Sleep. We all do it. We have been doing it. Can we improve it and make it better? Absolutely and this is an answer most of us would give. Sleep is one of the most important and underrated tools when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When we sleep, our brain and bodies are able to rest, repair and recover. When we wake up in the mornings, we feel energised and recharged. There is no doubt that the better we sleep, the better our bodies and minds can function. So why is hard for us to get that deep and restorative sleep that we need? When I don’t sleep well for one night, especially on Sunday and Monday nights, I’m going to feel it in my body for the next few days. I train four days a week, I know that my sessions are going to be brutal. Training intensely without getting the adequate quality sleep for an athlete can decrease athletic performance. While most of us crave getting that quality sleep every night, it’s not always easy for us to do so. Having busy schedules, mindless scrolling on social media apps, binge watching our favourite TV shows can make time flash like that in an instant. As I got older, I noticed that my ability to fall asleep easily changed and it has been frustrating at times. I had to make some changes to my evening routine as well as how I prepared my bedroom in order for me to improve my sleep. Luckily, these techniques have helped me create habits to improve my athletic performance as an athlete as well as mentally prepare me to start and get through my day. Here are six tips to help you get better sleep and discover solutions for any sleeping problems you may have.
Turn Down The Temperature To Fall Asleep
Sleeping in colder temperatures can help you fall asleep faster and deeper. Our bodies naturally decrease in temperature when we feel sleepy. Have you ever found it difficult to fall asleep in the heat or when you feel too hot in your blanket? When our bodies feel too hot, it makes it harder to fall into a deep sleep. I like to open my bedroom windows throughout the day, for all seasons, to keep the temperature down. Even when I feel like I need a nap during the day, my bedroom is ready for me to take a quick nap. If you wake up feeling hot and not well rested, this might be the solution that you are looking for.
Feel More Energised by Setting A Sleeping Schedule
As simple as it sounds, it isn’t always the easiest. However, it is very easy to sleep until midday and go to bed after midnight when you really want to finish the next episode of your TV show or finish watching a movie. If this happens to you, don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens to me at times. I have found that having a set bedtime and a set wake up for the weekdays and the weekends has helped me feel more energised the following day. I tend to be strict with my bedtime during the week and slightly flexible during the weekend, give or take a couple of hours. Having a regular sleeping pattern helps you fall to sleep better as your body knows that it is the right time to short down and work on repairing itself. Without having a regular sleeping pattern, you might find yourself falling asleep in the middle of the day as well as feeling less energised to do your daily tasks. I recommend trying this out for a month and see how much better you feel.
Avoid Screens Before Bed To Improve Sleep
Do you take your phone or your laptop to bed with you? Do you have a TV in your bedroom? Taking our screens and having technology in our bedrooms have become the norm but there are studies that indicate that the blue light from our devices can disrupt our sleeping patterns and delay the body’s production of melatonin (it helps us to fall asleep bettering). I have a no technology policy in my bedroom so I purposely didn’t put a TV in my room as well as don’t use my phone or laptop in the bedroom before bed. I only charge these devices in there but right next to the door which is not near my bed. I also like to switch my phone to night mode about an hour and half before I go to bed to help me get ready to go bed. If you usually use these devices before you go to bed, aim to replace them with a book or write in a journal.
Create A Evening Routine To Help Your Sleep Schedule
You may have a morning routine that helps you set the tone to your day. You may not do the same thing everyday but you may have set habits that are a must such as making your bed or drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Each of us have routines throughout the day that we may not be conscious of. I have mentioned my Healthy Morning Summer Routine before. However, having an evening routine may help you set an official end to your day so that you can prepare your body and your mind for a good night’s rest. Although I have found creating an evening routine slightly harder than a morning routine, when I do follow it I find that I don’t rush in the mornings and I don’t feel stressed. Some of the things that I like to do to prepare myself before bed are:
- Taking a shower – it helps with reducing my body temperature
- Doing my evening skincare routine
- A walk – it helps me fall asleep faster
- Reading a physical book
Try establishing an evening routine so your body will recognise these as a set of habits to end the day.
Decorate Your Bedroom Into A Sleep Sanctuary
I am a firm believer that each space of your home should represent something or serve a purpose to energise your mood and your mentality. Your home should be a symbol of peace, restoration and fun and this mindset also extends to my bedroom. I’m very particular in how I decorate my room. Creating my room into an oasis and a sleep sanctuary is one of the reasons it is not completely done yet. If your bedroom is a place that you do not like spending time in, you will have a hard time falling asleep in it. Fill your bedroom with plants to bring nature into your space, colours that bring you joy and peace, photos of your family and friends to represent the love and happiness in your life. Decorate your room with things that don’t bring you stress but make you want to curl up in bed and relax. Last year, I fell in love with candles. I have candle called Melanin Dreams in my bedroom and I can smell it from my bed without having to light it. It smells amazing. Try to create and organise your room into something that attracts you. That might help you improve your sleep more than you think.
Seeking Morning Light To Start Your Day
Morning has broken. This tip is one of the easiest things to do and it is as simple as opening the blinds. Although I wake up before the sun has risen, I like to open the blinds as soon as I wake up so the morning light can come in as I finish my meditations. Why does the sunlight wake us up in the morning? It is similar to the blue light from our devices that keep us awake when we try to fall asleep. Sunlight in the morning sets our body clocks for the day and signals that it is time to wake up. It’s the same thing as when you turn on the bathroom light to brush your teeth in the morning, the light has taken you out of your sleep and pushed you into the day. Though I prefer the morning light as it is not as harsh as the light inside my home. Try to open the blinds when you wake up in the mornings and see if this helps you not to fall asleep or stay in bed.
There you have it ladies (and gents)! Six tips and tricks to help you improve your sleep and fall asleep better. I would recommend trying out one or two of these at a time if you don’t already do them and track how they work for you. I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me. Please drop any other tips and tricks that work for you below. I would love this to be a resource for you and anyone else who wants to improve their sleep and live a healthier lifestyle.
Until next time,