Most of us know the health and wellness benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. Deep, regular sleep revitalizes the body and keeps the immune system functional. It also enhances mood, energy, and mental focus. A regular and healthy sleeping routine can do wonders for your work or school performance, for your social life, and for your general wellbeing. However, as an adult, you may have discovered that staying faithful to your sleep regimen is harder than it used to be. A busy and stressful life, unfavorable conditions in your indoor environment, and other factors may be getting in the way of you getting some much-needed shut-eye.
In order to sleep properly, you have to be conscious about what’s keeping you from doing so. Here are five things that may be obstructing you from getting quality sleep, as well as some ways to remedy them.
You Don’t Feel Comfortable Enough to Relax
Too few people remember that it’s hard to sleep when you’re stressed or when your body is in “work mode.” In contrast, it’s easiest to get drowsy when you’re relaxed and comfortable. Your body will need active cues that it’s time to shift into “sleep mode.” You can do this by establishing consistent sleep hygiene, or ingraining habits that will slowly train your body to start resting. Find ways to make your body even more comfortable before bedtime. Buy sleepwear that feels comfier than old gym shorts or ratty-tatty T-shirts, take a shower before bed, or light a scented candle. Once you’ve found the habits that get your body into its sweet spot for slumber, it won’t take long for you to drift off.
You Feel Too Energetic Before Bedtime
Another thing that may be getting in the way is your level of energy at nighttime. Even though your body’s supposed to be tapering off its active mode, you may feel too awake or energetic to close your eyes. To remedy this, be conscious about the things that may be making you too hyper at too late an hour. Avoid consuming caffeine-heavy products, like coffee, soda, or chocolate too late in the day. Try scheduling your high-energy and high-intensity workouts earlier in the day, as your adrenaline levels may still be rather elevated too close to bedtime. Lastly, choose relaxing pre-bedtime activities over those that can drive your emotions up. It’s better to snuggle up with a book before bed than to binge-watch an action- or horror-oriented TV series, for example. The latter might keep your brain very active very late into the night, and thus prevent you from sleeping right away.
You Keep Getting Distracted from Your Bed
By now, you may have realized that the distance between your bed and the other parts of your home is wider than you think. Along the way to bedtime, you might get distracted by TV, videogames, late-night hunger, and other things besides. It’s a good idea to pinpoint potential distractions from bedtime, and then to postpone them so that they don’t rob you of precious sleeping hours. For example, you can give yourself a quota for watching TV or spending time on social media—no more than two hours every night. If you can decrease the number of distractions keeping you from bed and exercise healthy discipline, your sleep routine will be better for it.
It’s Too Hot, Cold, Bright, or Noisy for You to Fall Asleep
In some cases, it may be harder for you to fall asleep for reasons beyond your control. Maybe you’ve got really noisy neighbors, or maybe your bedroom window faces a really bright street light. Your sleep routine may also be vulnerable to changes in the weather. It may be harder for you to fall asleep because it’s hot and stuffy in the summertime. Conversely, snow or cold rain may give you a chill that makes it difficult to stay asleep. For cases like these, try addressing factors in your environment that you can change. You can deal with external noise by sleeping with earplugs, and you can block out unwanted light with blackout curtains. You can also invest in temperature-regulating sheets or blankets for the months when the weather is most extreme. Ultimately, in some conditions, healthy sleep is harder to achieve—remember that and see what about your environment you can adjust.
You Keep Waking Up in the Middle of the Night
It’s one thing to be able to fall asleep, and another thing to stay asleep the entire night. The fact is, you won’t wake up refreshed if you had too many interruptions to your sleep the night before. You can avoid broken sleep by trying to identify what causes it. Do you snore, and does sleep apnea suddenly jolt you awake from time to time? Did you nap during the day, and did that keep you from getting drowsy at night? Is a physical condition, like insomnia or bladder problems, causing you to wake up more often? The goal is to listen to your body and to observe any obstructions to continuous sleep. You have to address these so that you can cultivate a healthy, restful sleep routine in the long term.
The older you get, the more vulnerable you are to sickness, and the more hectic your life becomes, the more important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t take your sleep regimen for granted, and do what you can to establish the healthiest and most fulfilling sleep routine. Happier days lie ahead for those who take the time and effort to properly rest!