How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

sleepbaby

Have you been sleeping more since you read my last post? Have you at least been trying to get more sleep?

Well, just like I promised, here are some of my tips for falling asleep faster, getting more sleep, and getting higher quality sleep.

Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor, nurse, sleep expert, or anything else like that. I’m just a person who has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting good quality sleep.

Most of the time, I have a lot of stress that keeps me from falling asleep quickly. I’m also a light sleeper, so every little noise and movement wakes me up in the middle of the night. But, luckily, I have a few tips and tricks that help me fall asleep and stay asleep!

I know we’re all different, but here are some things that work for me:

Establish a bedtime routine.

My routine is usually to take a bath, take out my contacts, eat a snack, and either watch Netflix, crochet, or read. This helps my body understand that it’s time to wind down (both physically and mentally), so I can relax much sooner.

Drink tea before bed.

Once in a while, I’ll have a warm cup of tea before bed. This not only warms me up, but it also fills my belly and makes me drowsy. Just be sure it’s caffeine-free or herbal tea!

Watch TV to lull you into sleep.

I know we’ve been told that we should turn off the lights and get into bed to tell our brains to turn off. But in my personal experience, it helps me calm my mind by watching a show or movie I like. It helps me relax and stop worrying, and then I drift off into peaceful sleep.

Use your smartphone or e-reader to relax your mind.

I’ve been hearing a lot about how you shouldn’t use your smartphone or tablet before bed because the bright light tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime and you should wake up. But hear me out!

This, for me, works just like watching TV by allowing me to forget the worries of the day and fall fast asleep. Play a relaxing game, read a good book, or browse Pinterest. Whatever you do, just turn the screen brightness all the way down so you don’t keep yourself up.

Have a snack before bed.

I know they say eating before bed is bad because it makes you gain weight. Well, getting poor sleep at night because you’re hungry is going to make you gain weight too, so it’s your choice. Personally, I like going to sleep on a full stomach and not waking up starving in the morning.

Take a bath in the evening.

Run yourself a hot bath, grab a book or magazine, and relax. Let your mind and body relax, and you’ll be able to peacefully head to bed shortly after.

Prepare items for tomorrow before sleeping.

Before you jump into bed, get everything ready for the next day. Pack your lunch for work, pick out your clothes, get your keys and jacket out, pack your gym bag, and do anything else you normally do in the morning. Not only will this ease your mind, but you can also sleep in a few extra minutes in the morning!

Stretch before crawling in bed.

I don’t do this as often as I should, but it’s a great tip! Stretch your legs and back (even while sitting in bed), and your body will instantly feel less tense. Also, if you tend to get leg cramps at night, this might help you out.

Use a fan or earplugs to drown out noise.

I usually only use a fan to sleep, but if the neighbors are loud or my boyfriend is snoring, I’ll use earplugs too. This really helps if you’re a light sleeper because if you have a fan on and earplugs in, you won’t hear much at all. But don’t worry, you’ll still hear your alarm clock!

 

Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips on getting better sleep! And don’t forget to take your nap today!

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Sleep, Snooze, Nap, Doze, and Dream

sleeping puppies

These dogs know what’s up! (Photo: PicPetz.com)

We’ve all heard people say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” but what you might not know is that you’ll be dead a lot sooner if you skimp on sleep. You might think you’re getting more ‘life’ out of your day by going to bed late or waking up early, but even though you’ll have more time for the moment, you’re cutting your life short.

I came across and article recently that really made me realize how important sleep is. I always heard it was important, but I never knew sleep was that important. I’ve compiled lots of research to help you understand how important sleep really is. Health isn’t just about diet and exercise; it’s also about living a healthy lifestyle. This means taking care of yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sleep plays a role in all three!

So let’s start with the basics. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Getting fewer hours of sleep can lead to stress, irritability, moodiness, poor concentration, grumpiness, and sluggishness. You might even experience slowed speech, poor judgement and decision making, impaired memory, and the inability to multitask. This is common sense. We’ve all had days when our brains are foggy from lack of sleep.

Here’s where it gets really scary. According to the Huffington Post, just one week of getting 6 hours of sleep per night can lead to over 700 genetic changes. If you only get 6 hours of sleep for one week, you’ll have four times the risk of stroke and a 48% higher risk of dying of heart disease when compared to someone getting adequate sleep. Lack of sleep also increases your risk for osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Healthline explains in great detail how a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. If you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones get thrown off, particularly leptin and ghrelin. These hormones help regulate your appetite by telling your brain when you’re hungry and when you’ve had enough to eat. Those who average only 6 hours of sleep per night are 27% more likely to be overweight. Not only is this because your hormones are confused, but also because you’ll be lacking the mental and physical energy to exercise.

Have you ever noticed that after a late night or early morning, you want food? Whenever I don’t get enough sleep, I always want carbs. I also want to sit on the couch and be lazy, but that’s beside the point…

Food cravings + poor judgement from lack of sleep = unhealthy food choices (and ultimately weight gain if repeated over time).

Now you’re probably thinking, “well, I can always catch up on sleep during the weekend or take a nap later.” This is true, but only to a certain extent. Don’t get me wrong – naps are my best friend, and if I could, I’d nap every day. Sleeping in on weekends and napping will help, but they won’t fix the problem. Think of it like debt. Naps are like paying only the minimum monthly payment on a credit card. It’ll keep you afloat, but you’ll never be fully caught up. I’m definitely not telling you to stop napping – I’m a HUGE fan! Just remember, playing catch-up on sleep isn’t the best.

Now that you know the facts about lack of sleep, you just need some tips to help you get enough shut-eye! My next post will give you tips on how to fall asleep faster, get enough sleep, and sleep better throughout the night.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to nap today!! I’ll be taking my own advice 🙂