There’s sleep, and there’s SLEEP.
Sleep in lower-case letters is time spent with your eyes closed. It’s dozing off in front of the TV as a show blares on. It’s checking a box to get through to the next day.
SLEEP, on the other hand, is energizing. It’s waking up and feeling much better than when you went to bed.
Getting some SLEEP is the reason you read a sleep blog.
What can you do to get some SLEEP that’s fast, easy, and uncomplicated? What are the actions that will give you the most bang for your buck?
Here are the five easiest things you can do.
Now keep in mind that your mileage may vary with these suggestions. Say, for example, if you have sleep apnea and stop breathing regularly during the night. You’d have to get that treated, perhaps with a bi-pap device. Even if you did all five things on this list, you’d still have to address that.
1. Ask, “What will it be like when I wake up?”
Will the morning light be streaming through the window too early for you? Close the curtains or wear an eye shade. Protect yourself from the light that will pry your eyelids open too early.
Will they be picking up the garbage too early for you? Maybe go to sleep with some earplugs in.
Is there a pet you’re forgetting to put out to go? Maybe let them out one last time before you go to sleep.
Think about what might wake you up too early and take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.
2. Avoid drinking or eating for a few hours before bed
By doing that, you’re less likely to have to get up earlier than you otherwise would to use the bathroom. You’ll also be more likely to avoid indigestion.
3. Relax purposefully before bed
If you can relax before bed, you’ll shorten the time it takes to fall asleep. Get your mind off of controversy and other things you find stressful.
If you can, you’ll avoid a churning mind, and your emotions will be peaceful.
There are many different ways of doing this: light exercise, reading, or going for a walk are just a few of them. The most important thing to do when implementing this suggestion is to keep in mind the goal: relaxing purposefully.
4. Mind your phone
Set your phone to respect your sleeping hours. Don’t let it notify you when you get a new message or when you get a phone call. If it rings it’ll wake you up and interfere with your sleeping. Whatever it is, it can wait.
5. Make your bed and room comfortable
Do you need to tighten your sheets? Do you need to move books and papers off your bed? Is your room stuffy? Do your pillows smell?
It’s harder to fall asleep and stay asleep if your room isn’t comfortable. Take the step to make it comfortable and it’ll help you get more restful sleep.
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James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.