A Better Night of Sleep in Five Easy Steps

Easy ways you can get a better night of sleepGood Morning!

As you sense the sun rising in the early morning sky, your eyes pop open. Filled with energy that only sweet sleep brings, you throw the covers back and drop your feet to the floor. Like a superhero, you pick up your robe and throw it over your shoulders. You’re ready to face the day.

Ok, stop laughing. We know that’s a morning that exists only in fiction.

In reality, most of us groan as the alarm blares, and we struggle to slap the snooze button as quickly as possible. Bargaining with our subconscious, we decide we can squeeze in 10 more minutes before we drag ourselves to the kitchen and debate whether to pour a cup of coffee or drink it straight from the pot.

Or perhaps we decide that we need energy pills or elixirs to get through the day. Though there are supplements available that are considered helpful and safe, many of these “get energy fast” pills are dangerous or have undesirable side effects.

Is a good night’s rest just a dream?

Happily, we’re here to say that there are many things you can do to get a better night rest, wake up easier in the morning, and have more energy to last throughout the day. In this article, we’re going to talk about the first step: How to get a better night’s rest.

A Better Night’s Sleep in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Be Consistent. Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine states, “Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting quality, restful sleep.” If you know that you need more rest at night, the best way to go about changing your schedule is in 15-minute increments. More drastic adjustments can create a downward spiral of sleeplessness and exhaustion.
  2. Create Downtime. Start paring down commitments in the late evening so you have an hour before your scheduled sleep time for a bedtime routine. There are two types of activities you should be doing during this time: thoughtful preparation for the next day, and quiet, relaxing activities. When you prepare for the next day (like choosing your wardrobe, packing lunches, or creating a to-do list) you’re clearing your mind, allowing yourself to unwind faster when your head finally does hit the pillow. Choosing a relaxing activity, like stretching, reading, or enjoying a cup of decaf tea, signals your body that it’s time to slow down and prepare for a night of rest.
  3.  Eat (or not) For Sleep.  If you go to bed too full or too hungry, discomfort in the night may keep you awake. It’s no big surprise that drinking too much before bed can wake you up as well, creating a risk of not being able to fall back to sleep. A small snack high in protein can be helpful before bed (think almond butter on a whole wheat cracker), as is a small, warm, decaffeinated beverage, like tea or warm milk.
  4. Unplug For the Night. There are many reasons that complete darkness can help you get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly. Particularly disruptive to sleep though, are electronic devices. Many of us are rather addicted to checking social media before we go to sleep, and the risk is there to stay up later than we intended. Research has shown also that the blue light emitted by cell phones, chargers, tablets and the like is more disruptive to sleep than natural light. So keep them charging in another room, or unplug your devices completely and power them down at least an hour before hitting the hay.
  5. Be Comfortable. A quiet, cool room (at about 65 degrees) has been shown to be the best sleep environment. Of course, if you are sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress or scratchy sheets, the answer to better sleep may be as simple as replacing them. Can’t afford a new mattress now? Look into a 1 or 2 inch foam mattress pad. These can be found online, often for under $50, and can greatly enhance your comfort, even on an older mattress.

In the pharmacy, there are a few options you can try to help you rest better at night. Valerian, Chammomile, and Melatonin have been helpful for many. Before using them, be sure to talk to our helpful pharmacy staff or your physician to find out about proper dosage and drug interactions. We want you to have a great night of sleep – but we want you to do so safely.

Next time we’re going to take good night of sleep to the next level. How can you make waking up in the morning a little less painful? Find out some great tips in our next article!

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