Sometimes falling asleep (and staying asleep!) can be a lot more difficult than you would think. It's normal! With the constant rush of thoughts running through our brains, shutting down is not always a walk in the park. However, because a good night's rest is so imperatively important to functioning well during the day, we've compiled a list of seven ways to get a better night's sleep for you below. You might not realize that some of your longtime habits (checking your Facebook before bed, having that 5 PM coffee, and working from your laptop while under the sheets...) might be preventing you from catching those Zzzz's.
1. Dim the Lights
Source: Preservation Properties
Lowering the lights in your home a couple hours before your bedtime actually causes the brain to produce melatonin, which works out nicely considering that it's the hormone that eventually leads to you falling asleep.
2. Turn the Clock Around
Ever find yourself waking up several times throughout the night (and early morning) to see what time it is? Train yourself not to do that by turning your alarm clock away from you. Not only will it get you some extra sleep, but it will keep your mind from worrying about how much time you have left before you have to wake up.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise really is the key to everything, including sleep! Just don't go for a late night jog too close to your bedtime, as the after-workout energy might end up keeping your awake. Regular exercise earlier in the day, however, will help you fall asleep more quickly and stay rested throughout the night.
4. Switch to Decaf
You might need caffeine to get your day started (who can say "no" to a freshly brewed morning cup of coffee!?), but once the early afternoon rolls around, it's time to switch to decaf or herbal teas. Caffeine can stay in the system long after you've downed your beverage, so keep that in mind before ordering up espresso shots after work.
5. Get on a Sleep Schedule
Source: Morris Psych
Try your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, both during the week and the weekend. Getting on a regular sleep schedule helps train your body into knowing when it's time to shutdown for the day. An added bonus? Waking up also becomes a lot easier as well!
6. Make Your Bed a Space of Relaxation
Working in bed is a major no-no. Try your best to keep any work-related activities out of the bedroom. If you begin associating your bed with work, then chances are you're going to have a harder time falling and staying asleep.
7. Unplug from Technology
Source: Product Boy
Many TVs, computers, cellphones, and iPads all emit a blue-light from their displays that have actually been linked to waking up the brain. About an hour before you want to hit the hay, turn off (or put away) all these devices for a better night's sleep! I know, I know...