Stress, Netflix, and your smartphone can sometimes conspire against you, knocking you out of a solid sleep routine. Now, you may be suffering from a lack of sleep, and that fact is stressing you out even more.
Relax. Take a deep breath. Getting a good night’s sleep again will require more than one night. You will have to create and consistently follow healthy sleep habits that will lead you to sleep better, and it’s easy! Here’s a seven-day routine for you that starts with a simple declutter until it addresses more pressing concerns.
Day 1 – Organise and Declutter Your Room
Let’s start with something simple. Make your room enticing to sleep in! In a 2015 study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, researchers found that messy bedrooms directly impact sleep quality so clutter, trash, and other intrusive elements may be adding to your lack of sleep. Then, when sleep deprivation worsens, the risks of cognitive dysfunction and depression eventually follow. So, it makes sense to create the right sleep environment.
A well-organised bedroom induces healthy sleep, which is our goal for today. So start cleaning up any mess or clutter in your room (and it’s essential to keep the place clean from now on). Once you have a clean and orderly bedroom, you will have taken the first step towards healthy habits for good sleep.
Day 2 – Make Your Bed
Your bed is even more critical than your room. Even if you have a clean room but if your bed doesn’t meet your needs, then you will still end up with sleep problems. Data from a study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine revealed that common sleep issues such as back pain, shallow sleep, and stress-related symptoms were alleviated after subjects switched to new bedding systems.
Keep in mind that beds sag and deteriorate over time, which is why it’s crucial to update your mattress. Make choices based on your sleeping needs, as well. Consider your body temperature when you sleep and your sleeping position. Do you sleep on your side, back, or front? Are you a hot sleeper? These will dictate your choice of mattress and beddings and you don’t have to break the bank for a decent set.
Day 3 – Eat Right
You may think that nutrition may seem unrelated to your sleep quality, but actually, it matters quite a bit! Think about it; if coffee keeps you awake as a side effect, other foods have their own effects on your sleep cycle. Samantha Cassetty, a dietician, recommends walnuts in particular. Walnuts are abundant in tryptophan, magnesium, and melatonin, all of which facilitate calmness, muscle relaxation, and excellent sleep quality.
Aside from what food you eat, when you eat also matters. The Sleep Scientist, Sophie Bostock, suggests that eating signals the body to work and digest instead of sleep and rest since a person has a body clock that takes cues from the outside world. With this, you have to make sure that you eat at least two hours before bed if you don’t want your last meal to disrupt your internal clock.
Day 4 – Get Ready for Bed with a Warm Shower
Practicing relaxation techniques before going to bed will help you fall asleep faster, but there’s another sleep tip that may be just as effective: a warm bath. It has been proven by a 2019 research that a hot bath one or two hours before bed significantly makes you fall asleep faster.
The science lies in the temperature. Your body temperature drops as you sleep. To get it to drop sooner, you can jumpstart your body by taking a hot bath. The increased warmth relaxes your body and helps you ease down to the resting temperature.
Day 5 – Set Up Fixed Bedtimes and Wake up Times
If you want to sleep well and get enough hours of sleep, you can’t just sleep without a routine. Setting up a sleep schedule helps your body get accustomed to a designated rest time since it follows the internal circadian rhythm. In fact, a wellness practitioner, Dave Gibson, says that the brain works best inside a routine. So, with a sleep schedule, you can capitalise on your sleep-wake cycle and squeeze out every last drop of rest you can get.
Your body also completes much-needed sleep stages on a schedule. These sleep stages—REM sleep and NREM sleep—bring about optimal rest when finished. That’s why sleep interruptions feel disorienting because you wake up before you complete all the sleep stages. The schedule is meant to remedy that by assisting you in consistently completing all the sleep stages. You will then feel more rested as your body conforms to the schedule.
Day 6 – Get into the Details
The devil’s in the details! You can still optimise your sleep significantly by making a few minor changes. When added up, these changes can improve your rest even more. You simply need to address tiny sleep disruptors and introduce sleep inducers instead.
Sleep disruptors include bright light, blue light from your cellphone, loud noises, and inefficient naps. In turn, sleep inducers include blackout curtains, a gadget-free sleeping area, earplugs, and controlled naps. These sleep inducers correspondingly protect you from the mentioned disruptors.
Blackout curtains block external bright lights. Putting your mobile devices on a far table, or inside a bedside table with radiation protection, will keep blue light away from you. Earplugs may help with loud noises that may startle you; otherwise, playing white noise may help too. Lastly, controlled naps that take only 15, 30, or 90 minutes in the morning are the most rejuvenating snoozes without affecting your nightly bedtime.
Day 7 – Consult a Sleep Specialist or a Medical Professional
By now, you will have created and followed a great bedtime routine that may help you sleep better. However, sleep hygiene will only go so far. If you think you’re suffering from sleep disorders or mental health issues, please consult experts for help. They will know how to treat the underlying problem that is ultimately the root cause of your sleep problems.
Go Easy on Yourself and Adjust Gradually
Of course, everyone is different. Your sleep needs are different. With the steps you have learned here, you will be in a better position to address your own needs. No matter how long it takes, you will eventually sleep snugly and deeply as long as you form healthy habits.