Waking up on the wrong side of the bed is a drag. It alters your mood, reduces your performance in daily activities, and affects your health. Getting a good night’s rest is hard to come by for some people. Watching back-to-back episodes of Sportscenter and eating your favorite comfort food won’t always put you to sleep and keep you in REM. Allow me to put you up on game on how to get a better night of sleep.
1. Get a Schedule
Humans are creatures of habit. Your body’s internal clock wants to be regulated by a set pattern that it will follow each night. For instance, remember when you were in school and had a bedtime? This nightly routine kept you yawning around the same time and waking up naturally at a certain time all the same.
When your schedule gets thrown off and you’re now going to bed two hours after your normal time, then insomnia or poor sleep can occur. Do your best to stick to regular times for going to bed and waking up.
2. No Slumber Saturdays
I know it’s the weekend, but you don’t want to differentiate too far from your regular weekday schedule on Saturday and Sunday. If you want to catch some extra zzzs on the weekend, schedule a nap. But don’t sleep too long (see the next tip for why).
3. Nap or No Nap
This is a serious growth area for me because I’ll drop into a deep REM real quick just to savor the peaceful enjoyment of a two-hour nap after I’ve devoured Sunday brunch. Naps should be taken early in the afternoon for 15 to 20 minutes. Anything over that or later than that is setting you up for nighttime failure.
4. Fight the ‘Itis’
If you’ve had a 4 piece with mild sauce, salt and pepper, Sprite, fries and a slice of caramel cake, chances are you’re probably going to have the “itis.”
In order to fight the urge to snooze after a delicious meal, try doing something active to curb your sleepiness. I’m not saying go run a marathon or do high-impact fitness training. Simple things like calling a friend, ironing your clothes for the week, washing the dishes or vacuuming could help you out.
5. Lights Out
You have no idea how much that light from your LED clock or the little red dot on your TV affects your sleep quality. Even your cellphone’s blinking light can alter your sleep pattern.
You’ll be amazed at what energy your body picks up even while you’re supposed to be in a deep sleep. It’s a good idea to