We’re all too busy to be losing sleep. Sometimes we forget how to unwind and relax. Sleep experts say 7–9 hours is optimal for the average adult, yet so many of us struggle with how to get a better night’s sleep. Here are a few tips to battle tossing and turning at night:
Water remedies dehydration, which can keep you from a full night’s sleep. It’s a natural remedy for headache and fatigue and there’s no sugar crash from pure water. Here’s a well-kept secret: water has zero calories. It’s also an appetite suppressant, which makes it worth negative calories in my book. Gain healthier skin and remove toxins. Drink at least two liters a day, but avoid drinking water or other fluids one hour before you go to sleep.
You know you’re not supposed to eat an hour before bed, right? Picture this: reaching for gum instead of _____. Gum fights cravings and saves you from that high calorie snack. Different gums have varying levels of oral health improvement and cavity-fighting qualities. It’s been proven to reduce stress, increase concentration and improve digestion. You don’t have to take my word for it; you can read more from the experts at the Wrigley Science Institute. I can tell you from personal experience, I quit smoking by reaching for regular chewing gum, and have never even tried a nicotine gum.
Clean up that inbox.
All those unopened emails are nagging. You’ll sleep better if you unsubscribe! We all sign up for email deals, but sometimes we go a little crazy when we’re at the mall, and the shops are handing out ten percent off coupons for every email address. Don’t stay on email lists that aren’t helping you. If you’re still receiving a weekly newsletter from that store you bought one Christmas gift from two years ago, I’d say it’s A-Okay to click “safe unsubscribe.” If you click “spam,” these emails just go to the junk folder and continue to go there, so not really “problem solved.” Along with the spam folder, some email programs have filters, and I recommend them highly! Filters, after deletion, are your best defense when cutting back on inbox clutter. If you have a filter, you can have emails sorted into folders by sender; I have one just for coffee coupons, and another for e-bills.
Learn to sew a stitch or two.
Watching television or browsing the web before bed can stimulate the mind, rather than relax it. For a better night’s sleep, I learned a couple of stitches. Knowing how to sew proves useful in emergencies and saves $10-$20 for hemming at the dry cleaners. I tailor my clothes with just two types of stitches: a straight stitch and a blind hem stitch. There are countless crafters blogging about sewing tips, and it might surprise you to know you can find more sewing tips from some very skilled fashionistas on YouTube. If you’re lucky enough to own a sewing machine, brush the dust off and relearn what those funny squiggles on the dial mean.
I had a gym membership once. I think I went twice, and I still think about what I would’ve done with that money. Expert opinions vary on whether you should exercise daily, or 2–3 times a week, but they all agree it’s important for sleep. The goal is to increase your physical activity during the day so that you aren’t full of energy at night. With the New Year on its way, I want to stop you from adding “join a gym” to your resolutions. I purchased my own exercise bike from a Goodwill store last summer, and life has been grand. Maybe for you it’s not the exercise bike…maybe it’s the weight bench, the stair master, or the leg press. Money spent each month, plus registration fees, plus gas, equals the equipment I actually use and own in my home! By working out at home I can adjust the thermostat, use my own shower, and stay as long as I like. I have a fun collection of old DVDs for aerobics and Pilates, and I have some favorite yoga picks on Hulu.com. If you’re lucky enough to set up a room or a corner, think of it as a way to escape. How much time do you really get to spend at home anyway? Pick a time to exercise that’s well before your last meal of the day (which should be at least an hour or two from bed time).
Do the math.
No one likes the “b” word. You can do the math, know your monthly bills, monthly income, and still not have a budget. I would guess this is the most popular cause of insomnia. My leap toward having a budget involved Mint.com. I can see pie charts and bar graphs all about my expenses and income. I can see my track record for how many mocha frappés I buy per month. It’s like having my own accountant. I can even set up email alerts to know when I’ve had one mocha too many – you can set budgets for almost anything! I never set up what I’d call a real budget, but I can go to bed with a smile knowing the true price range of my wallet-safe shopping spree.
We don’t give much credit to sleep – we try to avoid it, we fight it off with sugar and caffeine, but there is no way to imitate the refreshed feeling you get when you wake up from a full night’s rest.
Do you have any tips on how to get a better night’s sleep? Share them with us!