When I don't get a full night's sleep, I'm definitely suffering the next day. I'll wake up with a dull headache, and I often feel cranky, irritable, and lacking the energy to get in a good workout. I also end up craving sugary foods and caffeine to pep me up. It's an awful cycle because if I don't eat well and exercise during the day, there's a good chance I'll have a hard time sleeping the next night too.
Not only is it frustrating to be awake when all you want to do is sleep, but lack of sleep could also affect your heart, putting you at risk for a heart attack. Not getting your fill of zzzzz's can also compromise your immune system and make it hard for you to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
Do you toss and turn, or wake up often in the middle of the night? Here are some tips to help you sleep like a rock till morning.
- Does the slightest sound wake you up? Try sleeping with ear plugs to drown out any noise. You can also keep a fan going in your room on low. The gentle hum can help to cover up outside noises.
- If you tend to get hot when you sleep, try wearing less so you won't have to wake up to strip down. If you get cold, wear more or try using an extra blanket. Predicting your body temperature needs ahead of time will reduce your chances of being woken up.
- If your body is sensitive to caffeine, try to ditch it altogether. I know if I have even one piece of chocolate after dinner, it'll keep me up all night.
- Drink milk. It contains the same chemical tryptophan, that's found in turkey, so it'll help induce sleepiness.
- Not into milk? Sip some hot chamomile tea instead.
Want to hear the other tips? Then
- Get daily exercise during the day to tire out your muscles and use up extra energy.
- Stop eating and drinking at least two hours before you're planning on going to bed (this includes milk or tea). Then right before you slip under the covers, take a trip to the bathroom. That way you won't be woken up in the middle of the night by your full bladder.
- Take a hot bath or shower before bed. Not only does it relax your muscles and mind, but the steam can also help clear your nose, which can help you sleep more soundly.
- Do some gentle stretches before you go to bed. This will help your mind relax and prepare your body for sleep.
- I know this is a tough habit to break, but don't watch TV or check your email right before bed. These screens give off as much light as sunlight, so it tricks your brain into thinking it's not bedtime yet. Do something quiet instead like meditating, going for a moonlit stroll, reading, or listening to relaxing music.