Top 8 Smart Hacks for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
We spend a third of our lives asleep, so it’s no wonder that we get frustrated when we can’t get to sleep, or have restless nights. A bad night’s sleep can ruin your day, and we all find ourselves getting tired and irritable when we haven’t slept the whole night through.
So how can you make sure you get a better night’s sleep? Here’s a list of 8 smart hacks that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Stop watching TV before bed
If you’re watching bright screens before bed, you might as well wave goodbye to the rest you need.
The screens of TVs, smartphones, computers and the likes can all have a negative impact on your sleep. Why? Because the blue light of these screens suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone that tells your body it’s time for bed. Your melatonin levels rise in the evening, and this is what causes you to become tired and ready for sleep. But if your melatonin levels are suppressed by screens, your body remains in ‘day time mode’.
If you regularly lay awake tossing and turning at night, after having watched something on TV or flicked through social media, you’d be surprised at what a difference it makes avoiding bright screens before bed. Or if that’s not an option, many devices, including iPhones, now have an option to switch to ‘night mode’, which gets rid of the blue light.
Make your bed more appealing
Have you ever found that you’ve slept better in a hotel? There’s a reason behind this. Hotels try to make their beds look as appealing as possible, and so going to bed feels like a luxury instead of a chore.
You can make your own bed just as appealing by doing things like making it in the morning, so that it feels ready and crisp for you the next night. Or if your bed or bedding is getting a bit old, maybe treat yourself to a nice new mattress or bedding set. Even small things like fluffing the pillows before you get into bed will make your bed seem a lot more appealing, and you’ll feel a lot cozier when you go to sleep.
Exercise each day
So admittedly this one takes a bit more effort, but it’s definitely worth it. Whether it’s a workout at the gym or a run round the block, any daily exercise is going to improve your sleeping patterns.
If you’ve exercised and worn yourself out during the day, you’ll be ready for bed by the time the evening comes around. You’ll feel like you need sleep more than you normally would, because you will actually need to rest and recover. You’ll also notice a difference in your daytime energy levels. So if you find that you feel tired all the time, exercise is the perfect way to boost your day time energy, and bring on sleepiness at night.
Exercise also helps reduce stress levels, so if the reason for your sleepless nights is that you toss and turn, worrying, then this might be the smart hack for you.
Revise your diet
Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting you have to go on a full on diet plan, or give up the things you love, but there are certain foods that can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Foods that are rich in tryptophan can help your body produce melatonin, which in turn makes you feel more tired. Basically tryptophan is the cause of the ‘food-coma’ we so often get after a massive meal. So having these foods for dinner will help you feel more tired throughout the evening and you’ll be more than ready for sleep by bedtime.
Tryptophan-rich foods include chicken, turkey, dairy, and things like oats, nuts and seeds. A great example is the Thanksgiving turkey dinner that instantly makes you want to take a nap, and ultimately leads to a better night’s sleep.
Use your bedroom only for sleep
This is a hurdle that a lot of us haven’t been able to overcome. We spend longer in our bedrooms than we perhaps should. Things like watching TV and playing video games in our rooms might just be the cause of restless nights, and not just because of the blue light.
Try and keep your bedroom, or at least your bed, as something that you associate with sleep, and nothing else. That way, when you get into bed, it won’t even cross your mind to put off sleep any longer.
Work out a routine
Routines are something that we should all have if we want a decent night’s sleep each night. Our bodies have their own body clock, and by creating a routine wake up and bed time, it gives our body clocks a good rhythm.
For example, if you’re the sort of person who likes to sleep in, you might then find that getting up early is hell. But if you get up early for a few days, then a few weeks, eventually you’ll become used to it.
It’s the same with going to sleep. If your bed time differs from day to day, you might find it difficult to get to bed to get the rest you need. But if you set yourself a bed time and stick to it each day, pretty soon, you’ll find yourself naturally wanting to fall asleep at that time anyway. Think of it as training your body.
Block out the world
There can be so many distractions when you try to go to sleep, especially if you share a room or sleep with your partner. There can be noise from traffic, flickering street lamps, the snores of your partner, and it can be a nightmare.
The best thing to do if you find there are too many distractions for you to fall asleep instantly, is to block them all out. We’ve all become more aware about the importance of sleep over the last few years, and so you can bet that you can easily find decent (and affordable) eye masks and ear plugs in most stores to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Relax before bed
Most of us don’t spend nearly enough time relaxing, but relaxing before bed could be the answer to a long and peaceful sleep. Meditation and relaxation exercises, like those that focus on your breathing or relaxing your muscles, have been proven to lead to a better night’s sleep.
Even things like having a warm bath before bed can help you feel more tired, and more rested when you wake up. Plus, it’s always nice to have a bit of ‘me time’ anyway, so there’s literally no down side to setting aside some time to relax.