It’s a fact that most of us don’t get enough sleep every night. For whatever reason, we think that neglecting sleep is the smart thing to do, in order to get the things done that we need to get done. But neglecting sleep actually makes us less productive. Not only that, but not getting enough sleep forces our bodies to crave fatty foods. So what are some ways to help you sleep? Below are 6 ways to help you sleep. These apply to you regardless if you get 4 hours or 8 hours of sleep each night because quality of sleep matters.
Ways To Help You Sleep
Caffeine keeps your body awake and functioning. That’s why so many drink it first thing in the morning – to help them wake up. But drinking too much caffeine can also keep you up at night or interrupt your sleep.
I used to love soda. I still do. But I cut it out of my life for a few months one time. At that time, I never really took notice to anything. But when I had a soda for the first time a few months later, I did notice that I had a hard time falling asleep and I woke up a lot throughout the night. I went a few days without soda again and returned back to falling asleep quickly and not waking up in the middle of the night.
But if I had a soda again, restless sleep returned. I urge you to try to cut out caffeine from your diet for a few weeks. You have to do it for a period of time since your body has to cycle it out of your system. This can take a few days.
Buy An Activity Tracker
I bought an activity band to track my steps. It has a sleep tracker as well, but I didn’t put much thought into it. But when I started to track my sleep, I was amazed. I never really thought about how much or little sleep I was actually getting, let alone the quality of that sleep.
The monitor told me when I fell asleep, when I woke up, as well as how much deep sleep I had versus light sleep. I can’t say that the numbers are 100% accurate, but they are pretty close. I made it a point to see what time I went to bed at night and took note of how quickly I fell asleep. The tracker seemed accurate on that front.
When it came to sleeping, if I woke up in the middle of the night, I made note of the time. The next morning, the tracker showed that I was awake at that time the night before. It has helped me to be more conscious of my sleep and get to bed at a reasonable time.
Go To Bed/Get Up Consistently
One of the most important ways to help you sleep is to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day. This includes the weekends. By having a set schedule, your body is better able to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Just as much as you like routines, so does your body.
Before you shut off the lights for the night, make sure you are doing things that promote restful sleep. This includes turning off the television, computer/tablet/smartphone, and dimming the lights. All of these lights tell the body it is time to stay awake. By shutting these things down 30 minutes before bed, you allow your body to prepare for sleep. Use this time to read, journal, meditate, or talk with your spouse.
Personally, I’ve noticed a difference when I do these things. I am able to quickly fall asleep when I don’t have the television on right before I fall asleep.
Play A Game
My wife is Type A. She is always on the go and as a result, so is her mind. Many times, she goes to bed thinking about work the next day. This can lead to stress, which hampers your ability to fall asleep. In an effort to help curb this, we play a simple game.
As we are lying in bed trying to fall asleep, we pick a topic and the answers have to go in order of the alphabet. For example, the topic might be cities in the US. Then we take turns answering. I’ll say Aberdeen, MD and she will say Buffalo, NY. Then I will say Canton, OH. We work our way down to the letter Z.
This works 99.9% of the time. The reason it works is because it takes her mind off of tomorrow and the stress and allows her to relax.
Try A Supplement
There are a few products that I know of that help you fall asleep. My brother-in-law drinks tea before bed that has ingredients that promote relaxation. This is just one of the ways to help you sleep. I personally have used ZMA. It’s a pill that contains zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. I’m not sure what it is with this concoction, but I fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. Note that is also promotes very vivid dreams as well. This isn’t saying it promotes nightmares, I can just remember a lot more detail about my dreams the next day.
These were 6 ways to help you sleep. As I’ve noted, sleep is crucial for you to function at your highest level. You might think you are doing a good thing by neglecting sleep and getting work done, but you are only forcing yourself to work at a lower level the next day. In fact, I challenge you to go to bed early and see just how much more productive you are in the coming days. While you won’t notice a complete change the next day, as the days go on, you will find that you get more done in your day than you did before. This will in turn allow you to go to bed consistently at a decent hour.