When you think of a perfect night of sleep, do you imagine 8 hours of uninterrupted, almost dead-like rest? For most, this sounds like a heavenly dream. But in reality, it’s easier said than done. In fact, it’s more common, and actually more natural, for humans to rouse multiple times per night. But awakenings are just 1 of the common ways that sleepers fail to get an adequate amount of Zzzs each night.
Why can’t I sleep longer?
Too many awakenings
The standard sleep cycle includes regular awakenings. But individuals dealing with stressful moments in life can experience more frequent disruptions to their natural sleep cycle. Sudden noises, obtrusive lights, or less than ideal temperatures in the bedroom also have a lasting impact on your awakenings. A healthy number of awakenings is somewhere around 4 times per night. If you start waking up more often, you’ll likely feel less refreshed the next day. To know how many times you wake up each night, download the free SleepScore App.
Not scheduling sleep
It may sound like a simple concept, but many sleepers fail to calculate what time they need to get to bed by in order to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Going to bed too late when you know you need to wake up early is a recipe for a groggy day.
Consuming too much alcohol in the evening, sipping a few too many cups of coffee in the afternoon, or simply failing to find a healthy outlet to relieve stress can all factor into how many hours of Zzzs you can get. All of these daytime choices can impact how long it takes you to fall asleep, shift through all the necessary sleep cycles, and stay asleep. All together, that contributes to a less than restful night for you. You can learn about how alcohol affects your sleep by downloading this free app.
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How to get those Zzzs back
Create an optimal bedroom
Awakenings are the bane of a sleeper’s existence. Often, awakenings are a result of a sub-optimal bedroom. Your bedroom should not only be dark and cool (60-68F is perfect for Zzzs) but should also block sudden loud noises that pull you out of slumber. Whether it’s creating a more sound-proof room, or investing in a quality sound machine to mask noises, reducing the occurrence of sudden sounds can bring you more hours of sleep.
Calculate your bedtime
Take a few minutes to calculate a bedtime that allows for 7-9 hours of sleep. If you have to wake up at 6am, try to get in bed by 10pm. This allows for 8 hours in bed, and close to that for time asleep. You can set a bedtime reminder on your phone so you won’t forget to hit the hay on time. As an added bonus, doing this consistently will help build a regular sleep schedule. Over time, your body will get tired at the same time every day and getting to sleep can get easier!
Be mindful of your choices
It might be hard to make the connections from day to night, but your daily lifestyle habits play a major role in what your sleep looks like. Keep these few ideas and tips in mind to start getting meaningful winks.
Cut off your caffeine at least 8 hours before your bedtime.
Limit your alcohol intake, especially in the evening.
Get 30 minutes of daily activity 5 days per week, preferably early in the day.
Drink plenty of water during the day.
Take up stress-relieving hobbies, like journaling, puzzles, or reading (whatever sounds fun to you!).
Track your sleep so you can learn about your rest and the areas you should work on.
Getting more sleep takes effort and mindful changes; there’s no magical fix to get your 7-9 hours. But making incremental adjustments in your life can result in a happier evening.
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