You probably know what it’s like to be wide awake in the middle of the night. You search for something to make you drowsy, so you can function the next day.
What’s more puzzling is when you feel tired, but you’re unable to sleep. You could hardly keep your eyes open when you went to bed, but now you’re watching the hours tick by. It’s actually a common experience that can have many causes.
Figure out what’s keeping you up at night. Use these tips to help you get the sleep you need.
Tips for Winding Down in the Evening
It can be difficult to switch off at night when you’ve been rushing around during the day.
Give your body and mind a chance to slow down with these tips:
1. Limit screen time. The average American spends more than 7 hours looking at screens each day. Turn off your devices at least 2 hours before bed to avoid the bright lights and mental stimulation.
2. Disconnect from work. Just the expectation to be available outside of office hours can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Set healthy boundaries, especially if you work from home.
3. Exercise earlier. Working out close to bedtime can disrupt sleep for some adults. Physical activity is still beneficial, so visit the gym before work to see if it makes a difference.
4. Eat light. Give your body a break from digesting heavy or spicy foods. If you want a snack, try fruit or a little unsweetened cereal.
5. Take a bath. Soaking in warm water is a natural and effective way to promote sleep. It’s easier to nod off as your body temperature rises and then falls.
Tips for Maintaining a Regular Schedule
Your circadian rhythms are like an internal clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycles. Understanding your individual patterns can help you minimize disruptions.
Practice these strategies:
1. Wake up early. Knowing you have to get up early can help you resist the temptation to binge watch TV or play video games until the late hours. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
2. Skip the snooze button. Those extra 10 minutes just make you groggier. They’re actually throwing off your sleep cycle, so hop out of bed quickly.
3. Plan ahead. What about holidays, business trips, and ordinary weekends? Stick to your schedule as much as possible. If you want to lie in a little, keep it to less than an hour.
4. Nap strategically. Daytime sleep works for some but not others. If you nap, do it early in the day, and keep it under 30 minutes.
Other Tips for More Restful Sleep
More than 35% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep each night, according to the CDC. Taking extra steps can help protect your physical and mental health.
Keep these ideas in mind:
1. Cut back on caffeine. Have your last cup of coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed. Drink plain water or herbal tea instead.
2. Upgrade your bedding. Your old mattress may be sagging or giving you allergies. Rotate it regularly and replace it at least every 8 years. Choose sheets made with natural fibers that wick away perspiration.
3. Block out noise. Do you live near heavy traffic or rowdy neighbors? Use a fan or pink noise machine to block out the sounds.
4. Think positive. Create soothing evening rituals that help you to put aside daily stress. Do restorative, relaxing exercises, or work on your hobbies. If you need more help with anxiety or depression, ask your doctor to recommend a therapist.
Feeling tired doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to fall asleep. Changing your lifestyle can help you relieve insomnia and enjoy greater health and happiness.