Some people can get in bed, close their eyes, fall asleep right away, and not wake up until morning. And then there are those of us who can’t. We toss and turn for hours before falling asleep – or fall asleep quickly only to wake up every couple of hours. Most studies have found that we need around 8 hours of sleep a night in order to feel our best, and other studies show that coffee and other stimulants increase wakefulness. Fortunately, there are some ways to get a better night’s sleep.
Sleep and Wake at the Same Time
Most experts agree that humans need a schedule – not just for day-to-day activities – to get their best sleep. Go to bed at around the same time every night, and plan to wake up at the same time each day. When you’re on a schedule, your brain and body are more likely to try to keep that schedule. You should fall asleep more quickly when you go to bed and wake up more easily at the scheduled time in the mornings.
When you dim the lights and cut off your devices early, you send your brain a signal that it’s time to start thinking about falling asleep. Do that, and you’ll fall asleep more easily.
When you’re active during the day, or at least try to include some physical activity in your daily routine, you’ll fall asleep better. If you have a job in an office or another job that prevents you from being as active as you’d like, adding an exercise routine can help.
If you keep your bedroom warmer, you may not fall asleep as well. Think about it. When the sun goes down, the temperature drops. That cooler temperature signals our bodies that it’s time to sleep. When your bedroom is cooler, you should fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep better.
In order to keep your room cooler, you’ll want to keep your HVAC unit in top condition. With many units, or a quick upgrade to your thermostat, you can also set an automatic adjustment in temperature for just before bedtime. This can help you fall asleep better.
There are many more ways to remind your body that it’s supposed to sleep at night, and different ones work for different people. Find the right combination of methods to make sure you’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep, and if all else fails, doctors are available to help provide even more specialized advice.