We’re at that the time of year when a lot of people take stock of themselves and try to figure out what they can improve. One thing that most people could work on is the amount of sleep they get each night. Research has shown that getting the right amount of shut-eye can improve your memory, cognitive abilities, immune system, and even help you lose weight. But, instead of making a blanket resolution to “get more sleep,” try making these five resolutions, which can help fix many of the biggest reasons we don’t get enough rest.
- Turn off the screens an hour before bedtime. Light emitted from screens like televisions, smartphones, tablets, and computers can confuse your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up. Technology should leave the bedroom at least an hour before bedtime, and stay outside the bedroom all night. Instead of watching TV, playing games, or updating Facebook, try reading a calming book (the paper kind) or magazine (again, the old-fashioned kind), or listening to calming music. .
- Use caffeine and alcohol in moderation. While your cup of coffee and your favorite adult beverage may appear to have opposite effects on your body, they can both keep you from sleeping well. Caffeine obviously wakes you up, but if it enters your system in the afternoon, its impact may reach well into the evening, keeping you awake when you need to settle down for bed. Alcohol, meanwhile, may initially make you sleepy, but once those effects wear off it can keep you awake in the middle of the night.
- Stick to your schedule. We say this a LOT here at SleepBetter. Your body simply can’t get into a rhythm and know when it’s time to sleep when you change the schedule frequently. Even on the weekends, try to go to bed and get up within an hour of your weekday schedule.
- See your doctor. We receive a lot of questions from individuals who have sleep problems that should be discussed face-to-face with a doctor. Talking to your physician should always be the first step you take if you’re having an ongoing sleep problem, because there may be a physical issue that’s causing your restlessness.
- Review your sleep environment. Everything in your bedroom can be considered a sleep tool, and you should never use tools that are worn out. If your pillow is more than a year or so old, throw it out and get a quality replacement. If your bed is uncomfortable, consider buying a new one or getting a quality mattress topper. A topper or mattress pad is much cheaper, and can help eliminate many of the problems caused by an older bed. To research the latest in bedding, be sure to visit our Recommended Products page.
All of us at SleepBetter wish you a restful and happy 2017. We resolve that we’ll be here all year long to give you tips and advice on how to sleep better!