“I can’t sleep!”
Sleep troubles can be horrible, and not getting enough quality
sleep can result in fatigue and lost productivity during the day and restlessness
and frustration at night.
Sleep is actually a very complex process, and there are many
ways to optimize the conditions that can lead to a better night’s rest.
Here are some (not-so-obvious) tips to help you get a better
Get more daytime sunlight. According to
the National Sleep Foundation, getting more sunlight during the day regulates
our internal clocks, which helps us sleep better at night. Try getting just 20-30 minutes of early morning
and/or late afternoon sunlight every day.
cool. Consider turning down the thermostat at night (to about 65-68 degrees
if possible). A drop in core body temperature is
essential for a good sleep. Keeping the legs and feet warm and covered will
hold the heat in the extremities, while the core stays cool.
Exercise on a daily basis. Exerting more
energy while awake can help lead to a more restful sleep at night. Most types
of exercise will lead to a peak in core body temperature during the day. This will
encourage the very important cooler core at night!
hydrated. Water is very important for the sleep process that sends blood to
our skin and extremities, which ultimately leads to a cooler core. A cool core= better sleep. (Have we said that
all ready?!) Try to get most of your
water during the mid-day to early evening hours for the best effect.
Power down. Shut down all electronic devices about 1 hour
before bedtime, and try to dim the lights in your environment at home as well,
to help prepare your brain for bed. The
blue lights emitted by cell phones, computers, and televisions are not
conducive to sleeping! Use the blue light filter on your phone if you have one.
Avoid the urge to look at your phone or tablet if you awaken during the night.
6. Skip the afternoon pick-me-up: Did you know the half-life of caffeine is
about 5-6 hours? The effects of a cup of coffee in the afternoon will still be
there at night, when your body is trying to wind down for bed. Try a
decaffeinated beverage instead, or better yet—hydrate with water!
7. Alcohol is deceiving. Although alcohol
may initially cause sleepiness, it has very harmful effects on the quality of
our sleep, by prohibiting us from reaching the deep phases of sleep that are so
vital to a good rest. Try to avoid alcohol for three hours before bedtime,
especially if you tend to have frequent awakenings or restless nights.
8. Don’t just lay there. If you can’t
sleep after about 15-20 minutes, get out bed and do something that makes you
tired—like reading or listening to relaxing music. Staying in the bed can lead
to lots of frustration that will not help your cause and can lead to poor sleep
You will be surprised
how small changes can lead to big results. Give these tips a shot. Here’s to a
great night’s sleep!