n many respects, the quality of your slumber dictates the type of day you’ll have. For example, if you’re able to get a good night’s rest, you can face the day ahead with a clear mind, positive outlook and abundant energy. On the flipside, if your nightly respite leaves a lot to be desired, you’re liable to have trouble functioning at home, at work and in public settings. Fortunately, improving sleep quality doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. By putting the following pointers to good use, you can set the stage for countless nights of first-rate slumber.
Give Yourself a Bedtime
As children, many of us hated having designated bedtimes. More often than not, having bedtimes entailed going to sleep before we were truly tired. Furthermore, childhood bedtimes generally involve ending each day on someone else’s terms. Still, as resistant to bedtimes as many of us were as children, they helped provide a sense of structure and ensured that we were well-rested for the day ahead.
Unsurprisingly, many adults don’t assign themselves bedtimes. Although most of us have a general window in which we end our days, designated bedtimes are far from the norm for grownups. However, the absence of a set bedtime also means inconsistent sleep habits. Whereas you may get plenty of rest some days, you may find yourself completely bereft of energy on others. If this is a fair assessment of your current sleep schedule, you’d do well to assign yourself a bedtime.
For those of us who have grown accustomed to going to sleep at inconsistent times, the introduction of a set bedtime is liable to take some adjustment. However, after a few weeks of hitting the hay at a predetermined time, your internal clock will adjust, and you’ll naturally start getting tired as your bedtime approaches. For good measure, try sticking to this bedtime on weekends – at least during the adjustment phase. Furthermore, make an effort to get up at the same time each day.
Engage in Relaxing Activities
Once you’ve decided on a suitable bedtime, you’d do well to start engaging in relaxing activities in the leadup to hitting the sack. About an hour before you turn in, shut off your various screens and do things that relax both your mind and body. Such activities include reading, journaling, deep breathing exercises and meditation. Unsurprisingly, you should avoid playing around on your phone, laptop or any other devices while in bed, as activities of this nature serve to keep your mind active and alert when it should be winding down for the day.
Be Mindful of Caffeine Consumption
Many people rely on caffeine to help themselves fully wake up and function throughout the day. However, the effects of caffeine can be a double-edged sword, particularly during the overnight hours. Since caffeine is able to stay elevated in your blood between six and eight hours, it’s generally a good idea to cease caffeine consumption after lunch.
If you’ve grown accustomed to consuming caffeine at all hours, you may go through an adjustment and/or withdrawal phase, but this minor inconvenience stands to do wonders for your sleep quality. Additionally, if you frequently have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, excessive caffeine intake may be the culprit.
Seek Mental Health Assistance
Some sleep issues stem directly from mental health problems, including excessive stress and past trauma. If you suspect mental health is playing a role in your troubled slumber, you’d do well to speak to a seasoned therapist, counselor or physician. The right person will help you get to the bottom of the problem and work with you on developing a manageable treatment plan, which may include prescribing depression medication.
Sleep quality should never be regarded as an afterthought. How well you sleep plays a large role in determining how well you’ll be able to handle the day ahead. In the absence of proper slumber, basic functionality is liable to seem like an enormous hurdle. As such, if your general sleep quality leaves a lot to be desired, you’d do well to nip this issue in the bud. The sooner you correct sleep problems, the sooner you can start enjoying the benefits of a peaceful night’s slumber.