You toss and turn for a while. Fluff your pillow. You can't stop thinking about work and all the things you have to do tomorrow. You roll onto your stomach, then onto your back. Fluff the pillow again. Lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, you realize that, once again, you're not going to get enough sleep tonight.
Why Do We Need Sleep?
During sleep, the body repairs and revitalizes itself. Sleep is also important for proper functioning of the immune and nervous systems.
Lack of sleep can cause the following:
- Increased stress
- Impaired memory
- Shortened temper
- Lower motivation
- Slower reflexes
- More mistakes
- Increased risk of illness
How to Sleep Better
Before reaching for an over-the-counter sleep aid, try these suggestions from the Better Sleep Council:
Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
Develop a sleep ritual. Whether you take a hot bath, drink a cup of herbal tea or read a book, doing the same things just before bed each night cues your body to relax.
Exercise regularly. Exercise relieves tension. But don't exercise too close to bedtime, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
Cut down on stimulants. Taking stimulants such as caffeine in the evening will interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Instead, have a cup of non-caffeinated herbal tea before bed.
Don’t smoke. Smokers tend to take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often.
Drink alcohol in moderation. You may fall asleep faster, but drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime interrupts and fragments sleep.
Unwind early in the evening. Deal with worries and distractions several hours before going to bed. Make a list of things you need to do tomorrow, so you won't think about them all night. Try relaxation exercises, such as slow rhythmic breathing, once in bed.
Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation. It's difficult to get deep, restful sleep on a bed that's too small, too soft or too hard.
Create a restful sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature. The ideal bedroom temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 18 degrees Celsius).
Restrict the number of activities you do in bed. Your bed shouldn't become a place for watching TV, eating or working.
Make sleep a priority. Go to bed at a reasonable time even when you're tempted to stay up late. You'll feel healthier, refreshed and ready to take on the new day.
Follow these steps, and there's a good chance you'll be on your way to a blissful slumber.