Improve Your Sleep in 7 Steps
While most people are well aware of the health benefits of sleep, steps to a restful night can easily be missed throughout the day. Say goodnight to tossing and turning with these strategies for sleeping soundly.
Set Yourself Up for a Restful Night During the Day
1. Create a Serene Environment
The ultimate environment for sleeping is one that is dark, quiet, and cool. Consider adding blackout curtains or blinds to block any light coming from your bedroom windows. Add a fan or lower your thermostat between 60-68 degrees.1 For extra elements of relaxation, dim the lighting in the room and try an essential oil diffuser with lavender essential oils.
2. Take Note of What You Eat and Drink
How you fuel your body during the day can affect how you sleep at night.2 Monitoring how much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol you consume could be the key to sweet dreams. The National Sleep Foundation recommends cutting out caffeine after 2 p.m., avoiding alcohol 3 hours before bed, and saying no to sugary nighttime snacks to give your body ample time to unwind.
3. Stretch and Sweat
Aerobic exercise such as jogging or brisk walking is well known for improving sleep and even battling insomnia.3 Get your heart rate going and work up a sweat during the day and give your body a deep stretch before bed to relax your muscles.
“I’m Ready for Bed, Now What?”
4. Get in the Groove of a Nightly Routine
Pick a handful of relaxing activities before you get in bed each night to signal your mind that it’s time to snooze. Don’t overcomplicate it, just simply brushing your teeth, putting on pajamas and reading a book in the same order each evening can do the trick. For an extra dose of unwinding, include your favorite skincare routine or a warm bath right before bed.
5. Put Your Electronics to Sleep
Try turning off your phone or setting your phone to “Do Not Disturb” if you use it as your alarm clock. It can be tempting to sit in bed and scroll through emails and social media, but blue light from your phone screen keeps the brain alert and slows the production of melatonin, a critical sleep hormone.4
6. Practice Breathing or Meditation
Now that you’ve eliminated most common sleep distractions, close your eyes as you lay in bed and give mindful breathing a try. Breathing for sleep helps the mind and body to relax and breath more naturally and effectively. A popular breathing exercise is the Box Method.5 This is also a form of meditation, which is known for improving sleep quality. There are endless meditation variations for sleep to be explored. Find a method that works best for you!
“I’ve tried it all and I’m still struggling!”
7. Talk to Your Doctor
While the steps above are tried and true, if you’re still struggling to fall and stay asleep at night, contact your doctor. It may be time to seek out additional guidance and recommendations for the right over the counter or prescription sleep aid to help you get back to restful sleeping. You may also be able to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for sleep medications with a prescription discount card or Rx coupons. Anyone can use these resources, regardless of insurance coverage.