better_sleep.jpgSometimes, the daily grind of work and problems can really get on your nerves and disrupt your sleep schedule. Suddenly, you start to notice that you get more cranky at the littlest things (like that misplaced mug, for example), you binge more than ever (gasp!), and your eyebags are getting more prominent.

Losing sleep isn't something that you should let pass. Let FN help you get that much-needed snooze time with these tips. Besides, May is Better Sleep Month, so we would be doing you a disservice by letting it pass without helping you get those Zzzs!


Don’t take your problems to bed.

Stress in the bedroom is a no-no! Give your brain a rest from all the deadlines, paperwork, and bills that you’ve been mulling over all day. Stress and anxiety might prevent you from sleeping well, as worrying puts your brain on hyperactive mode. This just encourages your body to stay awake, so make it a habit to relax yourself before bedtime.


De-stress before you go to sleep

As mentioned above, it is necessary that you wind down before bedtime. But just how are you going to do that? Experiment and see what works for you. Try simple breathing exercises to calm your nerves. Others watch TV to relax (although for some, watching TV can be addicting, so this might not work for everybody), while some go for a warm, relaxing bath before bedtime. You may also want to try reading a boring book to help you sleep. Just keep in mind that the key here is maintaining a pre-bedtime routine to signal your body that it’s time to sleep.


Prep a “sleep-friendly” room

Your bedroom should be conducive for sleeping—after all, that’s what it’s for! Make it more sleep-friendly by stashing away work-related materials (which might only get you stressed), making sure that outside noise is barred (by shutting the windows or by tuning it out with a fan or AC), and turning off the lights (and keeping them off) during sleep hours. Also, it’s not a good idea to work in bed, so make sure that the laptop stays outside your bedroom; otherwise, your brain might associate bed with work rather than sleep.


Maintain regular sleep hours

Adults should still get six to eight hours of sleep per night, and one way to attain that is by sticking to a regular sleep schedule. It will be easier to fall asleep if you habitually hit the sack at the same time every night, even on weekends. Maintaining a regular sleeping schedule not only helps you sleep better, but also makes it easier for you to wake up as well. Make sure, though, that you’re not sleeping way too early.  Sleeping at 7:00 PM may lead you to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, making it harder for you to fall back to sleep again.


Give your bed a check

Do you have trouble stretching on your bed? Do you have enough room to move around? Make sure that your bed isn’t too cramped, or it might be preventing you from getting enough sleeping hours.


Exercise regularly

Sure, we’ve heard the countless benefits of exercising. But aside form getting that bikini-ready body, exercising boosts sleep quality as well. Just makes sure that you don’t exercise minutes before bedtime—otherwise those endorphins will make you too alert.


Skip the after dinner caffeine and nicotine

Coffee and cigarettes make you alert. These stimulants might be good when you’re swamped with work, but they will cause problems when you’re itching to fall asleep. Their effects are known to linger for a long time, so it is advisable that you steer clear of these several hours before you hit the sack. Smoking in bed is a double no-no—remember that it's a fire hazard!


Don’t drink too much fluids before bedtime

Skip those irritating midnight trips to the bathroom by limiting your liquid intake at night. Nothing’s more annoying than waking up in the middle of the night for a quick bathroom trip, only to find yourself tossing and turning in the sheets several hours after.


Ditch the dinner buffet, but stock up on your nightly glass of milk

Indulging yourself in a dinner food-fest might not be a good idea when bedtime’s only a few minutes away. Eating a lot makes digestion a bit slower, as our stomachs need a lot more time for work. However, various foods can actually help us sleep easier.  Tofu, dairy, and turkey can help boost sleep, as these contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which produces serotonin. Serotonin helps calm our nerves and makes sleeping easier.


Set your alarm to a reasonable time

Instead of setting your alarm clock to go off at a too-early hour only to find yourself hitting the snooze button repeatedly, set it to the time when you actually want (or need) to wake up. Getting short bursts of extended sleep is less healthy than getting uninterrupted sleep since this allows for more REM sleep, which is deeper, or so this study tells us.


(Photo source: sxc.hu)
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