May 1, 2014
Ask yourself the following questions:
How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Do you wake up tired? Sore? Do you need an entire pot of coffee just to be able to function? When you get a bad night’s sleep, how do you feel for the entire rest of the day?
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do. In fact, sleep is more important than eating. If you gave up eating and sleeping, you would die of lack of sleep far sooner than you would starve to death. This Scientific American article explains it. Even a little bit of sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for your health. According to Harvard, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Here are some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Go to bed the same time each night, wake up the same time each morning. Our bodies have what’s called a circadian rhythm (circadian, meaning “about a day”). Our bodies naturally try to fall into a daily sleep pattern that, for some reason, we often try to fight. But if you get into a daily routine, you’ll start falling asleep easier and waking up minutes before the alarm was going to wake you anyway.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime or later leads to disrupted sleep. That means if you go to bed at 11pm, no caffeine after 5pm.
- Avoid bright lights, including electronics, at bedtime. Your body bases its circadian rhythm in part around the light entering your eyes. If you keep your room constantly bright (or have the bright light of your cell phone pumping directly into your eye), that signals your brain that it’s not time to sleep yet. That means you’ll lie awake fighting yourself trying to sleep. Avoid bright lights at night. Keep your room dark, and don’t bring your cell phone to bed. Studies have shown that blue light is the worst for disrupting sleep. (Read here for a cheap way to block the blue light from your eyes at night)
- Evaluate your mattress. If you find yourself tossing or turning all night unable to get comfortable, or you wake up with a back ache, or your partner bounces you out of bed when he or she changes positions, or you wake up with pins and needles in your hand, you might need a new mattress. The proper support and comfort in a mattress is an important part of how well you sleep. If you decide you need a new mattress, my mattress guide can help you find a new one.
That should be enough to get you sleeping better as soon as tonight. Let me know if these techniques helped you by responding in the comments.