Sleep is essential to both our mental and physical health. As the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute points out, sleep deficiency can have immediate detrimental effects or it can damage health over time. Further, our ability, or inability, to get sufficient sleep has a significant impact on how we function in our daily lives.
While it is recommended that adults average between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, according to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults are not getting enough sleep. If you happen to be among that 33 percent, here are ten practices that may help you to sleep more soundly at night.
Avoid caffeine late in the day
Though it can be tempting to grab a second cup of coffee after lunch to help with the afternoon slump, you may come to regret it at night. The effects of caffeine can last for five hours or more, thus keeping you awake when you desire sleep the most.
Exercising regularly has been proven to improve sleep quality, but it goes beyond that. Physical activity can also help you to fall asleep faster, remain asleep longer, and wake less frequently during the night.
Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
Eating large meals too close to bedtime can cause digestive discomfort, acid reflux and heartburn. Additionally, it can disrupt your sleep and some scientists believe that it can lead to weight gain.
Wind down before bed
Sleep experts, such as those with the Sleep Foundation, recommend that adults give themselves a digital curfew, which means that you shut down all technology at a designated time each night. The blue light that is emitted from technological devices is believed to interfere with one’s ability to fall and stay asleep if used to close to bedtime.
Stick to a schedule
You can also increase your chances of getting a better night’s sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Ideally, you should aim to go to sleep at the same time each night and wake around the same time each morning. Over time, your body’s internal clock will adapt to the schedule, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Make your bedroom sleep-friendly
You can also help sleep to come more easily by ensuring that your bedroom is comfortable and sleep-friendly. For one, you’ll want to ensure that your room is both dark and quiet. Additionally, it should be a nice moderate temperature that is not too hot or cold. Fluffy pillows and comfortable sheets and blankets won’t hurt either.
Establish a pre-sleep routine
In addition to cutting out screen time before bed, establishing a pre-sleep routine can also help you to get a better night’s sleep. Engaging in calming activities such as reading a book, listening to music, or even meditation can help you to unwind after a long day.
Create a bathtime ritual
Adding a bathtime ritual to your nighttime routine can also help to get you prepared for a night of sound sleep. Research has found that people who shower or bathe one to two hours before bed experience better quality sleep and improved sleep efficiency.
If you’re having a particularly difficult time sleeping at night, you may want to consult your doctor to be sure that an underlying condition is not the cause of your sleep troubles. If all is well with your health, perhaps a sleep-aid such as melatonin or a prescription sleep-aid can help you out.
Adopt stress management techniques
If we’re being honest, some times everyday stressors get in the way of sleep. To help with this, consider adopting some stress management techniques such as journaling, creating to-do lists, meditation, or breathing exercises. By using all or any of these strategies as an outlet for your stress, you may increase your chances of resting easier at night.