Many aspects of your life will adapt to your body’s natural aging process, and sleep is no exception. You may find yourself falling asleep during the day, experiencing shorter sleep cycles at night, or waking up much earlier in the morning. Most of these are completely normal, but if you find these changes to be negatively affecting your lifestyle, it may be time tackle this nuisance head on. Here are 10 ways which may help.
1. Work With Your Body Clock
Your body is an amazing design, and so when you develop a solid pattern within your routine, your mind becomes accustomed to the sequence, behaving accordingly. For this reason, deciding on a regular bedtime (even on weekends!) will train your brain to agree when it’s lights out hour, and it will begin to shut itself down automatically.
2. The Bedroom is a Place of Rest
If you tend to do work or watch television in your bedroom, your mind can associate your place of rest as a place of energetic commotion instead. Rather, remove these distractions and ensure your bedroom is a dark, quiet place with a comfortable bed. Turn alarm clocks away from you, as their light can disrupt your slumber and you may be tempted to watch the minutes slowly ticking away. By following these steps, the bedroom’s primary purpose becomes one of sleep, perhaps with a bit of physical intimacy sprinkled in between, which will also do wonders for your shuteye.
3. Wear Yourself Out
Regular exercise will exhaust your body, relieving it when you finally get to bed. This works particularly well during outdoor activities, which bless your health system with fresher oxygen and a careful dose of sunlight. However, rather avoid any physical exertion within three hours of bedtime, as this adrenaline can also keep you awake.
4. Avoid Napping
Simply put, if you sleep during the day, you are stealing sleep from your night. If you find yourself so drained that a nap is unavoidable, try limit it to only 20 – 30 minutes, and always do so as early in the day as possible.
5. Be Careful of Liquids Before Bedtime
It should come as no surprise that any type of stimulants should be greatly avoided for at least four hours before bed, including coffee, tea, and soda. Alcohol is inadvisable too, as these intoxicants are known to cause a much shallower sleep, and can wake you up at any minute with a disruptive headache or dehydration. Even too much water before bedtime is not the smartest idea, as you may require desperate bathroom trips in the middle of the night.
6. Satisfy Your Hunger
A moderate-sized dinner which avoids sugar and spicy foods is acceptable for at least three hours before bedtime, but any closer than that could lead to indigestion and interfere with your sleep pattern. Rather, if you find yourself a bit peckish before you hit the pillow, a light snack such as yogurt, a banana, or warm milk can be keep your sleeping body satisfied.
7. Preparing for Bed
Many find a warm bath helps drop their body temperature, which in turn, relaxes you into falling asleep much easier. Turn off all electronic devices at least two hours before bed, and replace them with a reading book or an eReader without artificial light, as the glow of tablets or laptops suppress the very hormone responsible for making you sleepy, called melatonin.
8. Ensure Your Bed is a Safe Place
Besides investing in a good mattress, there are other sleeping safety hazards one must consider for a full peace of mind. Ensure your bed is the correct height for you, and that any lights are easy to reach if you need to get up again. If you are prone to the occasional tumble out of bed, there are fall mats for the elderly available to soften any injury. And when it is time to get up, take it slow, finding your balance and being aware of any dizziness before trying to stand.
9. Avoid Sleeping Aids
Unless your doctor has recommended medication, do not rely on over-the-counter sleeping drugs, as they can have an array of side effects, as well as leading to a dependency. Always get professional guidance before exploring this route.
10. What If You Can’t Sleep?
If after 20 minutes you’re still wide awake, get back up, go to another room, and occupy yourself with something unstimulating like reading or listening to music. Do not use this time to watch TV or surf the internet, as this will only wake you up further. After about 20 to 30 minutes, go back to bed and try again. If this does not help after a few tries, speak you a medical professional about any other options.