Today is Public Sleeping Day, but not everyone can nod off on a park bench with ease. For many of us, even falling asleep in the comfort of our own beds can be a chore. These 10 sleep tips will help you fall asleep faster and benefit more from your precious shuteye.
1. Establish a bedtime ritual
Because we are creatures of habit, a nighttime ritual is the best way to tell your body and brain that it's time to sleep. Try hitting the sheets around the same time every night and waking up at the same hour each morning, even on weekends. Avoid TV and computer use during the last couple of hours leading up to bedtime—try reading or taking a bath to promote better relaxation.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Coffee and tea are no-brainers; avoid them after lunchtime. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep at first, but after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, disrupting your quality of sleep.
3. “Sleepify” your bedroom
Your sleep environment should be cave-like: cool, dark, and quiet. Make your bedroom an oasis by adding blackout curtains, warm blankets, and a white noise machine.
4. Watch when you eat
Digestion takes energy, so make sure to finish your last meal a couple of hours before you plan on sleeping.
5. Exercise daily—but not too late
Regular exercise wears you out in the best way possible, allowing you to sleep more restfully. However, it also stimulates the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, so it is important to plan vigorous workouts earlier in the day.
6. If you can't sleep, leave the room
Your bedroom should be associated with falling asleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning, remove yourself from the room for awhile and relax with a book in a different (but still calm) environment.
7. Use relaxation techniques
Laying on your back with your eyes closed, begin to take deep, soothing breaths. Slowly, starting with your toes, relax your muscles one by one. Be mindful of each individual part of your body as you move upwards and sink into the mattress, eventually reaching your head. This technique is a fantastic way to relax your entire body and quiet the mind.
8. Nap with caution
Naps may feel nice, but they can ruin your sleep later in the day. If you simply can't remove that quick desktop snooze from your schedule, make it a power nap—no more than 15 minutes—and take it earlier rather than later.
9. “Light up” your body clock
As soon as possible after waking up, expose yourself to sunlight. Natural light regulates our internal clocks, so try to get some sun exposure during the workday, too.
10. Take Royal Sleep
Pharmaceutical sleep medications can be dangerous and habit-forming. The Healthy Protocol, LLC's Royal Sleep is a natural herbal and melatonin supplement providing all the benefits of a sleeping pill without the addictive chemicals. It uses a proprietary liposomal system to deliver benefits within 60 seconds, combining three traditional sleep aids:
Passion flower, used traditionally in the Americas for anxiety, insomnia, and seizures
Valerian root, a natural sedative and anxiolytic
Melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone.