Sometimes, a sound eight hours of sleep is all you need but it’s either elusive or it comes to only wake you—and keep you awake—in the middle of the night. Chances are, your sleep time deserves a makeover: A few healthy sleep habits that can improve not only your ability to fall asleep but also stay asleep.
1. Keep technology off
Our smartphones live with us. They sleep in the bed with us. But this prized possession also stops us from sleeping well. Why? Staring at a bright screen reduces our melatonin and turns around our sleep schedule.
What to do: Shut down all devices an hour or two before bed and escort them out of your bedroom.
2. Draw a warm bath
If you have a tough, demanding job and go to bed with sore muscles, sleeping can be difficult.
What to do: A nice, warm bath does the body a lot of good. Science proves it. You can literally wash your worries away while loosening up your tight muscles.
3. Guided imagery
We’re reiterating: You’ve probably scrolled through your smartphone all day. Don’t do it at night.
What to do: Try visualisation. Use this technique and flip through a slideshow in your mind of calming, soothing, and positive images. It could be memories, goals, or even cat and puppy images if that works for you.
4. Make your room a haven
It’s difficult to relax in any cluttered space, especially a bedroom that has clothes or other knick knacks strewn around.
What to do: Make sure you declutter but also that your room has a nice and cool atmosphere. Let it be fragrant with candles or room fresheners and cool with natural air.
5. Write a journal
You might have had a bad day but can you do something to not let it spill to your night? Yes.
What to do: Oprah Winfrey has suggested writing a gratitude journal every day. But go a step further and write these three things we suggest: something that excited you today, something that drained your energy today, and something you learnt about yourself today. This reflection will help you divert your mind from what’s troubling you to hope and possibilities—exactly what your day’s last thought should be.
6. Watch your diet and drinks
Sometimes, you stay awake because of stomach churns due to indigestion or heartburn or simply being too full.
What to do: Finish dinner at least three hours before bedtime, so you give your body time to digest the food. Bonus: Make sure you don’t drink coffee after 2 pm as caffeine stays in your system for a long time.
7. Make a to-do list
Sometimes, you can’t sleep because you’re fretting over your next day.
What to do: Make a to-do list for the next day. Spend a minute to clearly think, and put down everything you need to do. You will not only wake up with purpose but also manage to stop worrying about what has to be done—because it’s all in front of you.
8. Get dressed for sleep
Imagine being so tired that you just crash in whatever you’re wearing. Let that be an exception, not a rule.
What to do: Have dedicated sleepwear that you turn into every night before you sleep. It’s automatically a nudge to your body and mind that it’s time for some shuteye.
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