Get a Better Night’s Sleep
If you haven’t been sleeping well lately, try the tips below to be on the road to dreamland tonight.
Set a regular sleep schedule. If you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you’ll get back in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. If you must nap, keep it at 30 minutes or less, and find something small to do, such as washing the dishes or folding clothes, to stave off after-dinner drowsiness.
Watch what you eat. Avoid big or fatty meals within two hours of bedtime to aid in digestion, and try to avoid alcohol and most liquids within four hours of going to sleep. Limit your caffeine intake, and eat a light snack such as string cheese, half a peanut butter sandwich or a banana to help promote sleep.
Replace your bedding. If your bedding is too heavy, you may wake up frequently because you’re too hot. Switch out your heavy comforter or polyester bedspread with a cotton quilt, which more evenly distributes heat, is lightweight and encourages you to get cozy. Replace your low-thread count sheets with sheets in sateen or 400-thread-count cotton for maximum softness.
Don’t exercise right before bed. Exercise raises your body temperature and stimulates the body, so try to work out in the morning, at lunch time or in the early afternoon. However, feel free to do light yoga or stretching before bed to help you relax.
Hang lined curtains. Since your goal is to get the room as dark as possible, opt for heavy curtains or dark shades to eliminate as much light from the room as you can. Turn the TV off and even wear an eye mask to help keep out light.
Keep the temperature in check. Program your thermostat so the temperature drops during the night (around 65 degrees is ideal for sleeping), since most people sleep best in a cool room.
Consider using earplugs. If you’re a light sleeper, you may benefit from using earplugs so you wake up less often during the night. Outside traffic, insomniac roommates and even appliances can all make noise throughout the night. If you’re a really light sleeper, check out the high decibel-blocking earplugs at home improvement stores, designed for those who use jackhammers on a regular basis.
Kick out the pets. We know, you love sleeping with Fido or Fluffy (or both), but they are typically bed hogs that are too cute to move, and they give off a massive amount of heat that can negate any afore-mentioned room temperature controls. They might whine outside your door at first, but the uninterrupted sleep will be worth it in the long run.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / bikeriderlondon