If getting eight hours of shut-eye is all you can dream about, then it’s time to finally win the war against energy-zapping, sleepless nights. It’s a no brainer that sleep is necessary to avoid health risks, but few realize that hitting the sack is a lot easier said than done. Here are seven tips for a better night’s sleep that will have you saying “goodnight” as soon as you’re done reading.
Evaluate the mattress
Have you been waking up with endless aches every morning? Even if you give yourself eight hours of sleep, the wrong mattress can leave you feeling like you’ve had a wrestling match and lost. According to Dr. Bert Jacobson of the Better Sleep Council, any mattress that’s seven years old should be replaced. Does your neck feel like it’s ready to snap in two? Toss aside those flat pillows every year for new ones that provide better support.
Keep a journal
Most people resort to counting sheep because daily frustrations haunt them every evening. Many experts agree that the best way to handle stress is by jotting down everything that’s on your mind. Once you’re done, forget about your troubles, at least for the rest of the night. You’ll feel more at ease, resulting in less stress and more time to sleep.
Set the mood
There are countless devices in our lives that distract us, so it’s no surprise that many are in our bedrooms. Catch up on z’s and make sure that all electronics are out. Keep your room dark with heavy shades so that rays of light won’t wake you. Take a warm bath to relieve tension from the day. And if you really need that alarm clock, take it down a notch so that it’s loud enough to wake you without unnecessary shock.
Cut the caffeine
While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many just can’t be without java after dinner. “Caffeine can stay in your body for six hours, so this means more than just ‘no coffee before bed,'” explains psychologist Elizabeth R. Lombardo. Drink non-caffeinated chamomile tea instead.
Create a sleep schedule
We have enough reminders during the day to keep us in check, but creating a sleep schedule will better train your body to rest at an appropriate time. “Sure, you are no longer three, but having a set bedtime is good for you,” says Lombardo. “Some of my clients even set a soothing alarm to remind them it is time to get to sleep.”
Avoid late workouts
Exercising can tire you out, but putting your body into action right before sleeping can spark up unwanted energy. Make exercise part of a healthier lifestyle, but avoid hitting the gym right before the sheets.
Get toasty toes
When it’s time to sleep, keep cozy with socks. This will prevent waking up in the middle of the night trying to stay warm. The key is making your bedtime experience as comfortable and relaxing as possible so that the body can easily wind down without disruption.