I can honestly say that my sleeping pattern has improved dramatically over the last couple of months. I’ve found some great tips and tricks in books and on the internet I wanted to try out. So I’ve made some key changes in my sleeping habits and have noticed a great impact on my energy levels, focus, sleep quality and the time it actually takes to fall asleep (When I’m tired I fall asleep in under 5 minutes!)
So I decided to bundle these awesome tips in one post on how to sleep better! If you don’t want to hear me rambling about all that you can just skip to end where I’ve captured the essence and you can like it already! (and pretend you actually read it and how amazed you are by my exquisite writing skills ;))
So without further ado, here is how I ensure a deep, rejuvenating sleep cycle every night;
You’ve probably heard this one a million times before. But it’s still the truth. Caffeine staysMmm… coffeein your system a lot longer than you probably realize. I’ve heard plenty of people say “I just drink one or two cups of coffee a day, so that can’t be the cause of my sleeping problems.”
Well I believe you’re wrong. Caffeine is shown to stay in your body for quite some time and hereby disturb your beauty sleep profoundly (insert sad-face). So it’s best to avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and during nighttime.
“The results showed that consuming caffeine 3 and even 6 hours before bedtime significantly disrupts sleep – even when consumed 6 hours before bedtime, it reduced objectively measured total sleep time by more than 1 hour.” – Catharine Paddock PhD
Televisions, pc, cell-phones. Basically any monitor that radiates “blue” light will suppress the production of melatonin in your brain (which is more commonly known as the sleep hormone). This “blue” light has the same effect on our brains as the sun does. It tells our body that it’s still day-time and therefore blocks the production of melatonin. Because of this I’d recommend to remove tv’s and alarm clocks from your bedroom (make it completely dark or use a sleeping mask)
The bedroom should only be used to relax, sleep and have sex.
On your laptop there’s also a great way to convert this blue light into more soothing, melatonin friendly red light with a program called flux (free). This software will optimize the light emitted by your laptop. I definitely recommend you take a look at it!
Wash your Sheets!
Maybe you can’t fall asleep because you can’t breathe right (or the odor of your bed is to intoxicating ;).) Washing your sheets regularly removes all the dead skin cells and odors that have accumulated over your 8-hour battle with the firebreathing dragonlord in dreamland! If you’re still not convinced, just give it a try and I assure you’ll notice the difference. It’s recommended to wash your sheets at least once a week
(Ow and keep you pets of the bed unless you want to choke on a hairball while you are sleeping – true story)
Yeah, don’t eat that much before going to bed! Your body can’t come to rest if it still needs to process those triple cheesburgers with peanutbutter jelly cream you just devoured :/ Avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before bed or at least (try to) keep it light ;)
You should do the same for drinking water unless you want to be woken in the middle of the night for a bathroom break.
Eat To Improve Your Sleep
Yellow mustard contains a good dose of melatonin which makes falling asleep a whole lot easier! It’s highly concentrated and therefore one of the best things you can eat to induce sleep (Great with salmon and spinach or you can just gobble down a spoonful at once if you’re up to the challenge.)
Some other foods that are high in melatonin are walnuts, corn, rice and peanuts.
I have a blocked nose that constantly irritates me. You can’t fall asleep if you can’t breathe right? So I’ve found some really sweet tricks to clear my blocked nose so I can breathe clearly once again!
There is this cool method (which I use most of the time) which involved pinching your nose whilst exhaling and rocking your head back and forth. As demonstrated in this video;
Besides looking like a mentally handicapped this does work! So next time you have a blocked nose, do the retarded, nose pinching head shake and you’ll be good to go! This is probably the easiest and fastest way to clear out a blocked nose!
You can also use a lot of different methods like a neti pot, putting onions next to your bed, inhaling steam or putting a hot compress on your nose. But those aren’t as easy and convenient as the method demonstrated in the video.
Improve Sleep Pattern
Another reason you might have sleeping problems is because your body has no sleeping pattern (or it is far from ideal). There’s much been said upon sleeping patterns but the most ideal way to fall asleep faster is by forcing your body to wake up at the same time every day (yes, that includes holidays and weekends) your body will then adjust its sleeping pattern. It will realize that you only give it x amount of time to recover and it’ll adjust your bio-rhythm by becoming tired, sooner. (= sweet). This way you don’t have to toss and turn for half an hour before you actually start to drift away. When I’m tired I usually fall asleep in five minutes or less!
Also note that you should only go to bed when you are actually tired! There’s no point in lying in bed when you aren’t actually tired (just because you feel that you “should” be sleeping at a certain time.) A great test to check if you’re tired is by reading a book. If you can’t focus anymore on reading two pages in a row then it’s time to turn off the lights (and no sooner).
The “best” sleeping pattern would be the one of “free running sleep”
“There is only one formula for healthy and refreshing sleep: Go to sleep only when you are very tired. Not earlier. Not later. Wake up naturally without an alarm clock.”
By raising your body temperature you can dilate your arteries and thereby lowering your heart rate. Baths, showers and drinking warm beverages like warm milk or tea are great to induce sleep!
It is also recommended to keep you room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 24° Celsius). But I would recommend to pick a room temperature that feels comfortable for you. So nice and warm in the winter and cool in the summertime. Whatever you like.
Skip on alcohol altogether since it can cause sleep apnea and suppress breathing during the night. You might think that drinking a “night cap” helps you sleep better but this is only true in the short term (as sleep inducer.) In the long term it is rather disruptive to your sleeping pattern because you tend to sleep longer and your body isn’t really “resting” since it still has to process the alcohol.
Listen To Music
Listening to some music can help you to relax your mind. It helps clear out all those thoughts and decrease brain activity (if you have any ;)). I mostly listen to some piano music and other tunes like;
Dj Shah – Mellomaniac, Airstream – Electra or pretty much any Deep House Playlist!
I’m also going to mention Marconi Union – Weightless , since it’s proven to be the “most relaxing” song ever. But I tend to like harmonic music over ambient music and that’s why I personally don’t really like it.
Listening to music is also a great way to block out annoying noises that keep you up at night (cars passing by, dripping faucets, crying babies or snoring husbands.) You could also sleep with ear plugs but personally I’ve found those ineffective.
Physical exertion will make sure that your energy reserves for the day are depleted and your body will want to recover.
Clean your room!
I always say that a cluttered environment creates a cluttered mind. When you have to much stuff to worry about, your brain can’t possibly come to a rest. So make sure you don’t create any extra problems and handle those small details like cleaning your room. It’s also a great idea to vacuum regularly since dust and allergens can build up over time and mess with your breathing.
And last but not least…
Sex (Lots Of It!)
Yeah, a great way to totally relax your body is by having an orgasm (or more) and overloading your brain with Oxytocin! Find yourself a good girl/man to satisfy your needs (Note that it is best to not overdo this since it might drain your energy for the next day)
So those were all my tips for improving your sleep. If you find yourself to be sleepy during the day because you still need to get used to the new sleeping pattern, you can always resort to power-naps! These will give you a quick burst of energy so you can make it through the day (but don’t go over 25 minutes) I’ve included some more tips on staying awake in an earlier post, titled “How to stay awake” (+10 originality points!) Anyway, here’s a quick re-cap of all my tips;
- Limit caffeine,
- Optimize lighting,
- Eat small meals,
- Limit water
- Wash sheets
- No pets on the bed
- Eat smart
- Clear nose
- Establish better sleeping pattern
- Increase body temperature
- Cut alcohol
- Listen to music
- Clean Room!
All right that’s quite some tips on how to sleep better! Go apply them TODAY!
If you still experience sleeping problems after you’ve applied all these tips, you are pretty much doomed to stay awake forever.
No night-night for you :/
Anyways, if you are having any thoughts or questions on this topic, feel free to share those with me in the comment section below. Let me know if it worked!
Take care & Sweet dreams