We know we need to sleep. And from my last post, we know a little bit more about why. So what if you have trouble falling asleep, or getting enough sleep? If you do have trouble sleeping, you’re in common company. According to the CDC, 30% of the U.S. workforce is sleep-deprived. And there’s an entire industry devoted to helping you sleep. And I’m sure you’ve heard the common credo of putting yourself on a sleep schedule, not drinking caffeine before bed, managing stress, not drinking alcohol close to bedtime, etc., etc. So beyond those, I’ve found 7 more sleep tips for an easy how to sleep guide to help you achieve better sleep:
1. Have sex for sleep
And of course, have it safely. You’ve likely heard of or experienced this before. Having sex releases sleep-inducing endorphins, including oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone” that among other things, relieves stress and puts us in a sleep ready mode.
2. Turn off the screen
If you struggle with sleep, you may have heard you should limit your bedroom to sleep and #1 above only. And this is true. But other than providing a limitless sea of distractions, the blue light from backlit LCD screens (found in laptops, tablets, and smartphones) can actually inhibit the production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep inducer.
3. Set your morning mood, not your alarm
Even the word “alarm” is a little, well, alarming to wake up to. We’re (hopefully) not waking up to fires or any life-threatening situations that would necessitate a harsh-sounding alarm. We’re likely waking up to bad breath, bed-head, and eye crust. So, why not consciously set your morning mood by setting your phone, MP3 player (most of them have one), or whatever it is that wakes you up to something soothing. Play around with it. Knowing you’ll have the right tune when you wake up might help remove the anxiety of going to bed and fearing the dreaded “alarm”.
4. Turn on the white noise
If you’re one to look to technology for your solutions, then perhaps a white noise machine is the way to go. These little gadgets sit on your bedside table at home or on the go and block out ambient noise with soothing sounds to help you sleep. Some career travelers (often sleeping in noisy airport hotels) swear by them.
5. Do lower body stretches
These knocked me right out. Even only slightly and gently stretching out before bed will help slow down and focus on your body, as opposed to the thoughts that may be running rampant through your head. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
6. Take a bath
This is another common one. And I always thought it was just the relaxation of the muscles that induced sleep. It turns out that’s one side of the coin. The other half is the drop in body temperature that entices sleep after you get out of the tub.
7. Bring on the morning light
Wake up to plenty of light in the morning, and you’ll help reset your body’s natural clock, regulate your melatonin production, and in-turn help you fall asleep easier at night.
As always, consult your health professional if you are having severe problems sleeping. But if you’re looking for a quick tip or two that may help you get to sleep a little easier, and stay asleep a little longer, I hope you find at least one of these tips helpful.
Guest Blogger Matt