If you find yourself counting sheep, tossing and turning, and huffing and puffing on a nightly basis, then you're probably in search of techniques that can help you get a better night's sleep. As a sleep-deprived individual, you well know how much your daily activities can be affected when you don't catch enough Zs. It's difficult to concentrate at work, you constantly tremor from practically overdosing on caffeine, you find yourself nodding off in meetings or - even worse - while sitting in traffic. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help yourself get a better night's sleep.
Become More Physically Active
Maintaining a regular exercise routine is a great way to ensure that you receive enough sleep. Just make sure that you don't exercise too close to bedtime, otherwise you may still feel energized when your head hits the pillow. If possible, try to exercise first thing in the morning or in the early afternoon. Keep in mind that you don't need to run a marathon to experience the benefits of becoming more physically active. Going on a brisk walk, riding a bike, playing with your pets, and gardening are all excellent ways to get your body moving - and to prepare it for a better night's sleep.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Though you may think you depend on caffeine to function when you haven't had enough sleep, you're actually doing your body more harm than good by drinking too much coffee or soda. Ideally, you shouldn't consume any caffeine after about 2 p.m. Your body can take several hours to metabolize caffeine and drinking coffee or soda too late in the day may not provide enough time for it to be out of your system by the time you're ready for bed.
Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
There's no doubt that it's tempting to sleep in on the weekend. Unfortunately, though, swaying too far from the schedule you keep Monday through Friday can wreak havoc on your ability to get a good night's sleep. While you may think that sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays allows you to "catch up" on sleep, that's simply not the case. Get your body in the habit of going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day - even during the weekend.
Leave Stress and Anxiety at the Bedroom Door
If you're stressed because of work, your financial situation, an interpersonal relationship, or for any other reason, it's crucial that you clear your mind before your head hits the pillow. Writing in a journal is an excellent way to "cleanse" yourself of negative thoughts before you go to bed. If certain situations are keeping you from getting enough rest, then it might be time to resolve the issue, if only so you can sleep at night. Whether you need to find a new job, terminate a toxic relationship, or gain control of your finances, you'd be well served to straighten up the areas of your life that are causing stress and depleting sleep.