How well you sleep at night can greatly affect how you feel during your waking hours. If you feel sluggish or moody during the day, it could well be because you are not getting a good enough sleep at night. Many times, the secret to improving your sleeping habits can be found in your daily routine. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make an enormous difference in the quality of your nightly rest. We’ve compiled a list of ways you can get a better night’s sleep so you can be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.
1. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day—even on weekends, holidays, and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps to promote better sleep at night. However, if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Agonizing over falling asleep can make it even more difficult to sleep.
2. Create a nighttime ritual.
Do the same things every night to tell your body that it’s time to wind down. This might mean taking a hot bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness.
Try not to use a TV or other electronic devices before bed; some research suggests that doing so may interfere with sleep.
3. Avoid daytime naps.
Long naps during the day can interfere with nighttime sleep—particularly if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you do nap during the day, try to limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.
4. Include physical activity in your daytime routine.
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. Careful, though; if you exercise too close to bedtime, you might find that you’re too energized to fall asleep. If you find that this is an issue for you, try to exercise earlier in the day.
5. Try to manage your stress.
When you have too much to do—and too much to think about—your sleep is likely to suffer. To help yourself get a better night’s sleep, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities, and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take breaks when you need them. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and set it aside for tomorrow.