Have you ever experienced going through a long, hard day, and all you wanted was to go home and get a good and restful sleep but once you’re finally in bed, all you could do was twist and turn? Well this has happened to me before. Many times in fact.
I used to work on a graveyard shift, right after graduating from college. I’d leave the house at around eight in the evening, go to work, drive back home, and then go to bed at seven in the morning. I used to lie in bed, at noon, despairing why I haven’t gotten any sleep yet. Those first several months were agonizing. I would spend all my weekends sleeping day and night just to store energy for the work week ahead.
After a while I have gotten used to working on the night shift. I learned different techniques to help me sleep. But even after I have begun working regular hours (8am-5pm), and now back to sleeping at nights again, I still practice these techniques to ensure that I wake up fresh the next morning.
If you have the same problem, take a look at the following tips to achieve a better sleep every night:
1. Have a regular sleeping schedule.
By sleeping and getting up from bed the same time every day, you are establishing your body clock. Based on your lifestyle and your work or study schedule, set a specific time at night that you go to sleep. It is recommended that you sleep when you are suitably tired to ensure that you don’t spend the night trying to find that right position. Once you have gotten enough sleep, you should be able to wake up naturally without the use of an alarm clock.
2. Don’t get used to sleeping in or napping long hours in the afternoon.
These are practices that need to be avoided, especially by those suffering from insomnia. Sleeping in and napping sound tempting, especially on weekends, when you don’t feel like doing anything, when you think you need to recharge for the week ahead. They, however, disrupt your body clock. You will experience signs similar to jet lag if you have different sleeping schedules on weekdays and weekends.
3. Avoid sleeping right after dinner.
It’s normal for a person to feel drowsy after having a really good meal. But if your dinner is at 7pm (while your normal sleeping time is 10pm), and you think that sleeping early might be a good idea, think again. You may find yourself waking up just after midnight and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Try to do other things to keep you alert, like playing a video game or chatting with a friend online.
4. Shower, wash your face, or brush your teeth if you think you’re about to go to bed in an hour or two.
This is something that you might have already experienced: You were feeling drowsy and about to sleep, but then remembered you need to brush your teeth; but after brushing our teeth, all of a sudden you’re not sleepy anymore. It would be best to clean yourself even an hour before your bedtime. You will find it more agreeable if you could sleep right away without having to do anything else first.
5. Ensure you have dim lighting in your bedroom and in your toilet.
For some of us, we sometimes have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. When this happens, we’re only usually half awake. But if we use bright light as we do our business, we sometimes have to struggle just to go back to sleep.
6. Install heavy curtains in your room.
Because of work schedule, some people have to sleep after midnight and won’t have to get up from bed until late in the morning. Unfortunately, because of the strong sunlight coming from windows, these people are forced to have shorter sleeping hours. If your room remains dark even if the sun is up, you will be able to trick your body into sleeping longer, when necessary.
7. Control the temperature of your bedroom.
There were days when I had been woken from sleep because either the room was too cold or too hot. I was lucky to be able to remedy the situations and go back to sleep right away. For some people, though, finding back sleep is not that easy. So if you could ensure that a comfortable temperature in your room can remain constant while you sleep, that would be for the best.
8. Exercise regularly.
You may not think this is necessary, but it is. Exercising hours before bedtime can promote a good night’s sleep. After having a vigorous workout, have enough time to cool down and take a shower. Your body will surely seek the comfort of your bed afterwards.
9. Reduce your intake of caffeine.
This is one advice you have surely heard of. In my experience, it really is true. I avoid drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee during dinner; because if I do, I wouldn’t be able to sleep until after midnight. For some people, drinking coffee at night may have a different effect. See if caffeine keeps you awake at night. If yes, it’s time to cut down your intake.
10. Don’t think too much.
Keep your worries for another day. A lot of people are kept awake at night thinking of the problems they will face at work or school, their finances or persona relations. These are things that we cannot avoid but think about. If we don’t get a good rest however, we’ll find it more difficult to face the challenges ahead. My advice is to clear our minds of fears and worries, and recharge as much as we can, so we can have our full strength as we start the new day.
With these tips, I hope you can finally start sleeping well tonight. Good luck!