• Jordan Dunin

Tired? 7 Ways to Get a Better Sleep.

If you’re waking up chronically tired, it can be much harder to be motivated to get up and get going. And over time, it can have negative effects on your overall health.

When you’re sleepy, your hunger hormones are thrown out of whack and you end up making poor diet decisions. Think of the last time you became exhausted in the early afternoon and reached for a bag of chips instead of your pre-made lunch. Beyond that, you become excessively irritable or wound up, leading to even worse sleep habits. Which then lead to correlated heath issues such as lowered immunity, depression, anxiety, stress, and many more.

Harvard Researchers have coined the term “sleep hygiene” which are a variety of practices and habits that can help anybody maximize the hours they spend sleeping. That includes those affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work. Follow these tips to enjoy a longer, more peaceful, and more productive sleep.

Establish a Pre-Bedtime Routine

The transition from being awake to being asleep can be difficult for a lot of people. Some may struggle with chronic pain, and others may let their minds run wild. Whatever the case may be, establishing a routine can dramatically increase the effectiveness of you falling asleep. Some relaxing activities include:

  • Reading a book

  • Meditating

  • Practicing Yoga

Avoid doing stimulating activities right before bed as they can make your body release the stress hormone cortisol, which then makes you more alert.

Set up a Sleep Schedule

It is recommended by the Mayo Clinic Staff that the average adult should get 7 hours of sleep. Taking into account falling asleep, and waking up, set aside 8 hours each night for you to be in bed. To better instill a sleep schedule into your life, make sure you are going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day. This may seem like you are giving yourself a curfew, and you are correct. Avoid the late nights staring into a Netflix screen and start prioritizing your sleep hygiene.

Setting your internal clock is very effective. Avoid ditching your sleep hygiene practices on the weekends as this will affect the rest of your week.

Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals

Any coffee lover (or coffee addict) knows that caffeine is a stimulant that is meant to keep you alert and awake. No, I’m not suggesting you quit having your morning coffee (just yet…) but I am recommending that you stop drinking caffeine at least six hours before bedtime. This will allow for your body to flush whatever caffeine is left out. Nicotine users should also refrain from smoking tobacco products in the same time frame.

According to Dr. Lawrence Epstein, from Harvard, although alcohol may help some get to sleep, it acts as a stimulant a few hours after it is ingested. This increases the number of times you wake up during the night dramatically affecting the quality of your sleep. Try your best to limit your alcohol consumption, and avoid drinking three hours before bedtime.

Make Your Bedroom Sleep & Sex Only

It may be tempting to have a large flat screen TV in your bedroom to watch your favourite reality shows before bed. But, this won’t be helpful for getting you to sleep. By keeping TVs, computers, laptops, tablets, and even phones out of your bedroom, this can strengthen your mental association with your bedroom being sleep only. Here are some helpful ways to turn your bedroom into a sleep room:

  • Make it dark. Purchase blackout blinds or heavy curtains to not let the natural light into your room.

  • Sleep with a mask. Covering your eyes is an amazing way to fall asleep because light is a signal to the body that it is time to wake up.

  • Use noise cancelling ear plugs or white noise appliance. Eliminating sound will allow you to become less alert and fall asleep faster.

  • Keep it cool. Keep your bedroom temperatures relatively cool to allow for a more comfortable sleep.

  • Keep pets out of bedroom. If you have a dog, it may like to move around in your bed at all times of the night. Set him up with a nice bed of his own so he no longer disturbs your sleep.

Stop Drinking Water Earlier

No matter how obvious this tip may seem, we all are guilty of having a tea, or glass of water before bed which results in us waking up in the middle of the night to go pee. Make sure you’re are properly hydrated throughout the day, and stop consuming fluids a few hours before you go to sleep. This will keep you in bed longer, allowing you to have a better sleep.

Exercise in the Morning

There is the ongoing debate on if you should exercise in the morning or if you should exercise in the evening. This section needs its own blog to fully dive into the information. But, for the purposes of sleep, it is not ideal to exercise before bed. Exercise stimulates the body to release the stress hormone cortisol. As stated before, this makes you more alert, which will make it harder for you to fall asleep.

Exercise can lead to a better sleep if it is done early. Try to exercise in the morning, and if you can’t try to at least give yourself 3 hours before you go to sleep.

Avoid Worrying

Being stressed, anxious, and worried causes us to become wound up and alert. We can create unlimited scenarios in our heads. If something is bothering you before bed, don’t let it affect your sleep. Try writing it down and leaving the note on your bedside table. This way you are not ignoring the issue, you are simply saying that you will get to it in the morning. If your mind is already wound up, try listening to a guided meditation and stay focused on what the meditation is saying. This will help to take your focus off of your worries if you can be present during the meditation.

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