seven tips for a better night’s sleep.
1. Turn Off Your Phone
Many of us like to play around on our cell phones before bed, but this can have a negative effect on sleep. Cell phones emit blue light, a type of light that suppresses production of the melatonin, the hormone in the body that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. This can lead to a later bedtime as well as disrupted sleep.
Can’t get away from it? Try an app like f.lux that changes the color of your screen so it reflects the appropriate time of day.
2. Don’t Snooze
Hitting the snooze button in the morning might feel nice in the moment, but it impacts your quality of sleep. When you wake up and fall back asleep, your body starts its sleep cycle all over again, causing your alarm to wake you up during an early-stage deep sleep cycle. This can cause you to feel groggy for the remainder of the day.
3. Avoid That Glass Of Wine
Although enjoying a little nightcap might help you initially doze off, it can cause problems with sleep during the night. Studies from the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that drinking alcohol before bed affects sleep homeostasis, disrupting quality of sleep and increasing your likelihood of waking up during the night. It might make sense to opt for decaf tea instead of wine for a better night’s sleep.
4. Lower The Thermostat
If you have problems falling asleep at night, you may want to lower your bedroom temperature. Studies show that a dip in the body’s core temperature right before bed tricks your brain into getting you ready for sleep. However, it is also still important to feel comfortable before bed, so consider turning off the heat rather than blasting the air conditioning.
5. Hit The Gym
Exercise is not only good for your physique, but it can also help you get a better night’s sleep. Studies show that long-term exercise can help insomniacs fall asleep more quickly, have longer sleep duration and experience improved quality of sleep.
6. Reserve Your Bedroom For Sleep
Although it can be tempting to hang out in your room or answer emails in your bed, you want to train your bedroom to be a stimulus for relaxation, not stimulation. Doing other activities can prevent you from relaxing when it comes time to sleep.
7. Keep A Consistent Schedule
Because some people fall behind on sleep during the week, they like to catch up on sleep during the weekends, but this can actually mess up your body’s biological clock. Not only does setting a routine bedtime help you more naturally and consistently fall asleep, but it can help prevent metabolic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.