How many times have you collapsed in bed feeling so tired but you couldn’t sleep? It sounds like it doesn’t make any sense. Sometimes, you’re dead tired but your body doesn’t seem to want to relax to let you fall into the sleep you so desperately need. Your head is a carousel of thoughts about the things you had to do and haven’t done during the day. Tomorrow’s to-do list gets longer by the minute. You are trapped in a vicious circle. If you only had more energy during the day, you would be more efficient and do more things. But if you can’t sleep at night, where do you find that energy? There are so many reasons why you may have trouble sleeping, or staying wide awake. But instead of melting your brain to try and find one, follow these tips to sleep better and see if the problem resolves itself.
1. Get the hours you need to sleep each night to be efficient during the day
One of the most important tips from our list to sleep better is: while it varies from person to person, most of us need 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are less efficient and focused during the day. And you may also have a higher risk of getting sick. Research has shown that lack of sleep can damage your appetite and immune system, make you gain weight, increase your risk of diabetes, and even increase your chances of getting into depression. If you’ve tried to get by by sleeping less, try adding an extra 15 minutes per week, until you reach the amount of sleep that allows you to wake up refreshed in the morning.
2. Create a relaxing atmosphere in your room
If your room is full of worksheets, books to read, tables to respect, and dirty linen, it will be impossible not to think about the things you need to do. Take 15 minutes a day to tidy it up and make your bedroom a place you can’t wait to unwind at the end of the day.
3. Make your bed every morning
A well-made bed is much more inviting than a jumbled pile of sheets and blankets. If you read our “how often should you wash your sheets?”, at this point you may know how to make the bed.
4. Use your bed only for sleep and sex
This will allow you to mentally associate it only with sleep and relaxation. Watch TV, use the computer, talk on the phone and eat somewhere else.
5. Create a soothing night-time ritual.
One of top tips to sleep better is: have your dinner at least 2 hours earlier than your bed time. What important is, have a light dinner at the evening instead of a big dinner, because you may feel uncomfortable. Turn off your computer and TV, don’t answer the phone for an hour before going to sleep. Indulge in relaxing activities. Have a shower!
6. Keep your room cool at night
For most people, the best temperature to fall asleep is between 18 and 19 degrees. (If you don’t have an air conditioner open your windows and use don’t forget to use a mosquito bed net to avoid getting mosquitos inside)
7. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening
Coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate and sugary snacks keep you too alert to fall asleep.
8. Don’t exercise in the evening
Fatigue helps sleep, but too heavy a workout late at night can keep you awake. However, a leisurely walk after dinner can be the right solution to relax body and mind.
9. Refrain from alcohol and spicy foods late at night
While a nightcap might help you fall asleep, it risks giving you fragmented and erratic sleep. Stay away from spicy foods and anything else that causes stomach acid and gastric stress. If you enjoy drinking wine or cocktails in evenings, drink plenty of water and keep a small bottle of water by your bed. That way, if you feel dehydrated during the night, you won’t need to get out of bed.
10. Take a few minutes
To think through your to-do list and get ready for the next day. This lets you know that everything is ready so that the morning will be calmer too.
11. Keep a notepad and pen by the bed
If you wake up in the middle of the night and your head is full of thoughts about things you forgot to do, or need to do, writing them will help you relax and worry less about forgetting them in the morning.
12. If you still haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes
Do not turn on the TV, do not do something that requires mental work and do not look at the clock. All of these activities stimulate you and make you more anxious. As soon as you feel sleepy, go back to bed. But instead, I advice you to watch some ASMR video if you enjoy those tingly sounds. If you don’t like these strange sounds, then I advice you to meditate before going to bed.
14. Eliminate or reduce afternoon naps to a maximum of 30 minutes
Beyond how much you slept the previous night. Taking a nap too late can lead you to another sleepless night and get you into a vicious cycle.
15. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
Last but not least from our list of tips to sleep better is: regardless of how long you slept the night before. The closer you get to a routine, the more easily your body will recognize it and respond approximately to your sleep and wake schedules. Don’t try to make up for all the hours of sleep lost during the week by sleeping all weekend.
Focus your energy on a different piece of advice each week, adding another one every new week. Notice if you fall asleep easier and sleep more peacefully. If you still feel exhausted and sleepy, talk to your doctor. Chronic insomnia, sleep apnea (a respiratory disease that causes sleep disturbances), or restless legs syndrome (pains in the legs that cause various movements during sleep) are all treatable with professional help.
It only takes small changes to your habits and routine to notice an improvement in the quality of your sleep. Getting up will take on a whole other meaning.