Is a full night of restful sleep feeling elusive these days? If so, consider the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. The following eight tips and tricks can help you power down quickly and drift off to sleep in no time.
1. Ban screen time: Just say no to the television, your computer, smartphone, tablet or any other electronic device for at least 60 minutes prior to your scheduled bedtime. The lights from these devices can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
2. Use the right pillow: Something as simple as selecting the right pillow for your sleeping style can work wonders at bedtime. Whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper, you’ll want to pair your unique sleep style with the right pillow. Consider a pillow that contours to your head and/or body for the ultimate in support.
3. Address any sleep disorders: With nearly 80% of sleep apnea-affected Americans going undiagnosed, you might be having trouble sleeping due to an obstructive sleep apnea disorder. Take our free, online sleep screening to see if you’re a likely candidate for obstructive sleep apnea.
4. Don’t “work” in your bedroom: Keep the laptop out of the bedroom, don’t hang a massive TV on the wall, and try as hard as you can to refrain from being “productive” in the bedroom – think about the comfort of Egyptian Cotton sheets rather than spreadsheets. By keeping stressful activity out of the room, your bedroom will feel more like a retreat from the world, necessary to get a peaceful night’s sleep.
5. Get consistent: Instead of going to bed when you’re exhausted, or waking up whenever your body tells you it is time to get up, try to create a go-to-bed/wake-up routine. As an example, going to bed at 10:30pm each night and waking up at 6:30am each morning will help your brain settle into a routine and that can make falling asleep and waking up on time much easier, because that’s what it has become conditioned to do.
6. Curb caffeine intake: While a cup of coffee on the way to work won’t have much of an impact to your nighttime routine, be wary of your caffeine intake once noon comes around. And, be careful of food or drink items that sneak in substantial amounts of caffeine. That late afternoon chocolate bar may satisfy your sweet tooth, but it can also pack as much as 70mg of caffeine – or as much as two full cans of cola.
7. Hydrate wisely: It certainly isn’t a good idea to eat right before bed, but it is also important not to consume a lot of fluids within two hours of falling asleep as well. The reason is simple – having to get up during the night to use the bathroom can trick your body into thinking it’s time to get up. Ask yourself, how many times have you gotten up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and then spent an hour trying to fall back to sleep? Prevent disruptions of all kinds as much as possible throughout the night.
8. Quit smoking: Yes, quitting is easier said than done, but keep in mind the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products is a powerful stimulant that can keep you awake far longer than you’d like. Smokers may find it difficult to abstain the last few hours before bed, but aside from quitting, this is the best way to minimize the stimulating effects of nicotine.
If you’re concerned about your ability to get a good night’s sleep, start by completing the free online sleepiness questionnaire. Based on your results, a sleep specialist can quickly rule out obstructive sleep apnea, allowing you to more effectively manage your nighttime routine through some of the simple methods outlined above.