Is getting better sleep one of your New Year’s resolutions? It may be easier to do if you adopt a few simple and practical habits.
Read on to learn seven practical tips that may help you sleep better this year, starting tonight.
1. Upgrade your mattress
Trade in your worn, hand-me-down mattress for a new one tailored to your specific back needs. If you want to test out a variety of mattress types before making a purchase, ask friends or family members if you can try their mattress for a night to find out what kind of mattress your back prefers.
2. Use a sound machine
Add white noise or soothing sounds to help block out the city noise or to create a more restful atmosphere in your bedroom. You can buy a sound machine or use your phone to download one of several free apps that offer a wide range of soundscapes.
3. Use a “smart” alarm clock app
Download an app on your phone that can analyze your sleep patterns and wake you up in the lightest stage of sleep within a time period you set (for example, between 6 am and 6:30 am). You may get a few minutes less sleep than before, but because you avoid being disturbed mid-cycle, you may feel more refreshed.
4. Switch to decaf or water in the afternoon
Caffeine circulates in your system for several hours after consumption, and it blocks the chemicals that tell your brain you are sleepy. Replace your mid-afternoon coffee, soda, or energy drink with decaffeinated tea or water. This simple switch can set you up for better sleep.
5. Cut back on alcohol consumption
Alcohol is a sedative; it makes you feel sleepy but it does not help you get good sleep. In fact it has been shown to disrupt continuous REM sleep. The only way to completely avoid the negative sleep effects of alcohol is to avoid drinking it.
6. Buy a heated blanket with an automatic shut-off option
If you are too cold to fall asleep, yet do not want to wake up overheated in the middle of the night, you can purchase a heated blanket that includes an automatic shut-off feature. This blanket may help you find enough comfort to fall asleep, and it conveniently stops producing heat at a preset time.
7. Dim the lights
Your bedside lamp, overhead light, and tablet device all emit a glow that delays the natural nighttime release of melatonin in your brain. At night, dim the lights low or light a candle.
Give these tips a try, and see if you find more refreshing and restorative sleep in the new year.