If you spend your nights wide awake, tossing and turning, it can be easy to hit the snooze button and compromise your healthy morning routine. Preparing for—and getting—a good nights’ sleep will help ensure you’ll be well rested for the entire day’s activities.
When the goal is to be more productive during the day, waking up exhausted from a fitful night’s sleep can put a damper on those intentions. There is a balance between art and science in getting those forty winks. Here are some tips to help you doze off sooner, so you can wake up rejuvenated and ready for your day.
Set a nighttime routine. Practice yoga, have a cup of herbal tea, read a book—do something relaxing before hitting the hay so your body gets the message that it’s time to unwind. Also, sticking to the same bedtime every night (including weekends) will set your natural internal clock. It will be easier to fall asleep when your body knows what time to shut down.
Turn off (or remove) the TV. The light and electromagnetic frequencies from electronic devices can stimulate the mind, preventing you from getting optimal sleep. Also, the darker your room is, the better you’ll sleep.
Make your bed comfortable. Sometimes the problem could literally lie with you at night. Certain bedding is cooler than others, allowing for a more peaceful rest. If you feel hot when sleeping, consider buying sheets with a thread count of 400 or less. When thread count is high the weave is denser, and the sheets may feel hotter. Also the sizing used on some bed sheets to prevent wrinkles is often a synthetic coating, which can hold heat as well. If it’s your mattress that’s giving you aches at night, try experimenting with a different mattress topper, such as foam or egg crate styles.
Keep it cool. But not too cool! While a typical recommendation is to keep the room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, you should experiment, and set the temperature at a level that you find to be most beneficial. Keeping your head cool promotes good sleep and contributes to clearer morning thinking. Be wary of memory foam pillows, which initially feel good because they conform closely to your body shape, but may ultimately make you too hot.
Avoid caffeine. Your morning coffee is a stimulant, so it feels good when you first consume it, but can contribute a crash later in the day. Caffeine and nicotine can also cause sleep disruption, resulting in tiredness the next morning. If you need a little midday pick-me-up, try green tea instead.
Avoid heavy meals. Try to stop eating at least three hours before you go to bed so your body’s digestion won’t keep you up. While eating a gigantic dinner—or even a bedtime snack—may initially make you feel drowsy, the sleep won’t usually be deep or restful. Even worse, you may develop heartburn or gas, which will only increase your nighttime angst (and the anguish of those with whom you share your slumber).