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Do you feel tired even after spending a minimum of eight hours in bed? Maybe you spend all day feeling fatigued, only to find yourself unable to fall asleep when your head hits the pillow at night. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty sleeping, resulting in fewer than seven hours of quality sleep every night.
Sleep issues are fairly common, whether you work a hectic nursing job or have difficulty winding down at night. Even if you usually get good sleep, sometimes your sleep can get disturbed, leaving you to wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed.
Luckily, there are several ways to get better sleep without medicine or sleep aids. Here’s how:
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Sticking to a regular sleep routine can drastically improve how you feel when you wake up in the morning and allow you to fall asleep faster at night. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends!) is crucial to ensuring your body and mind understand when it’s time to wind down and wake up. Your body has a biological clock that can help you fall asleep and wake up easily, but you must train it. You should start winding down for bed at least one hour before you crawl under the sheets to signal to your mind that it’s time to start relaxing. To wind down, you can engage in activities like putting on your pajamas, reading, dimming the lights, or doing light stretches.
One of the key factors for good sleep is your room temperature. If you’re like most people, you can’t fall asleep easily if it’s too hot or too cold in your bedroom, and no matter how many blankets you pile on or remove, you’ll never be truly comfortable until you address your room temperature. Many people need the AC on at night in the summer to make it around 67 degrees, the ideal sleep temperature. But, of course, everyone is different, so you may have to experiment to find your ideal sleep temperature.
Your bedding can drastically improve your sleeping experience. There are many types of fabrics to choose from, ranging from cotton to bamboo and flannel. Depending on where you live, you may change your sheets depending on the season. For example, if you live somewhere that experiences hot summers and cold winters, you may choose to use flannel sheets when it’s cold and bamboo or cotton when it’s warm.
Different fabrics have different properties, so it’s important to research what works best for you. For example, bamboo is moisture-wicking and cooling, while flannel help to hold in body heat. In addition to the different features of each fabric, you may have certain preferences when it comes to softness. For example, some people prefer cotton over any other fabrics, but it’s all a matter of your personal comfort.
Unfortunately, no mattress will last forever, and you should aim to replace mattresses every seven to ten years, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines. In addition, there are several different types of mattresses to choose from, including innerspring, memory foam, and hybrid mattress options. You should do your research to learn more about them and the types of sleepers they work best for. For example, individuals who sleep on their stomachs or backs may prefer a firm bed, while slide sleepers may need a soft mattress that feels like a warm hug.
In addition, different mattresses have different features and benefits. For example, not all memory foam mattresses are the same, so you may need to look for one that’s more cooling, depending on how hot you sleep.
Consider whether or not you need that additional coffee or energy drink in the afternoon. Many people who drink coffee too late in the day experience sleep issues because caffeine is a stimulant that can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. In addition, once the boost you get from caffeine wears off, you may feel more tired, ultimately impacting your body’s natural clock.
Drinking alcohol too close to bedtime can also impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep. While alcohol is a depressant and may help you fall asleep initially, it puts you into a deeper sleep, throwing off your sleep cycle and making it more difficult to enter REM sleep at the right time. Ultimately, alcohol may make you tired enough to fall asleep, but you’ll likely wake up multiple times throughout the night.
Stress is another factor that can lead to poor sleep quality. When you’re stressed, you may have many things weighing on your mind, making it more challenging to relax at night. If you can’t relax your mind, you may experience physical symptoms of anxiety that make it even more difficult to fall asleep. Stress is bad for your health in more ways than one, so it’s essential to find stress management techniques that work for you and can promote better sleep.
If you suffer from excessive sleepiness, you may be prone to take naps in the daytime. However, even though you may feel tired during the day, it’s usually best to stay awake until bedtime because naps can interfere with your sleep schedule. If you must nap, consider keeping it short and avoid napping too late in the day. Instead, consider a mid-afternoon nap that won’t affect your ability to fall asleep later in the night.
Working out has been proven to help you sleep better at night because it helps you feel more energized during the day so you can expend more energy. However, exercise boosts energy, so it’s usually best not to work out too close to bedtime. In addition, while some people don’t experience any issues with sleep when they exercise at night, others may find it difficult to fall asleep while still experiencing a runner’s high. Therefore, you may have to experiment to determine which exercise times are best for you and can promote better sleep instead of keeping you up at night.
There are many ways to improve your sleep quality to help you sleep through the night without waking up. However, it’s important and worth discussing it with your healthcare provider if you’ve tried everything and still struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. Certain medications and and several underlying illnesses can greatly affect your ability to fall asleep, and the sooner they’re treated, the sooner you can start experiencing better sleep.
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.
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