Sleep is so important for mental and physical health. It is one of basic human needs. Yet so many of us struggle to fall asleep at night. But worry not, there might be something you can do to make it easier. These 10 tips will also help improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Do not consume stimulants in the afternoon.
Yes, I’m talking about caffeine, too. I love my coffee and green tea, but having stimulants like caffeine in the afternoon can affect you at bedtime. So avoid anything with caffeine, such as coffee, caffeinated tea, and soda in the afternoon. Only have them in the morning. Stick to water or herbal tea that doesn’t contain caffeine. If you work out in the afternoon and drink pre-workout to boost your energy, try stim-free pre-workout. It may not give you the vigor that stimulants provide, but it still contains ingredients that will help you get the most out of your workout session.
2. Don’t drink water right before bed.
I’m usually such a proponent for drinking water and hydrating yourself. However, drinking water shortly before going to sleep can interrupt your sleep by making you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Drink enough water until an hour before bedtime and use the bathroom before you sleep so you can have undisturbed sleep.
3. Limit alcohol.
Doesn’t alcohol make you sleepy? It might at first, but it keeps you from getting good quality sleep throughout the night. I myself find that I am unable to sleep through the night and instead wake up in a few hours after an evening of heavy drinking. It’s okay to enjoy a good drink occasionally, especially when you’re socializing, but try not to do it too much.
4. Limit your naps to under 30 minutes.
If you didn’t get enough sleep during the night, of course you’re sleepy during the day. But if you sleep for hours during the day, it’s going to take away from the sleep you’re supposed to have at night and the cycle will continue. Keep the naps short and sweet (if at all) and try to push through until bedtime.
5. Exercise, but not right before bed.
Exercise will help you sleep, unless you do a highly intense workout right before bedtime. Finish your workout at least an hour before your bed to give your body time to wind down.
6. Stretch your body.
Stretching can help you relax and improve your blood circulation, helping you get better sleep. Develop a stretching routine and do it before bed to sleep better.
7. Turn off your electronics an hour before bed.
Digital screens can affect your melatonin and make it more difficult to sleep at night. Instead of looking at your phone or watching TV at night, try reading a paper book or journaling into a paper notebook. Don’t read or write anything that will get you emotionally worked up, though. Find something relaxing so you can fall asleep easily afterwards.
8. Get blackout curtains or an eye mask.
If you have appliances that emit light in your bedroom or have street lights and moonlight coming in through the window, you might have trouble sleeping because of them. Install blackout curtains that block the lights shining through your window or get a sleep mask that covers your eyes. I got an eye mask since curtains are a bit more tricky with my room situation, and it definitely helped me fall asleep.
9. Remove noise, or make some noise.
A quiet environment might be better for sleep, but for some, the silence can be so unsettling that it actually keeps them from sleeping. And some sounds are out of our control. If you sleep better in silence, ear plugs might help. Use white noise or soothing music to drown out the inevitable sounds. Make sure you set a sleep timer if you do so.
10. Say no to late night snacks.
You might think eating, especially a lot of carbs, make you sleepy, the phenomenon colloquially known as “food coma.” But keeping the digestive organs active during the night can lead to poor sleep quality. Make sure your last meal or snack is several hours before bed.
Those are the tips that helped me sleep better. If you are unable to sleep even after trying your best, please consult a physician about a possible sleep disorder. Thank you for reading!