Sleep is incredibly important to everyone. In fact, most people recommend that we sleep for about a third of our lives—that’s an incredibly long time! Not only is sleep great for recharging your body and revitalising the mind, it’s also a fantastic way to heal yourself and there are plenty of physical benefits. Sleep is our body’s method of repairing cells, so extra sleep will ultimately improve your immune system and make you a healthier person.
Sadly, not everyone can sleep like a rock and wake up feeling refreshed. Some of us find it difficult to sleep no matter how hard they try. They might need sleeping aids, they might suffer from insomnia, or they might just be restless at night when they try to close their eyes. But to give you a bit of help, here are a variety of different ways that you can ensure you get the right amount of sleep every night.
Learn how much sleep you need
Not everyone sleeps the same amount. Contrary what people to say, there are people who are perfectly fine sleeping just 6-7 hours instead of the recommended 8. In fact, the best way to learn how much you need to sleep is simply experiment. Set your alarm for about an hour before you intend to leave the house. Head to bed 7 hours before the time you intend to wake up, and then see if you wake up earlier or later than the time. If you wake up on time but feel groggy, you might need to add an extra 10 minutes to your sleep—just keep pushing it back if you need. If you wake up earlier, however, then your body probably doesn’t need as much sleep as you think and you could get by fine without it.
Change your sleeping position
If you’re sleeping on your stomach, then you need to try and switch it to sleeping on your side or on your back. Sleeping on your front makes you susceptible to aches and pains because your neck is constantly stressed when you do so. If you sleep on your side, you’ll need to adjust your pillows so they’re slightly raised because you need to fill the gap between your shoulder and neck. If you sleep on your back, then your pillow needs to be lower and support mainly your neck.
Get a comforting bed to sleep on
Of course, you can’t sleep properly if the surface you sleep on isn’t comfortable enough. If you have pains and aches when you sleep, consider getting a memory foam mattress that shapes itself to your body. If you feel too hot when you sleep, then look into getting a gel mattress instead.
Keep your bedroom cool
With the summer coming up, it’s even more important to try and reduce our body temperature to a comfortable level so we can sleep and wake up feeling refreshed, not sweating. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on to cool down your room. If the sun shines into your room during the afternoon, consider shutting the curtains or blinds to keep it dark and cool. If possible, try and keep the windows open during the night. If you’re concerned about bugs and insects, then install a mesh screen to keep them out.
Try more pillows
If you’re not feeling comfortable enough when you hop into bed, then consider getting a few more pillows. They’ll help you support your body, clutching one can sometimes be relaxing and reduce stress, and stacking pillows can raise them high enough to support your neck and back if you sleep on your side.
Ease your mind before bed
It’s important to try and relax as much as possible before bed. Don’t eat before bed, try not to stimulate your mind too much with television shows or video games, and take a warm bath to relax your body and cool yourself down before you jump into the sheets. If possible, avoid anything stressful at least 2-3 hours before you plan to go bed so you can give your body time to relax and unwind.
Practice a nightly ritual
If you repeat the same things every night before bed, then you could build up your body’s familiarity with the situation and it will automatically start to wind down. If you want some ideas on nightly rituals, then check out this article where adults confess their childhood bedtime comforts. Some include clutching soft toys and animals, some people have special blankets, and some like to sleep with their pets. You could also try drinking some warm milk before bed, do a bit of stretching and light exercise before you head into the sheets, or even switch into comfortable pajamas.
Caffeine can make our sleep restless—even if you think you’re getting enough sleep! Drinking coffee even 4 hours before you head to bed can have adverse effects on your sleep. Even if you do sleep and wake up at the same time, you’ll wake up feeling groggy and horrible because your body is still staying alerted due to the effects of the caffeine. If you really need to drink caffeinated drinks, cut down on them as it gets closer to night time.
Remove electronics from your room
You don’t want to associate electronics with your room because it’s far too tempting to stay up and use them as you try to get some shut-eye. For instance, if you have a TV in your bedroom, then you’ll be far too tempted to watch some shows as you go to bed and you’ll end up staying up later than you anticipated. You also want to remove your laptop because it’s far too tempting to use it while you’re sitting up in bed, and you also want to cut down on pillow talks with your smartphone or late night social media browsing.
Turn the lights down
And lastly, make sure you turn the lights down! If you feel uneasy sleeping with all the lights off, get a dim nightlight to help you fall asleep. If lights from outdoor sources bother you, then consider getting a mask to blind your vision as you fall asleep. Turning down the lights also helps you save money on things like electricity bills, making it a win-win situation for you.