1) Comfort Is King
Being comfortable might be the number one prerequisite for falling asleep. Consider how much of your life you spend in bed: up to a third of it. Doesn’t it make sense to invest in quality sleeping arrangements? You’ll sleep better if you have a mattress with good support, comfortable pillows, and soft bedsheets. Read these Nectar’s mattress satisfaction statistics. If you like to wear pajamas, make sure they’re loose, breathable, and soft on your skin. If you struggle to fall asleep, experiment with different positions. What you’re looking for is a pose where you can relax every part of your body. If you experience problems with clogged airways, heartburn, or pins and needles, try sleeping on your left side. Experts say this position helps with all of those issues.
2) Give Yourself Time To Digest
The human body is built for upright digestion. If you lie down immediately after eating, you run the risk of experiencing heartburn, stomachache, and acid reflux. This can make it difficult or impossible to sleep peacefully. Whenever possible, give yourself at least three hours between your last food intake and bedtime. Sometimes hunger can get in the way of falling asleep, though. If you need a late-night snack, steer clear of hard-to-digest foods with lots of fat and protein. Try lighter fare like oatmeal, sugar-free cereal, or a piece of fruit.
3) Cut Off Caffeine
For many people, caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee are constant companions. There’s nothing wrong with this — until it starts interfering with your sleep schedule. Caffeine is a long-lasting stimulant. Although half of its effect wears off within five hours, the last bits of energy can last up to 14 hours. To protect yourself from an unwanted caffeine rush in the evening, cut yourself off from caffeinated beverages at least six hours before you go to sleep. For the best sleep (and your overall health), wean yourself down to a modest caffeine intake taken exclusively in the morning.
4) Be Careful With Electronic Screens
Melatonin is the hormone that tells our body to get sleepy. Exposure to light stops the body from releasing melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Light on the blue end of the spectrum is particularly good at blocking melatonin. Unfortunately for modern humans, blue light is exactly the kind emitted by electronic screens — TVs, computers, tablets, and phones. Improve your sleep situation by avoiding screens for at least an hour before you turn in. If you must use a device close to bedtime, look into options for cutting down on blue light. There are physical filters available for many screens, and an increasing number of devices have a “night mode” that minimizes their blue light emissions.
5) Be Sober For Better Sleep
Although alcohol is a depressant and thus effective for making you drowsy, drinking before bedtime isn’t a good idea. If your body is busy metabolizing alcohol in bed, the later stages of the process can disrupt your sleep cycle and rob you of precious REM sleep. A drink or two in the early evening is perfectly fine; just make sure you have a few hours to get the metabolization process well on its way before you go to bed. Resist the temptation to indulge in a nightcap right before turning in; medical studies have established that this is an unhealthy way to fall asleep.
6) Don’t Make Your Bedroom A Multipurpose Space
There’s some significant research suggesting that falling asleep is harder if you accustom yourself to doing a lot of different things in the same bedroom space. Working, playing, watching screens, texting, talking on the phone — all of these varied stimuli will condition your brain to think of your bedroom as a place where it has to be ready for anything. If, on the other hand, you use your bedroom exclusively for sleep (and sex), your brain will form healthier associations and think of your bed as a place where rest and relaxation happen. Once you start to subconsciously think of your bedroom as a restful sanctuary dedicated exclusively to sleep, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you drop off at night!