The cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in the rituals you incorporate into your daily routine. Even if you follow just a few of the steps listed below, you will be on your way to getting a good night’s rest.
Studies suggest that certain aerobic exercises can reduce anxiety and improve the quality of sleep in people suffering from insomnia. “Getting enough exercise can help our bodies be tired and ready for sleep—as long as it’s not right before bedtime. Make sure your exercise routine is completed at least three hours before you plan to hit the sack, so that the post-workout adrenaline boost doesn’t keep you up,” says Dr Constance Scharff, an internationally renowned psychology expert and director of addiction research for Cliffside Malibu, a leading addiction recovery treatment center.
2. Watch What You Eat
“Big meals, caffeine, and alcohol in the hours before bed can almost guarantee a hard time falling asleep. When our bodies are busy digesting or reacting to these things, it cannot relax enough to sleep. And although alcohol may make us sleepy, the effects wear off after a few hours, interfering with sleep,” says Dr Scharff.
3. Put All Your Gadgets Away
At least an hour before going to bed, cut yourself off from all your gadgets that have screens—this includes your phone, television, computer, and tablet. Elaborating on this, health and wellness coach, Nikki Noya says, “Keep a pen and paper next to you to write down things to remember and ideas. This does not mean having your phone by your bed. That is a huge issue for sleep. Making a note of your to-do list on your phone will lead you to check emails, then text, then read the news…it won’t stop. The goal is to stop using your phone at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. The brain needs to recharge and it can’t do that if it’s constantly thinking it’s missing something.”
4. Practice Conscious Relaxation
Sarah Jacobs, a holistic nutritional counselor and co-founder of The Wellness Project NYC, says, “When you lay down to sleep, feel the weight of your body 100 percent held by the bed beneath you, then run through body parts starting with your toes and working up through each part of your legs, torso, arms, and face, deliberately relaxing any tension you’re holding.” This form of meditation not only relaxes your body but also relaxes your racing mind so you can get to sleep more quickly.
5. Do Boring Things
Counseling psychologist Leslie Lowdermilk says low stress, low stimulation activities might help you sleep better. “Lay out your clothes for the following day, lay out your breakfast materials, feed, water, and give affection to your pets. Play with them as long as it doesn’t stimulate you—it’s even better if it wears them out for bedtime, too! Read some trash fiction, but try to stay away from horror or something that you can’t put down. The key to this is to also have a set bedtime—you don’t want to be up reading until the wee hours!”
6. Use The Bed/Bedroom For Sleep & Sex Only
Leading medical sleep expert Dr Robert S Rosenberg and author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day says, “The purpose of the guideline is to associate your bedroom with sleep rather than wakefulness. Just as you may associate the kitchen with hunger, this guideline will help you associate sleep with your bedroom. Follow this rule both during the day and at night. You may have to temporarily move the television and/or radio from your bedroom to help.”