If you feel like you don't get enough sleep, you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that at least 1 in 3 American adults struggles to get adequate amounts of sleep each night.
Not getting enough sleep can make you feel cranky and unfocused. But consistent lack of sleep can lead to serious chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. That's why we are bringing you these sleep hacks.
Wondering how to get more rest and get a better night's sleep? Check out our top 10 sleep tips next. And stick around to find out what to do if you think your sleep problems hint at something more serious.
1. Create a Bedtime Routine
Humans are creatures of habit. That is why it is so important to go to sleep at the same time every night. A consistent bedtime routine will teach your body when it is time to wind down each night.
Your sleep routine could also include a shower or bath, reading, drinking a glass of warm milk, or meditating. These activities can alert your body that it is time to relax. Things to avoid before bed include:
- No caffeine after 2 pm
- No exercise within four hours of your bedtime
- No light within one hour of your bedtime
Do you read on your tablet or smartphone before bed? If so, make sure to switch to night mode. Exposure to blue light from screens can mess with your circadian rhythm.
2. Get a New Mattress
Is your mattress keeping you awake at night? Your mattress should offer comfort and support. If your mattress offers comfort but not support or support but not comfort, it may be time for a new one.
3. Lay Off the Junk Food
People who eat diets high in unhealthy fats and added sugars tend to get poor-quality sleep. At the same time, getting inadequate amounts or low-quality sleep can make you crave junk food, creating a vicious cycle.
Choosing a healthy diet rich in high-quality foods. High-quality foods are high in whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients may help you get to sleep faster and sleep better.
4. Adjust the Thermostat
There is tons of research to support the idea that a cooler temperature is better for a great night's sleep. And there is also research showing how increased body temperature can wake you up during the night.
Additionally, the temperature in your bedroom can affect your REM vs. non-REM sleep. REM is the gold standard when it comes to sleep. And getting too hot at night can decrease the amount of deep REM sleep you get.
The ideal sleep temperature is 60–70°F. We lose heat through our hands and feet, too. So, sleeping without socks and sticking your feet out from under the covers could be the solution you need to sleep longer and better.
5. Reduce Your Stress Levels
You probably already know that stress is not good for your health. You can also add to the list that high-stress lifestyles can negatively impact your sleep. More specifically, stress can keep you from falling asleep and staying asleep.
But why does this happen? Stress leads to an increase in a hormone called cortisol, which makes you feel alert. As you can imagine, you do not want a lot of cortisol circulating through your body when you are trying to relax.
What's more, poor sleep can lead to elevated stress levels during the day. Like eating junk food, being stressed can create a vicious cycle of worse and worse sleep.
6. Make a Sleep Soundtrack
There's a reason mothers sing lullabies to their babies to get them to sleep. Music with gentle rhythms has been shown to improve sleep quality and help people get to sleep faster.
7. Change Your Bedding
Your mattress isn't the only thing that could be affecting your sleep. Your bedding can also impact your sleep negatively.
Our favorite bedding sleeping hacks are to wash your sheets more often. Choose linen sheets if you are a hot sleeper because this material is breathable, even in the summer months.
Finally, consider a waited blanket. Pressure can help with relaxation, especially in people who are prone to anxious feelings.
8. Consider the Military Method
The Military Method is a technique invented to prevent sleep deprivation during World War II. And some sleep biohackers say this method can help you get to sleep in 90 seconds flat.
The Military Method for getting to sleep faster includes the following seven steps:
- Relax your face
- Drop your shoulders
- Drop your hands to each side
- Take a deep exhale
- Relax your legs
- Clear your mind for at least 10 seconds
- Chant "don't think" for 10 more seconds
By the end of this routine, you should be feeling relaxed and ready to drift off the dreamland.
9. Try Natural Sleep Remedies
Sometimes, changing your sleep habits is not enough alone to make a difference for you. That is where natural sleep remedies can come in.
One of the most popular natural sleep aids is melatonin. Melatonin is the chemical in your body that helps regulate your circadian rhythms. Higher amounts of melatonin tell your brain and body that it is time for bed.
If you've tried melatonin without any improvements in your sleep, consider alternatives. Kava, valerian root, and magnesium are natural remedies that have legitimate research backing their benefits for sleep.
10. Get Help for Sleep Disorders
Sometimes, poor sleep or inability to fall asleep may be signs of a more serious condition. The following disorders feature sleep disturbances as a primary symptom:
- Sleep apnea
- REM sleep behavior disorder
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep-wake disorder
- Shift work disorder
- Periodic limb movement disorder
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you think you have one of these conditions. Your doctor can prescribe you medication to help you eliminate your sleep problems once and for all.
What to Do If These Sleep Hacks Don't Work for You
These 10 sleep hacks can help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep all night. But if these tips don't help you figure out how to sleep better, it may be time to talk to your doctor about medication.
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