Use these tips and techniques to get a better night's sleep.
5 Tips to Improve Your Sleep Routine
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1. Create a Zen Sleep Space
You’ve gutted your closet and sparked joy all over your apartment, but have you ever considered your sleep environment? Here are some ways to make your sleep space more peaceful.
Noisefrom garbage trucks, sirens, or loud neighbors can disrupt your sleep. If you want to rest like royalty, you’ll need to keep things quiet. If your living space is susceptible to sounds, try a white noise machine, humidifier, or ear plugs.
Light produced by the sun helps regulate your internal clock. People with consistent exposure to natural light during the day often sleep better, so try to catch some rays while you can. Your most productive sleep cycles happen in a dark environment, which means any visible light can affect your ability to fall asleep. If you suffer from sleeplessness, blackout curtains or sleep masks can help. Be sure to power down your television, computer, and other light-emitting appliances before bedtime.
Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can disrupt your sleep schedule. The American Sleep Association recommends keeping your thermostat between 60° and 67°.
Bedding makes sleeping more comfortable, and also luxurious. Make sure you’ve got a comfortable mattress, comforter, and sheets. Make sure you’re getting good support from your pillows—they can help prevent back and neck pain.
Clocks are your best friend when you need to make it to that 8 a.m. meeting, but at night, they can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. If you’ve got a visible clock in your bedroom, be sure to hide it from view so you don’t focus on the time if you can’t sleep.
Devices don’t belong in bed. Computers, TVs, and tablets should be used elsewhere. When you bring them to bed, it trains your brain to remain alert and active to perform interactive tasks, which makes it harder to wind down.
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2. Make Yourself Sleepy
Sometimes you need to proactively encourage your body and mind to get sleepy. Make exercise a part of your daily sleep hygiene routine. The American Sleep Association recommends you work out before 2 p.m. each day for an optimal sleep cycle. Because exercise generates endorphins, working out rigorously right before bedtime isn’t ideal and can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Yoga is also a great way to get moving and calm your mind when you’re feeling stressed, which is a leading cause of insomnia. If you’re having a tough time getting to sleep, try taking savasana (aka corpse pose) to help you transition into sleep and relaxation.
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3. Develop a Bedtime Ritual
You’ll want to get into the habit of winding down before you jump into bed. Sleep experts recommend taking a warm bath or meditating as a bedtime ritual that will help ease you into slumber. You can also listen to a calming audiobook, podcast, or guided meditation. The more mundane the information, the better.
Avoid activities that stimulate the mind such as work projects, planning, or worrying. Also avoid trying to purposefully fall asleep, since it can induce a cycle of frustration that then prevents you from dozing off. If you’re anxious about the time or falling asleep, it may be best to get out of bed and do something else to relax and distract your mind.
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4. Stay Away From Stimulants
What you consume affects how you sleep. You’ll want to stay on the alert for substances and foods that can keep you up. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soda can give you a buzz and spike your blood sugar, making it difficult to sleep. Certain types of alcohol, and nicotine, will do the same.
You’ll also want to lighten up your evening meals. Sugary, fatty, and acidic foods can cause indigestion, keeping you awake. Make sure you drink enough water before you go to bed to avoid waking up thirsty.
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5. Find Time for Sleep
You schedule your coffee meetings, yoga classes, and family reunions, so why not schedule time to sleep? Plan on getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and factor this into your daily routine. Try to turn in at the same time every night so your brain will get into the habit of knowing when it’s time for sleep mode. If you’re a napper, limit naps to 30 minutes per day, and take them before 5 p.m.