You’ve heard it time and time again, I’m sure. You need to get more sleep. Sleep is important. And you may have shrugged such comments off, as many people do. You may feel that you’re functioning just fine with the amount of sleep you’re getting. But, of course, there’s a big difference between functioning just fine and functioning at your full potential. If you haven’t had a period of consistently good, long sleep, then you probably haven’t felt the difference!
I’m not going to tell you that you need eight hours of sleep. That number gets thrown around a lot, but the actual science behind it is a little shaky. It’s true that adults generally need somewhere between seven to nine hours sleep a night. But some people do function perfectly well with less. Everyone is different in this area.
The most important thing is that you get the sleep you need. More than the length of your sleep, we’ll be concentrating on improving the quality of your sleep.
Turn your darn phone off!
Artificial light before bed isn’t doing you any favours. People are often on their computers until night has well and truly fallen. And when they get into bed, they’ll spend a little time on their smartphone before putting it away and resting. All this is keeping your brain in a low-level hyperactive state. Not what you need when you’re trying to sleep!
Keep clear of sleep-disrupting substances
Nicotine. Alcohol. Caffeine. These things coursing through your veins while you’re in bed is going to disturb you throughout the night, even if you don’t realise it. Of course, people who are addicted to nicotine may feel otherwise. But that’s your addiction speaking. Start quitting!
Be consistent and get rid of those bad habits
Don’t sleep in. It’s not good for you. It’s a bad habit, just like biting your nails or hair twirling. The key to getting consistently good sleep is to be consistent. (And no, this doesn’t mean consistently sleeping in.) When you sleep in, you’re wreaking havoc with the average number of hours of sleep a night you get in a given week. You should be waking up at a similar time every day. The time you wake up on weekends shouldn’t be much different to the time you wake up on weekdays. If you’ve woken up, your body is probably telling you it’s gotten the sleep it’s going to get. So just get up!
Make sure you’re comfortable
This sounds like too obvious a suggestion, at first. But so many out there are trying to sleep in uncomfortable environments every night. The most common problems here are the quality of the bed and the temperature of the room. A lot of people own cheaply-made cage sprung mattresses. If it’s a low-quality bed, you’ll eventually feel the negative effects on your sleep. It’s not going to do your back any good, either! Consider looking into a different type of mattress. Read up on the different types, starting with a guide to pocket sprung mattresses. As for the room temperature, you should be making sure the room isn’t too hot or too cold. Heat is actually more likely to disrupt your sleep, so keep it cool.
Sound-proof your room
Perhaps your problem is due to noise. If you have thin walls, then noise is going to carry easily throughout the house. There’s also the outside world to consider, if you live in a busy area. If this is your problem, consider taking steps to soundproofing your room. It may sound expensive, but there are loads of cheap ways to make a difference to noise bleeding in your home.
Consider keeping a sleep diary
Getting to know your sleep patterns could be key to understanding what kind of sleep you’re getting. Get a notepad and try to track the details of your sleep as much as possible. When did you go to bed? Do you remember how long it took you to fall asleep? Did you wake up a lot in the night? If you did, what do you remember feeling? What time did you wake up? Keeping notes like this will be very useful, especially if you’re forced to move onto the next option…
See a doctor if the problems are persistent
Many people see the doctor as a last resort. This is because it seems rather extreme. But you shouldn’t see it this way. After all, persistent trouble sleeping could be related to a medical problem! There is always the possibility that you will be prescribed a sleeping aid, which does make some people uncomfortable. But this isn’t always the case. Speak to your doctor and see what diagnostic measures or solutions you can both reach.