Sleeping peacefully is vital to your physical and mental health. According to the National Institute of Health, sound sleep will improve your immune system, brain health, and overall mood. A solid sleep routine also reduces your risk of severe disorders, including heart disease, obesity, stroke, and dementia. If you’re sick of feeling tired, remember the following tips for sleeping peacefully and waking up feeling refreshed.
Ruling out medical issues
Before taking steps to sleep better at night, talk to your doctor to discuss potential health problems that could cause insomnia. Medical conditions that could disrupt your sleep routine include asthma, acid reflux, heart disease, thyroid disease, and diabetes. Certain medications used to treat these diseases could also contribute to poor sleep. Some asthma, blood pressure, and weight-loss medications contain stimulants. Mental health also has an impact on sleeping peacefully. You likely won’t fall asleep if you’re suffering from stress or anxiety. Sleep-specific disorders could also be at play. For instance, if you have sleep apnea, you can stop breathing during the night and never sleep fitfully. Restless legs syndrome makes you feel like you must keep moving your legs, with many symptoms appearing during the nighttime.
Keep a routine sleep schedule
Shift workers tend to have the most difficulty sleeping peacefully because of irregular sleep schedules. You will likely fix your internal alarm clock if you can keep a regular sleep and wake routine. People who are getting adequate amounts of sleep will wake up without the need for an alarm clock. Relying on the alarm clock to get up each morning likely means you require an earlier bedtime. Please don’t use the weekends to catch up on sleep, since it can backfire and mess up your circadian rhythm. Instead, wake up at your normal time each day. You’re better off taking a short nap to make up for a later night out on the weekends. However, any naps should last no more than 20 minutes and occur during the late afternoon.
Examine your diet
Making changes to your eating habits can have a significant impact on how well you sleep at night. Don’t skip breakfast, for starters, since this is how your body can receive an alert that it’s time to wake up and begin the day. Limit sugars and refined carbohydrates at breakfast and the rest of your meals. These foods could affect how peacefully you sleep at night. Instead, eat a heart-healthy diet of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Avoid heavy meals at night, especially foods that cause indigestion and acid reflux. Spicy foods and meals high in fat are common culprits. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages, especially in the evening, will also interrupt your normal sleep cycle.
Unwind before bed
Stress can commonly affect whether or not you’re sleeping peacefully. People stay up at night and stress over everything and anything and never ending To-Do Lists. You may fret over bills, partners, or your children. Stress hormones will stop you from falling and staying asleep. Learn to relax by performing some deep breathing exercises before bed. To start, lay flat on your bed with a pillow behind your head and behind your knees. Breathe in through your nose slowly and feel the air fill your core. As you gradually exhale, you’ll feel the breath leave your body. Repeat for at least five minutes to help relieve any lingering stress. Exercise also helps with anxiety and improves your sleep. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise will boost levels of hormones in the body that help with sleep, including melatonin. Morning workouts are ideal since they help your body establish a healthy circadian rhythm. Exercising too close to bedtime has a stimulating effect and can prevent a good night’s rest.
Avoid electronics at night
You'll want to avoid screens for at least one hour before bedtime. The blue light from phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs disrupts a good night’s sleep since it suppresses melatonin production in the body. Lowering the brightness can help, but avoiding watching anything too stimulating right before bed is best. Instead, you can unwind with music or audiobooks before bed. Your bedroom should be dark without any light from electronics or other sources.
Create a peaceful sleeping environment
Make your bed a place where you can truly relax and feel comfortable. Consider the pillows first on your bed. With the right pillows, you will have good neck and head support. Pillows should help you achieve the correct alignment to prevent poor sleep due to a sore back or neck. Pillows should also feel comfortable and support your sleeping position. Next, check your mattress firmness to confirm you’re not waking up too often due to back and neck issues. Experiment with different sheets and blankets to make sure you’re not waking up due to feeling too cold or overheated. To keep the room cool with good ventilation, adjust the thermostat to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure you have plenty of air movement in the bedroom.
Don’t stress about falling back to sleep if you wake up at night. Practice more deep breathing until you relax enough to doze off again. Meditation can also help, since it can get you to unwind and stop you from stressing. Most importantly, avoid screens if you wake up in the middle of the night. The lights emitted from the screen will alert your body that it’s time to get up.