What does it take to get that consistent, good-quality sleep we all need for whole-body restoration? The kind of sleep that puts the aches and worries of the day to rest and leaves you feeling revitalized in mind, body and soul? Read on.
Respect the clock
Generally, a restful night’s sleep centers on one thing — time. Part of this means sleeping for the right amount of time each night, which, for most adults, is between 7 and 9 hours. It also means keeping your body clock, or circadian rhythm, regulated by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This consistency helps your body clock predict your sleep patterns so you can fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed. Of course, life happens, so don’t stress too much if your sleep timing is off occasionally. Just get back on track as soon as you can.
Put it to bed early
Here are a few things you might want to remove from the hours leading up to bedtime to help you stick to that consistent sleep schedule:
Naps. Nodding off too late in the day or for too long might interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep at night.
Caffeine. Meeting a friend for afternoon coffee? Wonderful. It’s good for the soul. But make it a decaf, because caffeine stays in your body for a long time.
Alcohol. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep and, over time, lead to insomnia by interfering with your body clock.
Big meals. Eating too much just before bed can make sleep difficult and uncomfortable. If you’re hungry, opt for a light snack.
Stimulation in general isn’t good for the brain or the body right before bed. If you can, quit things like TV and electronic games, and stressful activities like working or paying bills, about an hour before bed.
So, how can you unwind? Try a bath or a good book, but be careful it’s not too good, or you’ll be up all night reading! If you have a lot on your mind before bed, it helps to write it down. And if you find it hard in general to relax for bed, try these tips.
Set the mood
The bedroom environment — it’s one of the most powerful, yet overlooked, parts of a good night’s sleep. If you’re not a “bed maker,” become one. Better yet, keep the entire room tidy, because walking into a clean bedroom actually can improve your sleep. But don’t just take our word for it:
Every day, people just like you also report that the right pillow and mattress, comfortable sheets, cool temperatures, and a dark room help them sleep better.
Don’t take pain lying down
You’re on your way to a better night’s sleep — don’t let pain sabotage it. Sometimes just changing your sleep position can help alleviate pain. If you suffer from back, neck or shoulder pain, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. For occasional sleeplessness due to minor pain, try Aleve PM, the only over-the-counter PM product with a sleep aid plus the 12-hour pain-relieving strength of Aleve.