Does it seem impossible for you to get satisfying Zzzzs at night? If your answer is a loud “Yes,” please do not try to reason out why it has to be like that, as if it is okay to be sleep deprived regularly. You deserve to have restful sleep. Everyone does!
Here are five simple routines you can try to achieve better sleep at night.
#1 Don’t Be Stubborn – Drink Your Milk
Who doesn’t like milk? Oh, it seems there’s an echoing “me” right here—I mean you! It’s justifiable when you say you don’t drink milk because you have lactose intolerance or you’re allergic to dairy products. However, some people despise milk because their taste buds are not milk-friendly. Whatever your reason is, you might want to give it a second thought now.
First and foremost, milk is rich in calcium, which is good for your bone health and an essential nutrient for kids’ growth as well. Calcium aids in your muscular function. Your heart is made up of a special muscle called cardiac muscle, which means calcium helps your heart pump blood by supporting its muscular structure and function. And above all, milk is essential for better sleep.
Parents might have spent years of their lives telling their kids to drink a glass of milk before sleep. Drinking milk is not just for growth, but it is one of the healthiest ways to promote better sleep. And good sleep is important for kids to have a better memory and brain performance.
So how does milk improve your sleep pattern? Milk contains tryptophan, which increases your melatonin level, a substance responsible for inducing sleep.
Are you rushing to pick up some milk at the grocery store now? You might want to grab the one recommended most for those with sleep problems: try having the so-called “night milk.” Night milk refers to milk harvested from cows at nighttime. According to a study, night milk has exceptionally high amounts of tryptophan and melatonin content, which promote sleep; it even has an anxiolytic effect (reduces anxiety).
#2 Take a Warm Bath
Who knows that bathing at night can help you sleep better? I know that sometimes you are just too tired to head to the bathroom after a long day at work. All you want is to lie down immediately and get reunited with your bed the moment you’re ready for sleep. However, isn’t it torture when you’re tired from work, trying to rest but you just can’t sleep due to insomnia? That’s the worst thing ever when all you need is sleep but your system just won’t give in easily without a fight. It may take you several twists and turns on the bed, changing positions, and the like. It makes you more exhausted and frustrated.
So, instead of spending time waiting to finally fall asleep after hours of trying, take a warm bath earlier in the evening to induce sleep. Why? The warm temperature of the water relaxes your tensed muscles. It also dilates your blood vessels for an improved blood flow. And soaking in a hot tub for 20 minutes raises your body temperature, then causes a rapid cool-down, which relaxes you and helps set you up into sleep mode. This mechanism is related to your circadian rhythm. During the daytime, your body temperature rises; this tells your body to stay awake and alert. In the later afternoon, your body temperature generally starts to drop and cool down, a signal to your brain that it’s time to rest and sleep. A warm bath has the same effect on your body temperature; thereby it induces sleep.
#3 Ban Gadgets in Your Bedroom
Yes, keep your bedroom gadget-free. No television, mobile phone, laptop, tablet or any gadget that emits blue light inside your bedroom. Aside from distracting your intention to rest, the light that these gadgets emit can actually make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
According to research findings, the blue light emitted by gadgets may trick your mind and make it think that it is still daytime. Your body clock is actually following a certain pattern. When your surroundings are filled with bright lights like during the daytime, then you’ll automatically be set to wake up. Meanwhile, when your surroundings are dark, your body clock tells you it’s time to rest, thus making you feel sleepy.
I know, you might be mumbling right now that you need your mobile phone, at least. You need it as an alarm clock, you are waiting for an important call, or whatever your reason is. Sure, go ahead; let your mobile phone in. However, be responsible enough not to use it scrolling on social media posts until late at night. Put in on your bedside table, not beside you or under your pillow. Keep it beyond your reach so you won’t be tempted to say, “I’ll just check my emails while waiting to fall asleep,” or “Let me just take a quick look on social media.” Again, you’re in your bedroom to sleep, aren’t you?
#4 Write a to-Do-List
Another thing that makes you sleepless is when you keep thinking and planning what to do the next day. That sucks, right? Every time that happens, you end up being unproductive the next day because you’re too sleepy to do anything. Then why keep doing it? Why keep losing sleep just to plan for the next day, then fail to execute due to sleep deprivation?
I’m not saying that you should stop planning or thinking ahead of time. It’s good to be well-prepared! What I’m trying to tell you is to be more organized in making plans. Don’t just plan through your thoughts; put it on a paper or use a to-do list or a task app on your phone. When you’ve listed everything you need to do for the next day, put your pen or phone down and hit the sack. Make this a habit before going to bed, not when you’re in bed already.
#5 Avoid Caffeine 6 Hours Before Bedtime
Caffeine is a known stimulant found in coffee, tea, soda, chocolates, and energy drinks. It keeps us energetic and alert, which we definitely do not need when we are trying to get some sleep. However, there are times when even if you haven’t had any caffeine-containing foods or drinks before sleeping, you still just can’t fall asleep. Why is that so?
Well, caffeine doesn’t easily get flushed out minutes after your coffee intake. Caffeine stays and affects your system for 4-6 hours. Then it means that if you usually sleep at 10PM, then be caffeine-free starting at 4PM.
I hope you will start adopting these bedtime routines as soon as now. These natural ways might take more time before you can see their beneficial effects compared to the instant result that sleeping pills can offer. However, sleeping pills will take a toll later on; chronic use of sleeping pills has side effects that you might regret in the long run.
These are easy-to-follow routines, yet they are difficult to make into habits, particularly when what it takes is you needing to break your old habits—the habits that caused your sleep problems in the first place. So, I’m challenging you…choose one bedtime routine and do it daily for ten consecutive days. If you do that successfully, add another bedtime routine until you are able to practice all of the routines regularly.