Much has been said about the health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. Our focus increases, our immune system is improved, and we are in a much better mood.
However, it can feel like we are in a constant war to get to bed at a reasonable time. And even when we get there, we’re at war to stay asleep. But when you know the things that may be keeping you up at night, you can take proactive steps to counteract them and win your sleep schedule back.
Many of the factors that keep people awake at night are internal, and chronic pain is a good example of this. Between health conditions that cause achy joints and muscles, post-workout soreness, and past injuries, you may have trouble getting comfortable at night. Pain medications or massaging muscles before bed may help soothe pain and relax you for sleep.
When there is a lot on your mind, it can be difficult to slow your thoughts down enough to sleep. When this is the case, it’s good to find a stress-relieving activity to do before bed. For example:
- Prayer or meditation
- Light reading
- Doing puzzles
- Knitting or crocheting
Try to avoid activities involving electronics, such as watching TV, browsing social media, or playing video games. The blue light of screens tends to keep us awake longer, so most recommend unplugging a half an hour to an hour before bed.
Many of us enjoy a late-night snack before bed or find that a heavy meal makes us feel sleepy or relaxed. But eating foods with caffeine or alcohol can lead to you waking up frequently in the middle of the night. Instead, opt for a lighter meal of healthier, sleep-friendly foods, like:
- Good fats, such as those found in fish
Some sleep factors are external as well—namely, your immediate environment. Obviously, a room being too noisy or bright will keep you awake. But a cluttered or dirty room may also take away from our sense of relaxation, making it difficult to sleep.
A room’s temperature may also keep you awake. 65 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the ideal temperature for sleep, making it harder to nod off in the summertime. Look for ways to keep cool at night, such as putting on a fan or wearing cooler pajamas.