Happier people, those who are well rested, have the same stressors in their lives as everyone else — work, relationships, and health issues. One difference is that they have sleep habits that ensure they get better quality sleep no matter what else is happening in their lives. How do they do it? Well, it’s what they don’t do that makes the most difference:
- Don’t go to bed hungry, but eating right before bed isn’t the best choice, either. Eat 2-3 hours before bed so that your body has time to start the digestion process. You won’t be dreaming of food with your tummy growling all night, but you won’t be stuffed and uncomfortable, either.
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings. Caffeine can have a stimulant effect for anywhere from 4-6 hours. If you use it, try to limit your intake to the morning and early afternoon.
- Skip the light and noise. Blackout curtains or eye masks will block the light and white noise machines or earplugs are great for blocking sound. Try it to see what kind of difference it will make in how well you drift off to sleep.
- Stop watching the clock. If you start getting annoyed with how long it’s taking to fall asleep, get up and do something you find relaxing. Reading or listening to quiet music in a dimly lit room can be soothing and get you feeling tired again. Just remember, light and sound can wake you up so don’t tap open Instagram with brightness on high and expect to conk out immediately. Go back to bed when you start to feel relaxed and tired again.
- Me time. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, wind down and collect yourself — a warm cup of decaf or herbal tea, a hot bath, a good book, journaling — whatever you like will do it. Screens, loud people (yes family, too), work and all those stressful things are not your friends as you transition from being wide awake to relaxed and ready for bed.
As you sleep better, you’ll begin to feel an increase in your daily energy levels and in your overall mood. It is way easier to keep your positive, happy attitude when you get some solid, refreshing “zzzzs”.
DISCLAIMER: Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about serious, ongoing fatigue or inability to sleep.