According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30% of US adults had a short sleep duration. You can read the data on CDC site by clicking here. As defined by CDC, short sleep duration is less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period.
In case you are in that 30 % of US adults who had a short sleep duration, I suggest you to try the following tips to improve both your sleep quality and your sleep duration.
#1 Set up the bedroom for sleeping.
You don't need a luxury one, but be sure to make your bedroom always in clean, neat, and tidy condition. Avoid putting the stuff which may disturb your sleep. The stuff like TV, laptops, smartphone, personal desktops, and the likes should not be there. This can be difficult but it won't help you to gain a good sleep when you were interrupted with the notifications from these devices.
Instead, try to put your favorite aromatherapy in your bedroom. Or replace the lightning in the room with illuminated and dimmed one. It is believed that red lights can help you have better sleep than a blue one.
If you had more budget, it is also a good choice to replace or upgrade your bed or mattress, pillow and that related stuff with the best quality one. This can be expensive, so make sure you had a budget for this one. Though, this is not mandatory. Remember that most of that stuff wear out after ten years.
Don't forget to make sure your A/C is regularly cleaned up by a professional. This is to make sure it blows a clean and healthy air.
If you had pets, it's the best way to keep them out of your bedroom. Because in the middle of the night, there is a possibility for them to interrupt your sleep.
The best practice is to keep your bedroom dark, cool, quiet, and clean.
#2 Consume the foods and beverages which help you sleep.
You need to avoid some beverages that can keep you awake like coffee. Because coffee contains caffeine, and this substance will keep you awake instead of sleepy. There are also other chemicals that will keep you awake an interfere your sleep like alcohol and nicotine.
The best thing is to keep the consumption of those substances in very minimal or if possible completely avoiding them.
While avoiding them, you are suggested to consume these ones:
- nuts and seeds like walnuts and almonds.
- milk and dairy like cheese, yogurt, and crackers.
- vegetables like lettuce
- warmed tea
- fruits like kiwi and banana
- whole grains
#3 Do physical activities wisely.
Personally, I just do a morning walk for several days during a week. Avoid doing heavy work out on the hours near on your bedtime. Because, doing so will keep you in sweat and stimulated, so in the end, it makes your body less comfortable.
However, for some people doing heavy work out near the bedtime can help make them tired enough and fall asleep easier.
So, be sure to listen to your own body. Find out whichever works for you.
#4 Do daytime naps wisely.
For most people, doing a nap so close to the bedtime can cause them to fall asleep harder. If you don't have the chance to take a nap during the day time, some experts suggested that you don't do it at all.
#5 Fight sleepiness before your bedtime.
In case you feel sleepy in some hours before your bedtime, then you need to fight it. Do some light activities to keep you awake until your bedtime. Otherwise, when you fall asleep before your bedtime, it is a good chance that you will wake up in the middle of the night and find it's hard to get back to sleep.
Some light activities you can do to fight drowsiness before your bedtime are:
- calling a friend (be sure to call, not texting!)
- walking around in your garden.
- reading a book. (not the one in your table or Kindle!)
- washing the dishes if there is any.
- relaxing bath with warmed water in your bathtub.
- listening to your favorite "slow" music. Listening to heavy metal won't do any good.
Be sure those activities did not trigger you to feel worried or anxiety too much.
#6 Listen to your own body in a better way.
This means you need to pay more attention to what you feel with your body, with your eyes, arms, feet, head, etc. Most of the time people ignore the signal from their body because their mind is too busy to worry about the other matters like jobs, weathers, kids, spouse, and other matters they encounter during the day.
Make sure you listen and notice your body signal in a better way, so you know that you are truly tired and need heading to your bedroom.
Don't force yourself to wake up in very late. Forcing your body to wake up in late-night will eventually build up a habit and over time will make you harder to get asleep when the bedtime comes.
#7 Relax yourself before going to sleep.
This means, put away any electronic devices when you're in your bedroom and preparing to sleep. Say no to late-night or middle-night television program. Avoid looking on any screen (smartphone, TV, tablets, laptops) at least 1 hour before your bedtime.
This kind of remedies can help you fall asleep:
- Lay yourself in your comfortable bed.
- Focus your attention on your breathing.
- Don't try to change your breathing rate, just focus and notice it, even better one: enjoy it.
- Let go anything come to your mind and tries to refocus your mind on your breathing rate.
- Keep doing it and enjoy it.
- You will eventually get more and more sleepy. Don't resist it.
- Before you realize you will eventually fell asleep.
Still, find it hard to get a good sleep? If your answer is yes, then it's the time for you to arrange a schedule to meet with your doctor. We don't suggest to take up any supplement or pills to help you sleep without meeting up with your doctor first.
Disclaimer: This is a general advice for everyone and not a personal medical advice from a doctor.