Does this sound familiar?
You’re exhausted, but the second you lay your head on the pillow, you’re stuck staring at the ceiling for hours on end unable to fall asleep.
Maybe it’s because your mind is racing – you’re worried about all the things you have to do tomorrow, and your anxiety is through the roof. Or maybe you’re not worried at all, but you become worried about the fact you can’t sleep. “Why can’t I sleep?!” You toss and turn, count sheep (who the heck did that ever work for?), then finally succumb to picking up your phone and looking through Instagram.
Before you know it it’s 4AM and you’ve got two hours before you have to rise and shine. Finally glorious sleep comes but then…. BUZZZZZZ! That’s your alarm – it feels like you slept ten minutes instead of two hours because it wasn’t quality sleep and now, you’re in a bad mood dragging the rest of the day.
This scenario would be acceptable if it only happened once in a while, but the problem is for many of us, we can’t seem to get a good night’s rest no matter how hard we try.
If that’s you, then read below for six tips on how to get your brain to shut up and get the shut eye you need.
Commit to a sleep schedule – Having a consistent schedule can help train your body and reinforce what’s called your sleep cycle. Commit to the same time every night to head to bed and the same time every morning to wake up – even on weekends. The Mayo Clinic suggests giving yourself twenty minutes to fall asleep, if that’s not working for you, get up, do something relaxing then try again, but still maintain the schedule.
Get at least seven hours of sleep every night – I know it’s hard, we all want to burn the candle at both ends – be up early to get things done, stay up late to have fun. But following this type of schedule with a plan to catch up missed sleep on the weekends never works. Think about it this way – if you’re getting 4 hours of Zzzs Monday through Friday, you’ll have to make up an extra 15 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Add that to the other 14 hours you need to just maintain, and you’ll have to sleep a whopping 29 hours over the weekend. This makes it impossible to catch up which is why most of us are always working on a deficit.
Lesson? Stick to seven hours every night, period.
Watch what you eat and drink – most of us know that pizza and a half bottle of wine before bed is going to wreak havoc on our sleep. That’s a no-brainer. But there are some food and drink that help with sleep. According to an article from healthline, almonds, turkey, chamomile tea, kiwi, tart cherry juice, fatty fish, walnuts, passionflower tea and white rice can all help with a good night’s rest. Bettersleep also suggests that a tablespoon and a half of honey before you turn in works too.
No screens one hour before bed – This is the one that’s hardest for me. I’m addicted to playing word games on my iPhone right before bed to unwind. Well, as fun as this habit is, it’s not a good one. The Sleep Foundation explained how blue light emitted from your cell, your computer, and your iPad suppresses melatonin which is needed for a good sleep. So, ditch the screens before you head to bed.
Your bed is your throne – Invest in your bed. If it’s not comfortable you’re not going to sleep well. Pillows and linens matter too. One pricey pillowcase that changed my sleep quality is the Blissy. I know it’s outrageously expensive, but once I tried it, I couldn’t go back because I slept so much better. If you’re room isn’t dark enough invest in a nodpod – a weighted sleep mask which blocks out light and relaxes you.
Keep worries at bay – This is difficult, but there are techniques to help you manage your anxiety before sleep. One trick is to have a To Do list at the side of your bed. Worried about something? Write it down to take care of it the next day, this can get it off your shoulders for the night. Meditation also helps, check out this article I wrote to help even those who have failed before at the practice, succeed.
Alyssa Collins hails from Minnesota, where snowy days were the perfect excuse to stay warm inside and write. Over the years, she turned that joy into a career and has authored numerous articles for various publications (under pen names). Email Alyssa via email@example.com.