The all important beauty sleep. And it literally is that – weight gain, dark circles, eye bags, bloodshot eyes and dull skin are results of lack of sleep. Not to mention your bad mood, tired body and grumpy attitude – not pretty for anyone.
Here are some tips to getting a better night’s rest, that will never prompt the comment, “you look really tired today.” I mean seriously, what do you say to something like that?! (Although, if sleep really is a problem, you should go to a doctor.)
1. Regular sleeping hours.
Try sleeping and getting up around the same time each day, creating a healthy sleep cycle. Eventually, your body will become conditioned to unwind and sleep at a regular schedule.
2. Get your daily dose of sunlight.
Wake up the direct sunlight or very bright lights. Sunlight helps the body’s internal clock rest itself for the day and cuts down on melatonin – so this is a great trick for jet lag. Get an hour of morning sunlight within 15 minutes of awakening, to really ‘wake you up’.
3. Stay away from stimulants.
Caffeine, chocolate, and caffeinated sodas before sleep (or the whole day, if you have real trouble sleeping) can really affect your sleep – avoid them. Alcohol, whilst it can help you fall asleep (or pass out), fragments sleep, which causes you to wake up several times a night and be very tired the next day. Also, if you are one who wakes up for the bathroom during the night, try not to drink any fluids two hours before bed time. Even better, try not to be too full or too hungry before you go to bed.
4. Keep the bedroom dark.
Make sure your bedroom is a bedroom, so that it really is an area for rest. Try to eliminate all sources of light while you sleep (or keep it very dim).
I once read that digital clocks next to your bedside is a bad idea – even though you may be sleeping, you wouldn’t sleep as deep if your room was as dark as possible. This is also the case for me – when I was younger I was afraid of the dark and would always have to have a nightlight or lava lamp on. Now, I cannot fall asleep until it’s a complete blackout – try it!
A lack of physical exertion could be interrupting your sleep – sleep is when your body repairs and recovers, so there could be nothing to repair and recover from! Don’t exercise right before bed though – it will make your muscles tired, which actually make you more awake. Experts say you shouldn’t exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.
6. Develop a relaxing, peaceful routine before bed.
I have read you should start to ‘wind down’ an hour before bed time, to get your body ready for rest. This could include listening to soothing music, a bubble bath, stretching, or anything else that relaxes you. Try not to engage in activities such as watching TV, listening to loud music, or physical activity. Playing with your pet is extremely de-stressing and relaxing, too (just not tug o’ war).
7. Get rid of distractions.
Don’t keep your cellphone, laptop, TV, food or anything near where you sleep. Turn off everything (or to silent) before bed time. My trick? I throw the cellphone and laptop under my bed!
8. Avoid having pets in the room.
I know, I know – you love them! But this should go under ‘distractions’. If you wake up easily in the night, their movements or allergies can wake you up and interrupt your sleep.
My dog doesn’t sleep in my room anymore. The reason? That tiny thing snores like a beast!
(But isn’t the beast cute? Here she is relaxing by the pool.)
9. Clear your mind.
Anxieties and worry can crop up as you lie in bed, since this is the time you’re alone with your thoughts. Worrying produces the chemical epinephrine, which keeps you awake. Try to sort out any worries throughout the day, and try to visually imagine them floating away from you. Or, you can write them down somewhere and tell yourself, I’ll deal with it tomorrow. If you’re spiritual, meditation and prayer helps greatly.
Stressed throughout the day? While some stress is good for us, stress is one of the big causes of many health issues, so really take care of yourself. Some options in that post, even if done once a week, could help greatly.
Also, worrying about not falling asleep because you may have a long day or a big presentation coming up (for example) will disrupt your sleep greatly. To avoid this, make sure there is no way for you to check for the time. You know what I’m talking about … you’re lying in bed, and you wonder what time it is, and dang! It’s 4.23am, and you start to panic. Just relax, and hide that clock!
10. Pamper your bed.
Fluffy pillows, homemade blankets, your Hannah Montana soft toy – whatever it is, create a nice, peaceful, comfortable place to sleep. I invested in a great mattress and covers some years ago and it was so worth it – I’ve been told it’s the most comfortable bed in the world! 😉
Good luck! And I’d love to hear your input if you have any other tips or personal ways you get to sleep.