Given our increasingly hectic and connected lifestyles, it’s no surprise that 27.1% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night.
With chronic sleep deprivation being linked to hypertension, heart disease and stroke, I think it’s about time to do something about it.
Here are 11 tips to get a better night’s sleep.
1. Your bed should only be used for sleep or intimacy. All other activities, such as checking social media on your smartphone, eating, doing your homework or watching TV shows should be done elsewhere, not in your bed.
2. It is also helpful to keep your room dim and quiet before sleep and don’t use overhead lights, but lamps when you’re getting into bed. And make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible. Investing in your bed is extremely important because sleep is so important. Sleep is more important than eating out all the time or new shoes. Also, sleeping in high quality, antibacterial bed sheets is very helpful.
3. Maintaining a set sleep and wake schedule will help prime your brain to get into a good sleeping routine. Even on the weekends when it’s unnecessary to get up at 7 A.M., get out of your bed.
4. Find yourself unable to fall asleep for like 20 minutes while lying in bed? Something you should do is read something really boring like an instruction manual for your microwave. And then only attempt to fall back to sleep when you actually feel sleepy.
5. Chamomile tea has been shown to help promote sleep. It contains a compound known as a apigenin which binds to the same receptors in your brain as some other sedatives known as benzodiazepines and therefore produces a mild sedative effect.
6. While we’re on the topic of natural ingredients, you should add some lavender oil to your nighttime bath. It is being shown that 3-minute inhalations of lavender oil can increase drowsiness and actually counteract the stimulating effects of caffeine.
7. Taking a bath one to two hours before bed is actually a very good thing because the bath increases your core body temperature and the subsequent decrease in body temperature increases relaxation and makes you feel sleep.
8. Avoid exercise and confrontations in the last four to six hours before bedtime. Working out releases cortisol which contributes to feelings of wakefulness and it is also released during stressful situations like arguments or confrontations.
9. Another tip that can help is calming down with a mindfulness meditation session. A study has found that it improves sleep quality in participants who meditated.
10. Woke up in the middle of the night? Resist the urge to check the time. Knowing the time can create anxiety, releasing cortisol and making it harder for you to fall back to sleep.
11. Also in the middle of the night, do not turn on bright lights. It can affect the release of the hormone melatonin and make your body feel more awake. Instead it actually is good to use night lights.
These tips are backed by research but they should not substitute medical advice. If you feel like you are suffering from secondary insomnia, make sure you get a doctor’s help and listen to them because there are many options for you to get a better night’s sleep.