Three Tips for a Restful Night of Sleep
For me, a perfect night’s sleep looks something like this: I hop into bed around ten or ten-thirty with a book. I read for about fifteen minutes before I feel my eyelids start to get heavy. I turn off the light and drift off within the next five minutes or so and sleep, uninterrupted, until my body says that it’s time to wake up. No alarms, no middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom, and no tossing and turning... Just good, old-fashioned, lights-out, deep slumber. Unfortunately, these idyllic nights of sleep are few and far between for the majority of us, for one reason or another but, on the bright side, there is always room for improvement. Below, you’ll find a few useful tips for getting the best night’s sleep possible:
#1: Limit your caffeine intake throughout the day.
Some of us rely a bit more heavily on caffeine than others to get us through the day, crash-free. And we’re not here to preach for more or less coffee. But it is important, for the sake of your sleep, to stop drinking it after about two pm in order to ensure that any amount of caffeine has left your system by the time you’re ready to go to sleep (experts believe that it takes about eight to ten hours, on average, for this to happen). Have your last cup of coffee after lunch and then, for the remainder of the day, sip on decaf tea or water.
#2: The ‘snooze’ button is not your friend.
While that extra seven minutes of sleep might seem to be the best idea ever at six thirty in the morning, you should definitely avoid the ‘snooze’ button on your alarm at all costs. Michael Breus, PhD, Board certified sleep specialist and author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health says, “The average snooze is seven to nine minutes and it’s not a good idea. Your body can’t go into deep sleep so you get light sleep and that doesn’t help.” Instead, set your alarm for seven minutes later and let your body really benefit from those few extra minutes of uninterrupted slumber.
#3: Get your heart pumping.
One of the most important things that you can do to improve your quality of sleep is to get some form of exercise daily in order to maximize your blood circulation. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous regimen, either- a brisk twenty minute walk around your block after dinner can have the same sleep-inducing effects.