Desperate for Z’s?

Here are some top tips for sleeping like a baby — rest assured.

As you mature, the idea of a good night’s sleep can often feel like a distant memory. Between courses, assignments, college, work, parenting, etc., it can really take a toll on one’s sleep cycle. Besides the invention of coffee into our world, here’s another good news for you — by practicing a few key rules for sleeping well, that ever-elusive, well-rested wake-up can be yours again. With my studies and work, plus I have to keep to my duties of friends and family, getting enough quality is quite rare these days, so it’s safe to say that these sleep tips couldn’t come at a better time.

Do any of you feel me? The irony of the situation is that, as a young adult who is constantly on the go, as you realize time is passing by even quicker and quicker, you’d think that by the end of the day you’d be wiped out and fall asleep in a heartbeat, which normally I do, once my head touches the pillow, I’m out. But there are those nights where you can be in a constant state of fight or flight with so much going on that it can feel impossible to truly rest. To make things even more complicated, in the chance that your body allows you to fall asleep at a reasonable time, staying asleep can be yet another challenge. Sometimes, even if you have nothing to be worried about and you’ve set yourself up for sleep success, along comes the racing thoughts. The anxiety in question? If you don’t fall asleep fast, the next day will be ruined.

For some time now, we’ve been looking for ways to get proper sleep. Because we imagine others out there must be feeling the same and we want to help, so keep scrolling for sleep tips that’ll support anyone whose striving for success every day because with success, one needs proper sleep.

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, where should we start?

The first step to balancing your sleep schedule is understanding the key hormone that keeps us awake — cortisol. An excessive amount of cortisol can make it hard to fall asleep. Some common cortisol boosters are stress and overactivity, both of which, of course, we all know pretty well.

It’s easier said than done, but balancing your activity and stress levels will help you sleep better at night. Breaks are your friend so make sure to take a rest in between your studies and work — go embrace nature, meet up or call with a friend, treat yourself to some coffee or bubble tea if that’s what you prefer, sit on the couch in silence, read a book, or really anything that’ll help you feel relaxed.

Another stress-reducing tip is taking a minute to meditate. While it might be hard finding 20 minutes to disconnect and un wind, if you have a few moments alone, try a micro meditation, even a minute can do a world of good. It might not seem like a lot, but a little breathing goes a long way.

What role does diet play in our sleep quality?

What you eat impacts your ability to fall asleep. Did you know that low blood sugar boosts cortisol levels? Because of this, it’s crucial that we are eating three balanced meals a day. Easier said than done, we know. But making the effort to plan out meals in advance has really helped.

Riding the blood sugar roller coaster interrupts your sleep and will cause you to wake up during the night. But reminding yourself of the following truth will transform your ability to prioritize a sleep-healthy diet: when you’re cooking for your friends and family and you can find the time to make sure others are getting all the nutrients they need, then can do the same for yourself — you are your own chef.

Another pro tip? You can write out tomorrow’s to-do list before you go to sleep. Doing this helps you get tomorrow’s anxieties out of your head so they’re not keeping you up at night. Thinking about recommitting to your journaling practice? Bedtime is the best time.

How do we ensure we stay asleep?

Falling asleep is one thing, but staying asleep can be a completely different challenge. We’ve all been there — jolting up at 3 a.m. only to realize you have hours before your day begins. The typical response? Panic — the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

If you often wake up in the middle of the night, try your best to stay calm. Prepare a mantra for yourself to talk yourself back to sleep. If you just can’t go back to sleep, we recommend getting out of bed to do something relaxing. This can include curling up with a book or writing in a journal.

While you’re going through this process, be sure to listen to your body. When you feel tired again, try getting back into bed and going to sleep. As someone who regularly wakes up filled with anxiety, we found this tip extremely helpful. Now, you can calmly get out of bed without any guilt.

What steps should a healthy sleep routine include?

In order to get a good night’s sleep, it can be beneficial to stay on top of the following:

  • Power down your phone and turn off any electronics at least an hour before bed. And if you have a TV in your bedroom, time to take it out.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime routine. Try reading a book, meditating, or anything that will help you calm down.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Remember — your bedroom is your sleep sanctuary.

Let’s not forget the sleep aids we all hear about, there’s a time and a place for them. Our bodies should naturally be able to fall asleep with the right preparation. Taking melatonin, for example, can be great for shift workers or if you’re experiencing jet lag. But to depend on it in order to sleep is a disservice to your body’s natural abilities. A nighttime, relaxing tea can be effective as well, plus most of the ingredients are natural and low-risk. However, it’s important to consult your doctor before adding supplements to your routine.

Last but not least, medications like Benadryl certainly do work to knock you out, but they will not help restore your sleep cycle. They can also be addictive, so it’s best to avoid them if possible.

What’s the most important thing to remember that can improve our sleep?

It’s just a fact — managing your sleep as you mature and enter the real world as an adult can be stressful, especially when everything hits you all at once, and sometimes you have to sacrifice precious sleep. I remember when I just graduated high school and moved to a different country all by myself, it was difficult and I had to adjust to everything but that experience had a significant impact on my mental and physical health that I’ll always be thankful for. Best piece of advice? Remember that this is just a phase and it will pass. If you have a partner, divide and conquer when it comes to monitoring your lives. And be sure to give yourself grace when it comes to determining sleep success. It’s nearly inevitable, you’re not going to get those eight hours you’re used to. If you’re able to get five hours of continuous sleep a night, you’re on the right track.

If you or someone you know is struggling with sleep and have tried just about everything, don’t hesitate to reach out to your physician or therapist for additional help. A night of good sleep is a foundation to your performance as an individual — we all deserve to make rest a priority.

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