Ahhh, bed sweet bed. Your adorable, teething baby woke up at 3:30 AM this morning, which means you tackled three client meetings, an hour and a half of stop-and-go traffic, and two loads of laundry all while running on about four hours of sleep (since you just had to watch that next episode of your favorite Netflix show). You’d think that sleep would come pretty much instantly once you laid down on your perfectly fluffy pillow, yet for some reason, sleep just won’t show its lovely face. Before you decide on calling in sick tomorrow, check out our tips to help create the optimal sleeping conditions or our pre-bedtime routine so you can fall into that deep, sweet slumber you’ve been looking forward to all day.
Relax before Bed
Many people use the last hour before bedtime to catch up on emails, check social media, watch a TV show, hit the gym, or munch on a midnight snack—but these activities should typically be reserved for earlier in the day. Eating right before bed can cause indigestion, which may lead to problems sleeping. Going to the gym can give you a boost of energy that might make it more difficult to fall asleep. Watching TV, checking your phone, or using a tablet or laptop can also make sleep a bit harder to come by because of the type of light that emulates from these devices. Instead, try doing something relaxing like soaking in a warm bath, doing nighttime yoga, reading a book, or meditating.
Ditch the Lumpy Mattress
Unfortunately, mattresses do have a shelf-life. If you’ve had yours for seven years or longer, it’s probably time for a new one. Picking a mattress might feel a bit like a Goldilocks and the Three Bears type of situation, but here are some tips to help you find the one that’s “just right” for you. Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of mattress, so you’ll need to do a bit of research to find one that meets your specific needs. For example, a more firm mattress might be a good choice for someone who suffers from back pain, while an adjustable mattress is a good option for those with sleep apnea.
Start a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Setting a bedtime for yourself might feel a little childish to you, but choosing a time to consistently go to bed and another time to consistently wake up can help get your biological clock on a steady schedule so you can sleep better and spend less time counting sheep. This doesn’t mean you need to go to bed at 8:30 PM every night—just pick a time that works for you. Wondering how much sleep you should get? It depends on your age and specific needs, but a good rule of thumb is to aim for a bedtime and wake-up time that will allow you to get around 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
Dim the Lights before Bed
Don’t wait to hit the lights until right before diving into the pile of duvets and pillows on your bed for your snooze-fest. Consider installing a dimmer switch in your bedroom, or invest in a lamp with low-watt bulbs so you can relax without bright lights for about an hour before bed. This will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
Get Your Allergies under Control
If you’ve ever dealt with seasonal allergies, you know that they can disrupt your sleep with their trademark symptoms—the constant coughing, sneezing, and sniffling can really make it difficult to get the Z’s you so desperately need. A simple tip is to keep your house clean. Vacuum daily, dust often, and wash your sheets and blankets weekly. If you’ve spent any time outside, potentially exposing yourself to pollen, ragweed, or mold spores, be sure to take off your shoes at the door and change clothes immediately after walking in the front door to avoid spreading those pesky allergens to your home.
Don’t Stress if You Wake up in the Middle of the Night
When you wake up in the middle of the night, roll over to check the time, and see that it’s 2 AM, it can be easy to fall into the trap of stressing about the very few number of hours left until your alarm will start blaring. Do your best to relax by breathing deeply, relaxing your muscles, and practicing meditation. If you can’t fall asleep for more than 15 minutes, you can get up and read a book, do some light stretching, or choose some other non-stimulating activity to help you feel sleepy again. Avoid anything with bright or blue light, like watching TV or playing a game on your phone as this can make you even more awake.
Sleep is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but unfortunately, it’s something we often take for granted until we find ourselves having trouble falling (or staying) asleep. Implementing these tips into your sleep schedule can help you sleep like a log at night so you can tackle work and your other responsibilities like a boss during the day.
Struggling with sleep apnea, snoring, or another sleep condition? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Take back your sleep (so you can dominate your to-do list during the day) by confirming an appointment with Dr. Pasha and his team. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!