At times, it can seem like everyone on Earth is getting plenty of sleep – but you. Some people have what it takes to drink two cups of coffee and still go in their room for a nice little nap, while you struggle to nod off after 48 hours of sleep deprivation – how do they do it?
Sleep pros know there are five habits they have that you might not. This is the competitive edge they use to get plenty of rest each night. If your sleep deprivation isn’t due to a medical condition, try implementing these tactics into your everyday routine to see if it helps you get your Zs.
Sleep Pro Habit #1: Stick to a Schedule! If you’re trying to go to bed at 8 PM one night and 2 AM the next, your poor body can’t get on a steady cycle of sleep. It needs a routine so that it can differentiate between daytime tasks and nighttime rest.
Sleep pros who get in bed at the same time each night and wake up on schedule each morning program their bodies to relax, like a science! If you want to include naps in your schedule, make sure they’re at the same time each day, too. Just be aware that naps can impede your nighttime sleep if they’re too long.
Sleep Pro Habit #2: Just Say “No” to Stimulants! You might recognize you have trouble sleeping, but don’t even think that 24-ounce Coca Cola you had at 9 PM could be the cause.
Caffeine, as well as other stimulants like electronic gadgets (video games, Television, and the Internet) can all contribute to your sleeplessness. Avoid products like alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, and sodas during the evening hours – save them for the daytime when you’re telling your body it’s okay to be alert and awake.
Sleep Pro Habit #3: Move Your Body Toward Sleep! Exercise may be the medicine you need to engage in a deep slumber tonight. Insomnia occurs less frequently in those who exercise on a regular basis for at least 20-30 minutes a day.
You don’t want to exercise near bedtime, but in the morning or afternoon instead. Studies have shown that many sedentary individuals who suffered from insomnia found their sleep disorder disappeared once they began an exercise regimen.
When you exercise, you’re relieving tension and increasing your body’s production of endorphins. You don’t have to exercise vigorously – a moderate walk is enough to aid you in your quest for sleep.
Sleep Pro Habit #4: No Napping! Just as eating in between meals ruins your appetite, napping between deep sleep can prevent many sleep disorder sufferers from being able to fall asleep and get a full night’s rest.
For some, a nap is just the medicine they need to re-energize for the day, but if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, a nap may cause more harm than good. Even though in the beginning you may feel extremely sleepy, try to save your slumber for the middle of the night and not for a mid-day luxury.
Sleep Pro Habit #5: Don’t Go Back for Seconds! It’s a Thanksgiving ritual for many – stuff yourself so full you have no choice but to waddle down the hall and flop into bed for a nap.
But eating too much – especially near bedtime – can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Being overly stuffed with food can make sleeping uncomfortable, and if you’re one of the unlucky ones to suffer from indigestion, it can be a painful experience, too. Instead, eat just enough to quell your hunger and go to bed satisfied, but not distressed.
Not every sleep pro solution will work for everyone. The key is to find what works for you. Make lifestyle changes, keep records of your sleep quality, and seek out help from your doctor if signs and symptoms worsen.