By Gabriel Patel
When you can’t sleep, you feel crummy. A sleep deficit can affect your mood and your overall health. Sadly, more than 51 percent of adults don’t get enough sleep. There are many reasons that contribute to this problem, but it really often boils down to stress, discomfort, and a lack of understanding of the importance of slumber. If you find yourself restless more than just occasionally, keep reading for a few tips that can help you settle in and konk out without undergoing a sleep study or taking potentially addictive sleeping pills.
You know the feeling: You lay down under the covers completely fatigued and ready to snooze. However, your mind then starts to wander, and suddenly you find yourself stressed about everything from your children’s grades to an unfinished project at work. Stress is a top cause of sleeplessness, but there are ways to ease your anxieties.
Start by cleaning your bedroom and make a point not to leave dirty dishes in the sink, laundry piled on the couch, or other small tasks undone. Business coach and motivational speaker Skip Prichard also suggests changing your goals and simplifying your life. This might be something as easy as aspiring to finish one class instead of focusing on a degree and giving up a closet full of clothes you never wear. In short: Identify things that cause stress and change them.
Evaluate Your Environment
Even if your bedroom is spotless, there may be environmental factors that keep your eyes wide open. An uncomfortable mattress and noise are two of the biggest offenders.
Your mattress plays a huge role in your sleep quality. You may have a $5,000 set, but if it does not match your sleep style, then it is more of a hindrance than anything. Think about how you are most comfortable and if your mattress is the right size. Do you like a firmer surface? If so, an Allswell hybrid queen-size mattress may be a good, budget-friendly choice because it offers medium-firm support and retails for under $400. If your tastes lean toward a softer mattress, a Brooklyn Bedding Signature may be more to your liking, and it’s affordable as well.
In addition to an uncomfortable mattress, noise can also keep you up throughout the evening hours, and you may not even realize it. Nighttime noise will both prevent you from going to sleep and also wake you once you do finally fall out. Unfortunately, even just a few interruptions overnight can limit your deep sleep and leave you feeling cranky, hungry, and unmotivated. Try sleeping in soft earplugs, move your bed away from the window, or add a white noise machine to help drown out commotion from outdoors or other rooms.
Change Your Sleep Schedule
If your biggest complaint is that you wake up too early or want to stay in bed for long after the alarm sounds, it’s time to evaluate your sleep pattern. Most adults take between 10 and 20 minutes to fall into a light sleep. Then, throughout the night, your body naturally moves in and out of deep sleep in about 90 minutes intervals. You need to experience at least five to six of the sleep cycles each night, which comes out to about eight hours in bed.
The above tips are a good start, but you may also need to change your diet, stop exercising before bed, or turn your thermostat down. Remember, there are dozens of factors that affect your ability to rest, and you won’t be doing yourself any favors by going straight for the Ambien.