I feel like there are two types of people in this world. Those who can operate on four hours of sleep, and those who definitely can’t. I fall into the latter group. That whole #TeamNoSleep movement is one I never want to join. (Said by a woman with no kids obvi.)
As you can tell, I value my slumber, so it pains me when I hear people talk about having issues getting some Z’s. If you’re struggling to really snooze and counting sheep hasn’t worked for you, here are eight ways you can finally get the best sleep of your life.
Cut the caffeine out early.
I know it’s tempting to reach for that cup of coffee around 2 pm to get over the midday slump. But if you can learn to power through without the late afternoon cup o’ Joe, you’ll be rewarded with some deeply satisfying sleep at the end of your day. When your energy starts to dip, get outside for a walk (after all, that exercise is beneficial) or try these other ways to wake up without caffeine.
People who exercise frequently reportedly get better sleep than non movers and shakers, according to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation. But if CrossFit isn’t your thing, fear not, you don’t have to go that hard. In a statement about the study, Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., poll task force chair explained that “if you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep.” It’s really just important that you find a way to incorporate movement into your life.
Make your bedroom your sanctuary.
Think a good night’s rest depends solely on having a great mattress? Think again. There are many factors that go into creating an oasis in your room, from the lighting, to the sounds. Use this guide from the Sleep Foundation to make sure you’re doing everything to create the ideal slumber environment.
Disconnect from your mobile devices.
I am guilty of scrolling Instagram before bed, which is a bad idea since the light from a screen at night tells the brain that it isn’t bedtime. Our brains then suppress the sleeping hormone melatonin, making it much more difficult to fade off into dreamland, even after we’ve put our electronic devices away.
Instead of searching the web or watching TV, get ready for sleep with calming activities: a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to some mellow music.
Reserve your bed for just sex and sleep.
You want your body to know that when you hit the bed, it means one of two things, you’re about to have sex, fall asleep, or both.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. It is good to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Stay consistent: Follow a sleep pattern.
Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It might feel wrong to pass up the chance to sleep in, but by sleeping late on Sundays, we make Monday mornings much harder. Not only are we having to transition from the weekend back to work, but we are also feeling what has been termed, “social jetlag.” This means your body clock is disoriented because of changes in the weekend sleep schedule.
Drown out noise from outside.
If the sound of cars passing by your house keeps you up or you’re a light sleeper who hears every step someone makes in your house, a white noise machine might become your new best friend. The machine covers up other noises in your immediate environment, helping you to fall (and stay) asleep.