Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.
Not getting enough sleep? Here are 15 tips to help you get the best sleep ever. We think you'll be surprised at some of the ways you can improve your slumber!
Stick to a schedule
A change in routine could throw your whole sleep schedule out of whack, says a 2010 sleep study. Avoid insomnia by sticking to the same schedule for both bedtime and wake-up.
Skip the caffeine
Of course you know to skip coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the evening, but did you know that even a late afternoon latte can keep you up at night? Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. to eliminate bedtime brain buzz.
Just say no to alcohol
A glass of wine before bed will help you sleep, right? Actually, no. a May 2011 study showed alcohol may disrupt sleep cycles. If you're going to imbibe, do it early in the evening and in moderation.
If you've ever had a late workout then tried to fall asleep immediately afterward, you know it's hard to settle down when your body and mind are all revved up. Schedule your exercise for mornings and afternoons instead.
Warm milk at bedtime
A nice warm glass of milk at bedtime is a soothing ritual and has the added benefit of delivering a dose of sleep-inducing tryptophan. Make it a small glass so you don't have to wake up for a potty break!
If you haven't kicked the habit, avoid nicotine in the evening. It's a stimulant just like caffeine.
Turn off the tech
It may not be easy, but turning off the Wii, iPad and other tech devices will help you relax before bedtime. According to Allison Harvey, professor of sleep and psychology at University of California, Berkley, nighttime use of interactive technology can lead to insomnia. Harvey says the light from screens can mess with the body’s circadian rhythm, resulting in sleep disruption. Give yourself at least one hour without technology to unwind before bedtime and stop waking up and checking your iPhone at all hours of the night!
Studies show that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 65 and 72 degrees F. According to Craig Heller, Ph.D., professor of biology at Stanford University, “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down.” Heller says the specific temperature varies from person to person and should be set based on what feels comfortable.
Dim and darken
Give your body and mind the signal that it's time to wind down by dimming the lights before bed and making your room completely dark when it's time to get some zzz's.
Block out noise
There's nothing worse than listening to jarring noises when you're trying to sleep. If noise is interfering with your slumber, try earplugs or a white noise machine.
Comfort is key
Do you look forward to snuggling into your cozy bed at the end of the day? If not, invest in a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding to help you drift off to dreamland.
Still your monkey mind by unwinding with some deep breathing exercises or a little meditative yoga before bedtime.
Don't be a clock watcher
If you wake in the night, try not to look at the clock. Staring at those glowing numbers makes it harder to get back to sleep.
Wake to natural sunlight
Installing black-out shades might not be the best idea after all. Waking to natural sunlight helps regulate your melatonin and keep your internal clock on schedule.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body clock. As we age, our bodies produce less melatonin. Talk to your doctor about taking a melatonin supplement to help with insomnia.