If you have trouble falling asleep, you should try going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. It might be challenging, especially during weekends, but once you establish a routine, waking up early during the week becomes much easier. Humans are creatures of habit, so having a nice bedtime routine – a time for you to unwind, relax, and get ready for bed - is the first step to good quality sleep. You can pick out an outfit and pack your bag for the following day, have a nice, warm bath, listen to some music, set time to read a book… try out what works best for you and stick to it!
6 steps to improve sleep
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don't need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle.
If you don't fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you're tired. Repeat as needed.
2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don't go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.
Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
3. Create a restful environment
Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.
4. Limit daytime naps
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.
If you work nights, however, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.
5. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however.
Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.
6. Manage worries
Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.
Maybe it sounds like a lot of restrictions, hard to keep up with when you have a fully packed schedule and tight deadlines – but still, sleep should be a priority. You’ll be much more efficient finishing everything in your crowded schedule with a rested brain, good energy, and a positive attitude – not to mention that after a full night of sleep, those busy days will also feel better. Don’t you think it is worth sacrificing one thing in order to get proper rest? In the long run, it will bring you much more benefits and help you manage your time and tasks better. Good luck – and sleep well!