You’ve worked hard all day. Now, you’re home. You want to relax for a bit, then go to sleep. But when you finally crawl into bed, you can’t doze off. Your eyes are burning not two hours later, you’re still in a grog, neither awake nor asleep. How can you get your sleep under control?
Control Your Schedule
Image via Flickr by Riley Kaminer
Gaining control of your schedule is crucial to healthy sleep. But this discipline doesn’t stop at setting a regular bedtime. Make sure blue light emitting electronics are turned off an hour before you go to bed. And if you exercise, make sure you don’t do anything excessive before calling it a night. Give yourself about three hours to cool down and disperse the hormones and chemicals that the workout activated. Any training done right before hitting the hay should be meditative and relaxing.
Also, set your dinner time at least one hour before you go to bed, and keep it light. If you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, it may affect your sleep; your body works hard to digest food. And, although avoiding nighttime caffeine is a no-brainer, you should also not drink alcohol. That wine may relax you in the short term, but its effects will wear off while you’re asleep, which may cause your eyes to open long before it’s time to wake up.
Control Your Environment
There are several things you can change about your environment. If you have unwanted light shining into your room, try a sleep mask. To block noise, ear plugs work well. Another thing to consider is the importance of maintaining your room at a comfortable temperature.
Of course, it’s normal to wake up several times during the night. Usually, you don’t even remember doing so. But if you’re someone who checks your clock each time your eyes pop open, then face it away from you while you sleep. Better yet, put it and all your timekeeping devices well out of reach. Being aware of the time causes stress, which inhibits sleep.
Control Your Attitude
Sleep is a biological necessity; you cannot survive without it. However, sleep is also a behavior. You can’t control your biology, but you can control your behaviors. By developing a positive, can-do attitude toward sleep, you can overcome whatever it is that prevents you from achieving your sleep goals.
If that sounds like a pep talk, there’s a good reason. Healthy sleep can be part of your daily life, but only if you consciously take control of your behaviors. If you can’t reach your goal alone, consider seeing a sleep therapist. As with hiring a personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals, a sleep therapist can teach you how to reach your sleep goals.
A good night’s sleep is not out of your grasp. If you control your schedule, your environment, and your attitude, you can start sleeping well. And healthy sleep can change your whole outlook on life!