At one point in time or another, we’ve all suffered through a night of restlessness; a night in which are body refuses to go to sleep and we are left feeling groggy and tired the following day. As sleep is vital for us to survive and function properly in our day-to-day lives, it’s of the utmost importance that we all get the necessary rest every night. Counting sheep may be the way we’ve been told to trick ourselves into a slumber since childhood, but in reality, counting sheep rarely does the trick in sending us off into the cycles of sleep. So for those of you who suffer from periodic nights of insomnia, or recurring insomnia, here are 10 tips to try.
1. Love the lavender.
Spraying lavender scented spray on your pillow or turning on an Aromatherapy dispenser with lavender scent in your bedroom before heading to bed can actually increase the speed at which you fall asleep, since lavender has been a scent proven to relax humans. It calms and soothes our minds, which in turn, can send signals to our bodies to let them know it is time to turn in for the day.
2. Stick to the same schedule.
In college, especially, it can be difficult to stick to a routine when it comes to going to bed at the same time everyday and waking up around the same time everyday, too. However, it has been scientifically proved that following a fairly routine schedule when it comes to your sleep has far-reaching benefits. Don’t underestimate the power of a good routine.
3. Disconnect the devices.
We’ve all been guilty of staring at a bright screen before bed, whether it’s our phone screen, laptop screen, or Kindle screen. However, staring at these bright screens has a similar effect on our bodies as does sunlight. Our bodies are trained to associate bright lights with waking up, as sunrise designates the beginning of the day for most of us. However, when we are going to bed, we do not want our bodies to be experience a sense that our day is beginning; rather, we want our bodies to feel like our day is ending and it is time to now recharge. So, for a better night’s sleep, avoid using your electronic devices right before bed.
4. Exercise more.
Exercising at some point during the day actually can have an immense effect on how you sleep, and the rate at which you pass out. If you do not use enough of the energy your body has throughout your day, you may be finding it particularly challenging to fall asleep and are likely finding yourself feeling restless, instead. Find a way to build a daily workout into your schedule, and I promise you, you’ll feel a lot more tired when it finally is time to hit the mattress.
5. Eat a smaller supper.
Since our bodies need to digest our meals, eating a large and heavy supper can spawn issues when it comes to falling asleep at night. Our bodies can certainly digest food, but it’s not a speedy process and heavy foods can be more difficult and time-consuming for our bodies to fully digest. So, for a good night of rest, try to stick with a lighter, smaller-portioned supper.
4. Invest in an oscillating fan.
I always have a fan blowing air around the room in which I sleep — in fact, I can hardly sleep if I don’t have one. Having a fan oscillating and blowing cool air around the room as I sleep provides me with a calming breeze. More importantly, though, it keeps me cool and comfortable throughout the night and prevents the “stuffy” sensation I always seem to feel without a fan around.
5. Be aware of noise exposure.
I’ve always been a person who can fall asleep anywhere and everywhere; regardless of the noise around me. However, the majority of people have difficulty falling asleep when even the faintest of noises is present. If there is a repetitive noise, such as a battery-dead fire alarm beep or a pesky tree branch brushing up against a bedroom window, it’s even more challenging to drift off. So do your best to be aware of the noise around you before you hop into bed and do what you can to eliminate the noises you know will bother you once you’re in bed. At a last resort for sleeping in a perpetually loud area, ear canceling headphones or ear plugs may be your best bet if you want a sound night of sleep.
6. Keep a diary/journal.
A lot of times if you’re feeling restless when trying to fall asleep, the root of the problem may be that you’re feeling anxious, nervous, or frustrated. Expressing your feelings, even with just a pen and paper, can make an enormous difference in your ability to the fall asleep. In a way, it’s sort of like figuratively releasing the weights hanging on your shoulders by placing them in a diary or journal of some sort.
We all know that classical music has been used to relax people for centuries; however, any sort of music that you find relaxing, classical included, can be useful when it comes to drifting you off into dreamland. If you want to listen to music to fall asleep, see if you can set your electronic device that is playing your music of choice to a timer so that the music will stop playing after a certain amount of time (and presumably, you’ll be asleep by then).
8. Tea or milk.
Drinking a calming beverage like warm herbal tea or lukewarm milk can be a great way to sort of cleanse and relax your digestive system before you hit the hay. If your body is feeling soothed, chances are your mind will be, too, and you’ll have that much easier of a time when going to bed.
9. Limit daily caffeine consumption.
Drinking too much coffee or soda during the day can really cause an issue when it comes to falling asleep at night. Your brain will be running a thousand miles an hour, even though you know logically that your mind should be shutting down by 11pm or midnight. Your best bet, if you’re a coffee lover like me, will be to drink 1 or 2 cups in the morning hours or early afternoon, and stop yourself there so that come bedtime, you’re not tossing and turning.
10. Cut down on napping.
Taking a nap is sometimes entirely necessary and can be a great way to catch up on lost sleep if you had a late night the day before. However, taking too many naps or too long of naps can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep when bedtime finally rolls around. Additionally, don’t take naps too late in the day. In fact, a scientific study found that the latest you would want to finish up a nap is about five hours before you go to bed for the day; if there’s less than a five hour gap between your nap and bedtime, then you run the risk of having trouble falling asleep.