You spend several hours in bed every night, but how much of that time do you spend getting quality sleep? Tossing and turning to deprive you of the deep sleep you need and creates a frustrating cycle of sleeplessness. Fixing a broken sleep schedule isn’t easy, but by creating the right habits, you can improve your sleep quality each night.
Image via Flickr by quacktaculous
Alcohol certainly makes you feel sleepy, and some people enjoy a nightcap as a way of falling asleep. Resist the temptation: Alcohol might make you fall asleep, but it doesn’t help you stay asleep. In fact, you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night if you’ve had a drink before bed.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Signal your brain and your body that it’s time to wind down every night at the same time.
Create a bedtime routine that you start at the same time every night. This routine can start as early as two to three hours before your bedtime. If you follow the same routine at the same time every night, your body will naturally start to feel tired and ready for sleep.
Exercise in the Morning or Afternoon
While exercising before you go to bed will make falling asleep difficult, not exercising at all may have the same effect.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that exercising earlier in the day helps you sleep better at night. If you can get in some vigorous exercise, then that kind of activity can improve your sleep quality. Any exercise at all will do, especially if you’re starting from a place of never working out.
Don’t Use Screens Before Bed
Image via Flickr by crossbow
One of the worst activities you can do for your sleep habits is to stare at a phone or tablet screen before sleeping. Even in night mode, these screens emit enough light to signal your brain that you should be awake, not asleep.
If you must read something before bed, choose a book instead. The best bet, however, is to get in bed with no distractions and get used to doing nothing in bed but sleeping.
Improve Bedroom Air Quality
Sleeping soundly with a stuffy nose, a headache, or a sore throat is nearly impossible. Your bedroom’s air quality might be to blame if you suffer from these problems.
First, check your bedding. You need mattress and pillow covers that you wash in hot water once a week to keep dust to a minimum. You should also change your sheets every week.
Next, address the air itself. Humidity and poor indoor air quality negatively affect your ability to sleep. Air purifiers and HEPA filters in your HVAC system are good ways to address these issues.
Implementing new habits takes time, so don’t give up if after one or two nights your sleep quality isn’t any better. Over time, your body will fall into the pattern of getting restful sleep each night. Stay committed, and you’ll get better rest in the long run.