I think we can all agree that it’s very difficult to start each day off with a good attitude and feel of motivated and confident if we don’t get enough sleep. So many of us struggle with our sleep habits, yet it is one of the most important aspects of our overall health and wellbeing. If you are one of the many who has a hard time with this, here are the instructions to create a perfect night’s sleep.
Step 1: Turn Off Screens Before Bed
It is a very common habit to watch some television or browse social media to “wind down” before bed, but WebMD says that the artificial light, or “glow” from these devices goes from our retinas to the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that controls sleep activities) and impedes the release of melatonin, an important sleep-inducing hormone. Try to stay away from televisions, computers, smartphones, and e-readers for one hour before bedtime.
Step 2: Snack for Sleep
There are several types of foods that can help you fall asleep, including things high in vitamin B complex, like leafy greens or lean fish, or things high in magnesium, like bananas, walnuts, cashews, and almonds. A late night salad, tuna fish sandwich, or even a spoonful of almond or cashew butter if you’re not so hungry can help your body prepare for sleep.
Step 3: Create Comfort
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to comfort, so it’s important to shop around and try out several different options when purchasing a mattress, a pillow, and bedding. No one likes to wake up in pain, and scratchy sheets or a pillow that’s not supportive can keep you up longer than you’d like.
Step 4: Designate a Sleep Space
Your bed should be a peaceful oasis that you can retreat to every night. In order to keep it this way, you must designate you bed for sleep and intimacy only. Watching TV, playing video games, practicing hobbies, or worst of all, working from your bed can detract from its peaceful appeal and weaken the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
Step 5: Control Light Levels
If you are sensitive to sunlight, which penetrates most types of blinds and curtains, consider using blackout curtains in your bedroom. This will help you fall asleep easier when it’s still light outside and will keep you from waking up when the sun comes up. If you can’t sleep in total darkness, make sure to use a gentle, non-fluorescent lightbulb.
Step 6: Nullify Noisy Distractions
If you are a light sleeper, it might be a good idea to try using white noise, which is a variety of bland, gentle sound that is easy to fall asleep to and will help drown out background noises that can wake you up easily. You can achieve white noise by simply turning on a fan, or you can use a sound machine or one of many smartphone apps that play a variety of white noise.
Step 7: Chill Out
Studies show that a small drop in body temperature induces sleep, so turn the thermostat down a little or open up the windows at night. Don’t buy silk or satin sheets if you are a hot sleeper, and consider investing in a pillow or mattress topper with cooling gel technology. Even just sticking one foot out of the covers can help lower your body temperature enough to doze off.
Step 8: Relax
Sometimes the biggest struggle when it comes to falling asleep isn’t on the outside, but the inside. It’s hard to turn your brain off after a busy day, and night time is the perfect opportunity for worry to set in. If you find that your mind is restless before bed, try a relaxing activity like yoga, which helps eliminate mental distractions. Meditation is also one of the best ways to clear busy or unwanted thoughts from your mind, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to be sitting with your legs folded to meditate: you can do it anywhere, any time, simply by focusing on your breathing.