Try these sleep hacks for a more restful night.
Sleeping problems are the actual worst. When you’re tired you can find literally everything to be more difficult, you can be crabby, and have a hard time getting work done. Getting to sleep can be hard, as well as staying asleep, and having that sleep be restful. You may have to commit a little time and energy on making these sleep hacks work, but the restful returns will be so worth it tomorrow morning.
Cut the caffeine cord
Cutting down on caffeine can help you to relax and get to sleep better. We’re not saying you should avoid entirely (how would anything ever get done?) just avoid caffeine after noon. The half life of caffeine in the body is about six hours, and simply avoiding more is one of the easiest sleep hacks. Let’s say you have three cups of coffee during the morning up till noon. At 100-ish mg of caffeine per cup, thats 300 mg of caffeine. At 6 PM you’ll still have 150 mg of caffeine coursing through your body. If you had your last cup at 3 pm you wouldn’t get to the half life till 9. See what we mean?
Cut the alcohol
Although alcohol is a depressant, and may make you fall asleep, it won’t be restful. A study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that alcohol disrupts normal sleeping patterns.
If you find yourself wound up at the end of the day, too busy thinking to sleep, try to meditate it out. Meditating is helpful for your brain in general but seeing lasting effects takes time. To get an immediate dose of calm try turning on a meditation podcast or using an app like Calm. The soothing voice gives your brain something to lock onto as it tells you to relax. Pop on a sleep timer and you’ll be lulled to sleep in no time.
You know how taking your dog for a long walk, or taking your kiddos to the park makes them tuckered out and sleepy? Yeah, that works for you too. Making your body physically tired helps you to sleep. A study by The Sleep Foundation found that adults who exercise regularly slept better. Just don’t get too revved up in the gym close to bed time, you may wake yourself up. Give a few hours leeway to get the best benefits. You can also try bulking up on prebiotic foods, which are said to help sleep patterns.
Avoid stress in the bedroom
Work from home? Try to avoid doing so from bed. Although it may be nice to tuck up with a blanket and your laptop, you can learn to associate the bedroom with stress, making it harder to relax when it’s time to sleep.
Add the right noise
Keeping your sleeping space quiet is a good thing, but too quite may not work for you. If you are easily woken by roommates, neighbors or even your home settling, a white noise machine may help. Having some background noise to distract your ears and mind works similarly to the sleep meditation, above.
Some people are relaxed by smell more than others, and using aromatherapy is one of the more popular sleep hacks out there. If you find yourself soothed in candle stores or you gravitate towards the perfume section in Sephora, this may work for you. Things like lavender scented fragrance plugins or the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray set the smell for sleeping.
It’s as easy as burning a lavender candle for 10-20 minutes as you wind down for the evening.
Relax and warm up
Having a bath or warm shower can help you sleep in two different ways. Taking time to relax, shortly before bed can help get your mind in wind down mode. Also, warming up your body, pre-sleep gets you in that snuggle into the covers mode. This, admittedly small study, found that taking a warm bath before bed causes more sleepiness at bedtime. You can also read up on how to regulate body temperature.
Decrease screen time
We know you’ve heard it before, but turning off electronics an hour before bed leads to better sleep. The blue light that comes from just about every screen you’ve got can throw off your circadian rhythm because it causes alertness, Harvard found. Avoid before bed so your eyes can get nice and relaxed to go to sleep. This is by far one of the easiest sleep hacks — all you have to do is put your phone down!
An eye mask never hurt
Blue light from your phone isn’t the only annoying light at night. If you can’t seem to get your room dark enough, you may need an eye mask. There are now molded eye masks that fit better on the face and can block most light from reaching your eyes.
Reflect on your day
Lastly if you have buzzing mind or often have restless dreams of office politics or your to do list for tomorrow, a little self reflection can help, pre-bed. Jotting down what happened during the day, little annoyances, or even goals for tomorrow can help to clear your mind and let you rest. Try getting an undated journal and jotting just a few sentences down per day.
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