Slumber Tricks: 8 Ways to Catch Better Z's
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol will put you to sleep for a short time, but leave you sleepless a few hours later. Caffeine’s effects last long after you consume, meaning even your afternoon latte could prevent you from getting enough shuteye come nightfall. If you can’t avoid these, at least avoid them in the evening whenever possible.
Reserve Your Room for ‘SoS’
Sleep or sex. These are the only things you should be doing in your bedroom if you want it to be a restful. Remove the television, ban the laptop and resist using cell phones as alarm clocks if you can’t fight the urge to stay off of them.
Create a Blackout
Darkness promotes good sleep, so invest in curtains that create a blackout effect so you aren’t forced to drift off to the sight of the neighbor’s high-wattage Christmas decorations or wake as soon as the sun slivers over the horizon. Keep lights off at night and shut your bedroom door so no other light can be seen.
Prepare Your Bed for Sleep
Having a comfortable mattress and bedding are key to sleeping well. You can check out dozens of mattress options online to find the one that best fits your personal needs. For bedding, go feel the different fibers of sheets such as Egyptian cotton, cotton-polyester blends, jersey and silk. New pillows — less than two years old — are essential since they offer more support and won’t contain allergens that can be found in used ones.
Don’t Save Exercise for Last
Getting your exercise done by 7 p.m., presuming you don’t go to bed before 10 p.m., will sufficiently tire you so you can sleep soundly. Just remember to avoid exercising within two hours of sleeping or else your “workout high” will interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Get a Good Soak
A leisurely bath will soothe your tired muscles and help lower your temperature, which will tell your body that it’s time for bed. Add a drop or two of lavender oil for added relaxation.
Eat a Protein-Rich Snack
Enjoy a piece of lunch meat and slice of cheese or a glass of milk and some nuts to give your body some sleep-inducing protein. One of the amino acids in milk promotes the production of melatonin and serotonin, two hormones that are needed to get high-quality sleep.
Get there by 10, No Excuses!
Psychology Today notes that practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, believe that the two hours between 10 p.m. and midnight are the most valuable and one of these hours is equal to two hours of sleep later in the night.
Pick a few of these tips to start with and follow them regularly. As you have time, add in more until you feel like you’re getting the amazing sleep your body so desperately craves.