It’s easy to feel groggy throughout the day, especially if you have a stressful day, so there’s nothing wrong with taking a nap. The problem lies in people not knowing how to nap properly. There’s actually a science that can help you get the most out of closing your eyes for a few minutes without waking up completely groggy and not wanting to get up. We call it the power nap. These are naps that last only 15 to 20 minutes. They allow your body and mind to recharge quickly so that you can wake up refreshed. Any longer than that, and you jumpstart an entire sleep cycle that can be extremely difficult to wake up from.
Doing stretches right as you wake up in the morning is a great idea so that your muscles are ready to work for the day, but it’s also not a bad idea to do stretches before bed. Think of it as a “cool down” for the end of the day. Stretching relieves any muscle tension you may still have lingering before bedtime and prevents any muscle cramps while you’re sleeping. You can focus on how your body feels and breathing instead of dwelling on matters outside of your control.
If you haven’t noticed that there has been an influx of weighted blankets in the market, then you haven’t been paying attention. Weighted blankets have been the new cure for those who suffer from insomnia, anxiety, or depression. It’s similar to being hugged, which can have a calming effect on the body. So having this pressure on your body while you’re sleeping can help you feel safe and secure. Studies have shown that people who sleep with weighted blankets also tend to move around less during their sleep, thereby increasing their deep sleep periods. In turn, this improves the overall quality of sleep throughout the night.
The kind of food you eat can affect the amount and quality of sleep you have. For example, spicy food right before bed isn’t a good idea because you’re likely to have heartburn throughout the night. However, eating late at night is not a good idea. It jumpstarts your body’s metabolism to be ready for “something” instead of preparing for bed. But there are some foods that you can eat that will actually help you fall asleep, such as a small glass of warm milk (as discussed earlier) or a light carb-filled snack such as crackers.
Cleaning up your bedroom is generally a good idea so that you can always find what you’re looking for, but it can also help out your mental state when it comes to going to bed at night. Having bedroom clutter can negatively affect your brain because you’re always going to see it, and it’s going to be at the back of your mind that you need to get it done. Moreover, the longer you wait to put it away, the more anxiety you’re going to have for long periods. That’s why it’s best to put away your clothes and other things as soon as possible and not wait until later. By taking care of it sooner, you have reduced the amount of anxiety you have in a room.
The next time you head to the thermostat to turn it up before bed, then you might want to hold off. Science has demonstrated that it’s easier for people to fall asleep if their bedrooms are cold, and a cold room helps people fall asleep faster at night. Why? Because your core body temperature naturally falls a degree or two when you’re sleeping, so dropping the temperature in your room will help your core do that much faster. This sleeping trick also helps people with insomnia because those who do tend to have higher body temperatures, too, so keeping it down will help them drift off more easily.
Did you know that wearing socks to bed can actually help you fall asleep much faster at night? This sleeping hack follows the same principle we mentioned above; by assisting the body in cooling itself faster, you’ll find it much easier to fall asleep. Putting on socks before bed can improve this process by opening up the blood vessels to release internal heat. So what kind of socks should you be wearing to bed? You should go for loose-fitting socks that don’t have any tight spots around your feet or ankles. Natural fibers such as fleece or Spandex work well because they don’t constrict against the skin.
Fruits are not only good at keeping the doctor away but did you know that they can also help you fall asleep? Bananas, are known to reduce stress, relieve muscle cramps, and help your body regulate its sleep-wake cycle to improve your sleep quality. Just a medium-sized banana is enough for you to experience the difference. Not a fan of bananas? Other foods can help you achieve the same effect, such as tart cherries, beans, and chamomile tea. Of course, you should discuss any dietary changes with your doctor first to ensure that you’ll benefit from these foods instead of harming your overall health.
Most people shower in the morning before they go to work as a great start to their day, but did you know that a hot bath can have the opposite effect on your body? Scientific studies have shown that having a hot bath 90 minutes before your bedtime can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep. The hot water actually changes your body’s core temperature to lower it by the time you get to bed. Furthermore, this drop in temperature signals your body that it’s time for bed.
Caffeine is excellent at getting you up in the morning, but it’s not great for your overall sleep cycle, especially if you’re drinking coffee throughout the day. It takes about six to eight hours for caffeine to leave your system completely, so if you’re drinking coffee after 2 in the afternoon, you will have difficulty falling asleep. Drinking caffeine has also been shown to reduce the slow-wave sleep period, which means you’re not getting as much deep sleep as your body needs. It would be good to limit the amount of caffeine you have in a given day, especially cutting caffeine off around noon.
6. Exercise In the Morning Instead of at Night to Sleep Better
Many people argue over the best time to work out during the day. People who go for nighttime workouts say that it helps them fall asleep faster, while those who go for morning workouts say that it boosts metabolism. So who’s right? Actually, neither. The time of day doesn’t make a difference; the routine determines how well it works. Pick a time and stick with it. If you workout at random times of the day, your body isn’t getting into the habit of exercising, so it never knows what to prepare for. However, if you exercise at the same time every day, your body knows exactly when it’s going to happen and will prepare itself accordingly.
Just as your body is prepared to wake up in the morning at a particular time when you have an alarm set, you can train your body to do the same thing in order to get ready for bed. Start setting a sleep alarm, so you force yourself to put everything down and get into bed. Repeating this process regularly will train your brain to prepare for sleep, making it easier to fall asleep at night. It’s best not to use the same sound you use for your morning alarm, as this can confuse your brain and prepare for the day instead of the opposite.
If you really want to fall asleep, please put the homework and other projects you have aside. Your bed should only be for sleeping, not getting work done. There are three main reasons you shouldn’t do work in bed. One, being in bed limits your focus. You’re getting nice and warm under the covers, so you’re not going to have the attention you need to dedicate to your projects anyway. Secondly, your bed doesn’t afford you the amount of space you need to be productive anyway, so you’re still not going to get as much work done. Thirdly, you’ll harm your chances of falling asleep because you’re forcing your brain to be awake instead of preparing for bed.
Light is one of the most important factors when it comes to regulating your circadian rhythm. When it’s light out, you have more energy; when it gets dark, your body prepares for sleep. That’s why during winter, when the sunlight hours are shorter, you may feel more tired than usual. However, with the advent of modern electricity, the human body feels more alert than before long after the sun goes down. Furthermore, because people keep electronic devices in their rooms that add more light to the atmosphere, they can have more difficulty falling asleep. The way to combat this is to keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
Breathing is an essential part of controlling your stress and anxiety. It’s why you focus on your breathing during yoga; by slowing it down and taking deeper breaths, you’re increasing oxygen to your brain to feel calmer. You can implement those same methods when lying in bed to help you fall asleep much faster. One of these breathing methods is the 4-7-8 method. To start, inhale through your nose for a slow count of four. Hold your breath for about seven seconds, and then exhale slowly for eight seconds through your mouth. Try to practice these breathing methods regularly so that you don’t have to dedicate too much thought to it while lying in bed. Repeat for at least four cycles, and you should start to feel more relaxed.
We all read bedtime stories as children, so it’s a given that reading before bed can help your mind relax before bed. There are several reasons why it works; it reduces stress and anxiety, it can make you more creative the next day, and it decreases the amount of time you spend in front of blue light. Reading can help improve overall concentration when completing tasks throughout the day. Why? Because you are training your brain to process information more slowly.