How to Sleep Better
If you were to analyze your sleep quality on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate it?
For a lot of people, sleep is an ongoing battle, and an understandable one. With so many things vying for our attention and countless worries rattling around in our brains, it can be a challenge to even feel sleepy. Or if we’re exhausted and begging sleep to come, insomnia or restlessness can keep us awake. Then, when we finally do sleep, we wake up the next morning feeling tired because we didn’t get enough REM (deep) sleep. Does this sound familiar?
The National Institute of Health says that our daily functioning is greatly affected by the quality of our sleep. “After several nights of losing sleep—even just 1-2 hours a night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept for a day or two.”
Sleep is incredibly, yet it’s what many people struggle with the most. It’s important to note that sometimes our sleep patterns or behaviours are greater than ourselves. If you’re experiencing persistent sleeping issues, talk to your doctor about sleep disorders and potential remedies that can help.
How to Get Better Sleep
Understand Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm affects your body’s internal 24-hour clock. The definition of Circadian means 24 hour cycle, and the root of the word is “Circ” like “Circle.” Think of the earth orbiting the sun over a span of 24 hours. This orbit makes us experience constant light changes throughout the day; most noticeably at sunrise and sunset.
It’s these changes in light that affect our circadian rhythm. They tell our bodies to wake up when it’s bright or to sleep when it’s dark.
Without even realizing it, most of us are negatively affecting our internal clock cycle.
When it’s dark, our brains are supposed to secrete melatonin, which makes us fall asleep. However, instead of signalling to our brains that it’s dark outside, we tend to bask in light every hour we’re awake. Whether it’s house lights, our TV’s, or our phones, we’re exposed to extensive amounts of light, right up until we get under the covers. No wonder we’re having trouble sleeping!
Fortunately, there are things we can do to help our bodies get back on track.
Sleep and wake at the same time every day. This will help your body wake up easier (even naturally) in the mornings, and you’ll feel sleepy at the right time every night. Yes, this means that you should avoid sleeping in, but if you want to catch some extra Zzz’s, make sure it’s for no longer than an hour.
Expose yourself to as much daylight as you can. Not only will this fill you up with Vitamin D, but our bodies are naturally responsive to the sun. You’ll be able to sleep better if, during the day, you spent some time outside or near a brightly-lit window. On the other hand, dim the lights in the evenings, put your phone away an hour before bed (at least!) and invest in some good curtains that will block out the moon and streetlights.
Care for Yourself
It’s extremely difficult to sleep if we’re wound up from the day’s events, or we’re stressing out about something. It’s important to manage your worries and concerns on a regular basis, so that when you lay down at night, you can actually sleep.
Lots of people turn toward journalling, prayer, or meditation and relaxation techniques to calm their minds and bodies. You can enjoy these activities throughout your day, if that helps you manage anxiety and stress, or you can do something calming right before bed.
Another great idea is to exercise. Regular exercise has shown to improve sleep and lower insomnia symptoms. It also helps keep you fit and healthy. When you exercise, endorphins and adrenaline are released in your body. These are stimulants, which will keep you awake, so make sure not to exercise close to bedtime.
Make sure that you’re also watching what you eat and drink. Caffeine can linger in your bloodstream for up to 8 hours, and sugars can impact sleep quality as well. You should also stay well hydrated withthroughout the day, as opposed to guzzling water in the evening and waking up in the night for a bathroom break.
Build A Sleep Routine
If you want to sleep better, a sleep routine is a priority. It will help reinforce your circadian rhythm, tell your body it’s time for bed, and also help you experience deeper, stronger sleep thanks to your intentional pre-sleep choices.
The first step when building a sleep routine is to commit to it! Routines and rhythms need to be repetitive and functional. Let your routine be enjoyable, calming, and something you look forward to every night. Also, tell your partner and family about your decision to build a sleep routine. It can be difficult to have a new routine, or to sleep earlier, if you don’t have support.
Next, optimize your sleep environment. Figure out what temperature you like to sleep at, and ensure you’re comfortable every night before bed. Make sure your room is dark and that your mattress and pillows don’t hurt your back or neck. These are adjustments you’ll make beforehand by investing in good bedding.
Then, decide on your self-care methods and schedule. Will you shower in the mornings or evenings? When will you floss and brush your teeth? At what time will you stop drinking water for the day so you’re not waking up at night? Deciding these answers ahead of time, and working them into your routine, will benefit you greatly.
You’ll also want to find a way to control your phone use. A lot of people don’t have home phones anymore, which means they need their phone nearby in case of an emergency. However, a noisy phone will definitely disrupt your sleep! What can you do? Your phone should have DND (Do Not Disturb) features that will allow for emergency calls, or notifications from specific contacts. Look into what your phone offers, and choose the methods best for you.
A Cedar Springs Sip-Tip! Prepare for the next day the night before. This can include tasks like picking your outfit, prepping lunches, and filling your reusable bottle with spring water. This might not improve your sleep, but it will save you time in the morning and help you feel more relaxed about the day approaching.
Speaking of relaxation, find out what calms your mind and body best, and do this right before bed. As we mentioned before, this can include journaling, meditation, or deep breathing, or be other hobbies like reading or listening to classical music. Dim your lights so your brain isn’t overly stimulated, and sit back and relax!
Lastly, when you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of Cedar Springs spring water right away. It will wake you up,, and kick-start your metabolism. Plus it tastes great!
We hope these tips will help you sleep easier! Sweet dreams!