You may be able to work hard and play hard, but are you sleeping hard those other eight hours of the day? A full night’s rest is just as necessary for your health and well-being as it is for your stamina and efficiency, and if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll feel it in the morning—and the rest of the day. With a few changes, however, you can get back on track with your sleep schedule and feel better by extension. Here’s how to get eight full hours of sleep.
Keep To a Schedule
Part of getting enough sleep is training your body to understand the division between work time and rest time. Go to sleep and get up at the same time, with no variations on weekends or holidays. While pushing your limits may work when you’re exercising—building strength and endurance—developing a sleep deficit doesn’t make you require less sleep. Skip sleep often, and your body starts to push back. Find a schedule that works best for you and all you do and stick to it. Also, while naps have their place, don’t take them in the evening or afternoon, or they’ll entirely throw off your sleep schedule.
Keep Things Comfy
If you’re having trouble sleeping, what’s the environment and ambiance like in your bedroom? The best places for sleeping are dark, with no opportunities for bright lights to creep in and tell your brain it’s time to wake up. Make sure it’s free from intrusive noises, whether from the street or in the house and ensure the temperature is just right. A mattress can mean all the difference in a good night’s sleep. Is it time to flip it over, or has it started to wear out? Can you feel every bump or spring underneath? If so, it’s probably time for a replacement.
No Caffeine in the Afternoon
Most of us love the jolt a good cup of coffee or tea can give us during the day. However, if you drink caffeinated beverages later in the afternoon, you’ll twist and turn in bed for half the night. While the initial buzz can wear off after an hour, caffeine in remains the body for six or more hours afterward. Limit caffeine to the morning, cutting yourself off by mid-afternoon. Keep in mind that you can stay alert in ways that don’t include caffeine, such as eating healthy snacks and doing some exercise during the day. But the absolute best way to remain sharp is to get enough sleep.
No Screens Means Sweet Dreams
When figuring out how to get eight full hours of sleep, remember to switch off all electronics. Resist checking email and texts, surfing the Internet, and watching TV in the hour before bed. Not only is all that entertainment keep your brain awake and active, but studies also show the bright light simulates sunlight and keeps your body from producing melatonin, which controls your sleep cycle. So, before you go to bed, turn off the TV and your phone. Psychologically speaking, it’s not good to worry about taking care of tomorrow, so don’t waste energy today doing so. Leave any unread texts for tomorrow—you’ll be thankful that you did when you’re so well-rested.