We all know that sleep plays a major role in how we feel. Not getting the right amount can mean getting sick, getting stressed or not being able to get things done. If you're having trouble in the shut-eye department we're here to help with fixes for your biggest sleep concerns.
Whether you wake up multiple times a night, can't get to sleep or can't seem to get back to sleep once you wake up, we have the tips to make sure you're well rested.
You have some bad before-bed habits
It’s late, you look at the clock, you’re still not asleep or even feeling tired. What gives? If you find that going to bed at night feels like a chore because you know it’ll feel like hours of lying awake, it’s time for a sleep-related intervention. Think about how your before-bed routine might be making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Some pre-sleep dont's can include the following:
Eating a large meal: It takes work to digest a large meal, meaning sleep can be tough if you’ve just eaten a lot. Have dinner earlier and keep snacks light.
Exercising: Exercise too close to bedtime can mean your body takes longer than normal to relax. Try working out earlier in the evening.
Drinking coffee or alcohol: Coffee too close to bedtime can keep you up, and booze can make it tough to stay asleep or cause fitful sleep.
Taking your gadgets to bed: You’ll have a tough time going into relax mode if you’re still checking emails at midnight.
You can’t get your brain to shut off at night
If you are worried about something — whether it's an ongoing issue or a big event that has you stressed — you may find yourself lying awake, unable to stop thinking for long enough to fall asleep. If that’s the case, take some time before bed to write out your concerns — and then crumple up the page and toss it. The act of writing out worries can keep them from creeping into your thoughts when you’re trying to sleep. Alternatively, do something relaxing before bed to help keep stress at bay — take a hot bath, meditate for five to 10 minutes or go for a leisurely walk around the block to help calm your mind.
You don’t feel rested in the morning
Editor’s tip: I swear by the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app. It will wake you up within a 30 minute time frame based on when you’re most awake. A lot of the time, you wake up feeling exhausted because your alarm went off during your deep sleep. This app will track your sleep cycle and wake you up at the best time.
Despite falling asleep at a decent hour you still wake up feeling sluggish and in need of multiple cups of coffee to feel even remotely ready to face the day. This type of sleep issue can be particularly frustrating, since you did technically get your ZZZs, just not in a way that lets you feel awake when you need to. A "no-sleep" sleep can be often be caused by having the wrong pillow or a mattress that hinders how well you actually sleep. Think about investing in new sleep gear if your pillows and mattress have seen better days. Keeping your bedroom conducive to restful sleep — no light coming in, comfortable temperature, quiet environment — is also important if you want to feel rested when you get up.
You can’t get back to sleep after a wakeup
You’re one of those lucky people who can fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow and you’re happily out for what you hope is the whole night — but then you wake up and struggle to get back to sleep. Or worse, don’t get back to sleep at all. There are a few issues that could be behind the waking up and not getting back to sleep.
If you’re stressed, when you wake up in the middle of the night your brain can kick right back into high gear, making further rest impossible. If that’s the case, get to the root cause of your anxiety rather than letting it keep you up night after night.
If you drink alcohol before bed, it might make you drowsy enough to fall asleep, but it can also cause you to wake up. Limit wine or cocktails to weekends or imbibe earlier in the evening (and just have one).
If your sleeping space is too cold, too hot, or not quiet or dark enough, you might find yourself waking up. Make sure the temperature is comfortable and get yourself a sleeping mask and ear plugs to ensure you stay asleep.