How well we sleep is connected to almost everything – our mood, energy level, emotional balance, mental alertness, the list is endless. If you are not getting a good night’s sleep, there are techniques you can try to improve your slumber. Try out a few of the different strategies below and see what works best for you. Note: before employing these strategies, it is a good idea to have a general idea of how many hours of sleep you need every night.
Strategy: Be consistent
Be consistent with your sleeping hours. Set a regular bedtime. Choose a time that you begin to feel tired, so that you do not find yourself tossing and turning in bed. Try to wake up at the same time everyday. The continuity sets your body on a schedule. Think of it as training your body to fall asleep and wake up at the times that work for you.
Strategy: Increase Your Melatonin Production
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your body naturally produces the levels of melatonin you need during the day when it is time to be alert. During the night, your brain registers that it is dark and should secrete the levels of melatonin you need to feel sleepy. Sometimes, light from appliances and electronics disrupts those natural melatonin levels. When you are attempting to fall asleep, turn off your television and computer. The bright lights and activity on the screens tend to stimulate your mind, not relax it. Replace your nightly TV or computer routine with relaxation exercises (like stretching), or listening to calming music. This is likely to produce the correct levels of melatonin you need to fall asleep.
Strategy: Create Peace Before Bed
Create a calming and relaxing environment for yourself before you sleep. If you are at peace right before bed, you will find it much easier to fall asleep. Make sure your room is set to a desirable temperature. People often find themselves too hot or too cold in the middle of the night and it disrupts their sleeping schedule. Ensure that your bed is comfortable. Take a hot shower or bath, and make sure you are feeling relaxed.
Remember to try every method and do not get discouraged. You can find the combination of strategies that works for you!