5 Best Tips For Busting Your Poor Sleeping Habits
"We are such stuff as dreams are made, and our little life is rounded with a sleep." - William Shakespeare
If you're anything like the rest of us, your life is much too busy. Between work, family and social activities, there's hardly enough time to breathe, let alone get a good night's sleep. But skimping on your sleep can have disastrous results on your health and mental well-being. If you allow poor sleeping habits to wear you down; your mood, your energy, and your family will suffer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 35% of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep. While you can't always control all the factors that rob you of sleep, there are some tips to help you break the bad sleep habits you have formed.
Whether you're stressed out about work or just suffering a routine bout of insomnia, these tips for making healthier choices in sleeping habits will help you get more rest.
Maintain A Sleep Schedule
My sister would often complain of never getting enough sleep at night. When I asked her what time she went to bed and when she got up, we realized she was only allowing herself 6 hours of sleep to begin with.
By shifting her bedtime a couple of hours earlier, she was able to ensure she got a full 8 hours of sleep most nights. You can't get enough sleep if you do not schedule enough time.
Avoid Afternoon Naps
When you've had an exhausting day, you might be tempted to take an extra snooze during the afternoon. This seems like a good idea when you can hardly keep your eyes open, but it disrupts your nighttime sleep schedule more than you can imagine.
If you feel you really must catch a few winks for fear of falling asleep while you're trying to achieve your daily tasks, limit yourself to no more than a 30 minute nap. Anything more and you may not want to sleep at night.
Get Out And Stretch Your Legs
Though exercise can feel energizing at the time you are doing it, the physical activity actually helps you rest better at night. Not only does working your muscles aid in burning off extra energy that might keep you from falling asleep, it provides your body with a natural letdown feeling that can lead to more restful sleep.
Evaluate Your Bedroom
It may seem simple, but many people don't take the time to evaluate whether they are sleeping in a calm environment. Temperature, mattress, bedding, lighting and sound can all have a tremendous impact on your quality of sleep. A cool, dark environment is the best place to sleep.
If there is light from outside that gets in through your windows, you could invest in darker shades. If noises are an issue, consider earplugs or running white noise such as a fan. A fan will also help maintain the correct temperature of 60-67 degrees that is ideal for sleeping.
Watch What You Eat and Watch Before Bedtime
Though most of us know that ingesting stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine before bed will affect the quality of our sleep, many people do not realize that eating heavy or hard to digest meals before bed can have the same effect. You should limit your food and drink intake to light snacks and non-caffeinated drinks within an hour or two of bedtime.
What you watch may have an effect on how you sleep as well. Staring at bright screens such as computers, tablets, cell phones or even the television before bedtime is proven to impact your sleep by reducing production of melatonin and keeping your brain alert. If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, try reading a paperback or magazine until you feel tired.
When my newly husband would stay up late working on the computer, he would often complain that he wasn't falling asleep easily despite being exhausted. I suggested that he read for half an hour before bed and, though he was skeptical of giving up yet another half hour of sleep, he tried it. Though his scheduled sleep time was further reduced by the planned reading, he realized that he fell asleep quicker and got more rest than before he tried reading.
Read more: How To Choose The Best Reading Pillow
Life can be hard in today's society when it feels like no matter what you do, there just aren't enough hours in the day to achieve your goals. Self-care tends to take a backseat to careers, family life and scheduled events.
It may seem never ending, but if you slow down for just a minute and really think about how you spend your time, you will see there is often a simple path to taking better care of yourself.
Whether this means getting more exercise, scheduling more time for sleep, or just making sure that you eat balanced meals every day, the answers are there and often, are remarkably simple. If you aren't getting enough rest, it may well be due to your own poor sleeping habits.
Sometimes you need to put on the brakes for just a moment and re-evaluate how your own behaviour impacts your health and well-being. Often, the answers that will come look an awful lot like common sense.
Author Bio: Alex Moore is a sleep researcher - for www.sidesleeperguide.com - whose terrible insomnia fits got him into the field in the first place. Extending his passion for arts and crafts to sleep and dreams, he is now a slumber expert in the making.