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How to Sleep Better

9 Must Dos For a Good Night's Rest

When I don't get enough undisturbed sleep each night — and for me that means at least seven hours — I am one huge crank pot. I'm irritable, foggy-headed, and it messes up my whole day because I'm usually too tired to exercise. I'm also more likely to reach for sweet treats as pick-me-ups. Aside from the proper amount of sleep keeping you happy, proper sleep increases brain function and promotes weight loss. If you lose out on sleep, it could lead to high-blood pressure and increase your chance of dying from heart disease.

A person needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, so here are some tips for making that happen.

  1. Exercise daily and finish exercising at least three hours before bedtime. You don't need to go overboard and sprint five miles every day, but make sure you get up and move, even if it's to go for a walk. Using up energy by exercising will help you feel more tired when your head hits the pillow. Just be sure not to work out right before hitting the hay since it can take your body three to four hours to cool down its temperature and lower your heart rate, according to Women's Health
  2. No cat napping. If you're tired during the day, it's tempting to curl up on the couch and drift off for 20 minutes. Although a nap might give you energy in the afternoon, you'll end up having a harder time falling asleep later that night. Skip the nap and head to bed earlier.
  3. Turn off the gadgets before bed. That means no web surfing, no emailing, no texting, no video games, and no one-more-episode-of-The-Office TV watching before you hit the sheets. Why? The light and content can be too stimulating, making it more difficult for your brain to wind down and fall asleep. Also studies show that texting in bed can cause anxiety.

Continue reading for more sleep-inducing tips.

  1. Limit water, alcohol, and caffeine intake past a certain hour. Not only will drinking before bed inevitably make you wake up and have to pee, but booze and caffeine can interfere with your normal sleep and hunger patterns.
  2. Finish eating at least two hours before bed, especially carbs. Your ghrelin (hunger hormone) needs to be high in order to slip into deep sleep, but since carbs lower your ghrelin, they may stave off slumber. Not to mention, if your stomach is full or you're digesting a big meal, it's hard to fall asleep, especially if lying down gives you heartburn.
  3. Inspire yawns with yoga. Whether you do some relaxing stretches on the floor or in your bed, it only takes a few minutes of Child's Pose or Legs Up the Wall to induce drowsiness.
  4. Take a hot bath or shower. The heat and soothing water are so calming, it'll help you clear your mind and relax your body.
  5. Keep a pad and pen on your nightstand. If you're stressed, worried, or anxious about something, whether it's good or bad, thinking about it will only prevent your mind from quieting down enough to fall asleep. Write it down so you can let it go till the morning.
  6. Be consistent with wake ups and bedtimes. Getting up and going to bed at a regular time each day sets your circadian rhythm, which will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and wake up naturally feeling energized.
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