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. Want to do what they are doing? Try some of these:
- 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.
- Create a great sleep environment. The body sleeps best in quiet, cool, and dark environments. Blackout curtains or eye masks will block the light and white noise machines or earplugs are great for blocking sound. Cozy, overstuffed pillows and comfy bedding can make a big difference in how well you drift off to the land of Nod.
- Stop watching the clock. If you go to bed and don’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, get up and do something you find relaxing. Reading or listening to quiet music in a dimly lit room are soothing. Don’t turn on the TV or computer, as the light and sound will act as a stimulant. Go back to bed when you start to feel relaxed and tired again.
- Create a ritual that sets your body up for sleep. Wind down with the same activities each night — a warm cup of decaf or herbal tea, a hot bath, a good book. Try to stay away from electronics as you transition from being wide awake to relaxing 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”. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about serious, ongoing fatigue or inability to sleep.