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Sleep is meant to restore our minds and bodies. As we do so, our organs rest, our skin is renewed, and the body flushes out toxins. Consequently, sleep deprivation can lead to a whole lot of problems, including weight gain. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep increases the "hunger hormone" levels in your body, therefore decreasing those hormones that make you feel full.
Remember, uninterrupted, deep sleep contributes to good health and emotional well-being at any age. So if you have been having trouble sleeping, here are 24 tips you can adopt to start sleeping like a baby:
1. Stay active during the day. It is, indeed, true that people whose jobs involve physical labor tend to sleep easily than those who work at offices. Exercise early in the morning an several hours before bedtime.
2. Do yoga. Yoga has been proven to effectively result in a sound sleep.
3. Do power naps. Limit daytime sleep to a 20-minute power nap. Avoid sleeping longer as sleeping during daytime steals hours from your night time slumber.
4. Eat early. Take your dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime to ensure proper digestion and speed up your metabolism.
5. No caffeine after 3:00 pm. Some people can drink coffee after dinner and claim to go to sleep afterwards. That may be true, but how about the "quality" of the sleep? If you want to sleep like a baby, reserve the coffee for mornings or maybe a little after lunch.
6. Exercise in the evening. Working out 3-4 hours before going to bed helps relax your muscles and puts you to sleep easily.
7. Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Yes, alcohol makes it easier for you to sleep because it's a depressant. But then, it causes you to wake up during the night. This is because as alcohol is digested in your body, your body goes into a withdrawal, which causes awakenings or even nightmare for some people.
8. Eat bananas or oatmeal. Bananas contain both magnesium and potassium, which are natural muscle relaxants. Oatmeals, on the other hand, contain melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid.
9. Sip some tart cherry juice. A warm glass of milk isn't the only beverage that can help in making you sleepy. According to recent studies, cherries contain melatonin, a a sleep-regulating hormone that's produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and anti-inflammatory cytokines that are thought to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
10. Don't turn on a bright light. When you're about to sleep, never turn on a bright light (in your bathroom, for instance) as this shuts down your melatonin level for the rest of the night. Use a night light instead.
11. Take a hot shower. A hot shower before going to bed can help relax tensed muscles.
12. Have a bedtime ritual, something you can do every night that usually begins an hour before your bedtime. This can be a soothing cup of tea, or a soak in the tub, etc.
13. Stick to a schedule. Set your body clock. Sleep at around the same time every night so you could wake up at the time you want, consistently. Do this on weekends too. Otherwise, when you wake up the next morning, you'll wake up later than the usual and feel overly tired.
14. Keep the room dark. Too much light in a room can be disturbing.
15. Make your room colder. Your body needs to cool down in order for you to sleep and stay asleep.
16. Don't watch an interesting movie. Avoid watching an interesting movie a few hours before going to sleep. If you must watch a movie, pick something that won't require you to use your brain, which means avoid sci-fi, horror, or suspense. Instead, choose something light. Perhaps, something with a sweet ending.
17. Stop studying (or working). Don't study (or work) until the very last minute before you go to bed. Put it all away at least an hour before your bedtime to give your mind a break before you call it a night.
18. Keep the clock. Having a clock near you when you're preparing for bed, will certainly make you anxious of the time as you would notice how it will crawls past. So keep the clock and avoid getting restless.
19. Put all your electronic gadgets to "sleep" too. Keep your mobile phones, laptops, iPod, etc. out of reach so that you can disconnect, literally and psychologically. Otherwise, keeping these electronics beside you will tempt you to do unnecessary things like checking the time, texts, emails, etc. Needless to say, this can disrupt your sleep.
20. Practice deep breathing. Calm down your mind and body. Doing this reduces your heart rate and anxiety level. It also keeps your body stress-free.
21. Visualize the feeling of being tired. After taking several deep breaths, use your mind to intentionally generate the feeling of being tired. Train your brain to create this emotion. It may sound weird but this is a powerful technique.
22. Read a little. Always put one of your favorite books within reach. This will make you look forward to reading it every time you go to bed. Reading while in bed can induce sleep. Read a little everytime you find it difficult to get a shuteye.
23. Journal your thoughts. If you find yourself worrying about a couple of things late at night, try writing it down. Do this until you have emptied your mind of all your worries and until your eyes start to feel incredibly heavy.
24. Do not stress about not being able to sleep. Try not to stress over an inability to fall asleep again as this encourages your body to stay awake. Rather, remind yourself that although that relaxation can revitalize your body. Remember, the more relaxed you are, the easier for you to go to sleep.