How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. How you feel when you wake up affects how you feel through the day.
Better sleep makes you happier.
After a sleepless night, you may feel more irritable and short-tempered. Once getting your "normal" sleep, your mood often returns to your "normal." And when you sleep especially well, you may feel wonderful. If you have experienced all the above, you are not alone.
But, how do you get better sleep without medication?
Numerous studies have shown that sleep affects mood and also your state of mind affects sleep. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research has shown that better sleep increases happiness. Most importantly, this study has pinpointed what state of mind improves sleep.
This is the key to better sleep, which leads to increased happiness.
Researchers found that participants who went to bed with greater inner peace reported falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, getting better sleep quality, and feeling happier the next day.
There you have it—serenity!
Struggling to get to sleep or repeatedly waking up during the night doesn't have to be our "normal" sleep patterns; waking up feeling not so great doesn't have to be our "normal" mood. We can have better.
Here are 12 tips on how to calm the mind and induce sleep for a good night's sleep every night.
Tip #1: Disconnect from work at least 2 hours before sleep.
Sometimes, we try hard to not think about work, but our brains continue thinking and stressing about the workday. That's because our brains don't operate like a light switch. Those racing thoughts can keep us up from falling asleep.
In order for us to rest well, we have to wind down and detach from work both physically and psychologically. As people say, "Out of sight, out of mind." When it's time to call it a day, power down the computer, close the laptop, and clean up the desk.
Give yourself a transi tion period to quiet your mind. Set an alarm if you need to. So, by the time you hit the pillow, you will be ready to sleep like a baby.
Tip #2: Unwind to relax before bed.
Stress and anxiety keep us alert for the fight-or-flight response, but they also make it hard for us to fall asleep. Lying in bed counting sheep may not be enough to help us to drift off to sleep.
We have to let go of that tension, allowing our minds and bodies to relax. There are different ways to unwind.
Deep breathing, mindfulness and stretching can ease stress. Perhaps that's why meditation and yoga are the most commonly practiced methods to manage stress.
Aromatherapy can reduce anxiety, and music can promote sleep. Among essential oils, lavender is one of the most popular choices to induce sleep, and rose is probably the most luxurious choice to calm your mind and enhance your mood. Try pairing aromatherapy with relaxing music to get a better night's sleep.
Tip #3: Write down a to-do list for tomorrow.
Very often we don't manage to accomplish everything we have set out to do for that day. And the thoughts about those unfinished items can creep up at night, affecting our sleep.
Clearing our minds before bed is critical for a good night's sleep. One way to do it is to transfer the thoughts to paper. Before bed, take five minutes to write down a list of items that need to get done tomorrow. If you have a long list, highlight three top-priority ones to help you stay focused on the most important tasks.
By doing that, you also set a clearer and more specific goal for tomorrow. When you wake up in the morning, you will feel more motivated.
Tip #4: Give thanks every night.
Our experiences during the day have an impact on our emotions, Although there might be ups and downs, going over the things for which we feel grateful makes us feel better. Those positive feelings counteract any residual stress and anxiety of the day, helping us to quiet our minds with positivity.
Writing down the moments of kindness and joy of the day can help us to relive the good experiences without cluttering our minds.
Also, a great thing about keeping a gratitude journal is that you have an inspiring collection to look back on when you need a boost to your positivity.
Tip #5: Create a comfortable sleep-inducing environment.
It's a natural process that we stay awake in the daytime and sleep at night. This sleep-wake cycle is actually regulated by our circadian rhythms (part of our bodies' internal clock), which respond to the environment. A cool, dark environment helps us to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer.
A dark environment signals to the brain that it's time to rest. So, dimming the lights and closing the blackout curtains should be part of our bedtime routines.
A cool—but not cold—environment can make us sleep more comfortably. Our core body temperatures, fluctuating with our circadian rhythms, drop in the evening to prepare us for sleep and reach the lowest level during our sleep. An ideal room temperature is around 65F (18.3C), give or take. Adjust your thermostat to find the temperature that gives you the most sleep comfort.
Tip #6: Avoid screen time during your bedtime routine.
Electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, computers, and TVs, emit blue light which is like the bright blue sky on a sunny day. That blue light tricks our brains into thinking it is daytime, affecting our circadian rhythms. As a result, those electronics interfere with our abilities to prepare for restful sleep.
Avoiding using these devices in the digital age is hard but not impossible. For example, we can use the clock instead of the cell phone to check the time; we can read a paper book instead of reading on the tablet to relax.
As hard as it might be, you will get better sleep and increased happiness. That makes it worthwhile.
Tip #7: Eat the biggest meal of the day no later than 3 hours before bed.
When there is food in the stomach, the body will have to raise its metabolism to digest it, and digestion takes time. So, eating a heavy meal close to bedtime can cause sleep problems. Also, let's not forget the potential weight gain that comes along with indigestion and acid reflux.
But when we are hungry it is hard to fall asleep. Consider snacks that digest promptly, like a piece of fruit. Cherries, grapes, and strawberries have high melatonin content which promotes sleep.
A light, healthy meal can take your hunger away without leaving you feeling guilty.
Tip #8: Avoid caffeine within 4–6 hours of bedtime.
As any coffee lover knows, caffeine is a stimulant that can keep us awake. But some of us may not know the stimulating effect can last 4 to 6 hours.
That means if we want to sleep at 11 pm, we'd better avoid caffeine from 5 pm on. So, drinking a cup of coffee to get us through some extra work hours is really not a good idea. Consider a caffeine-free beverage such as rose hydration that can calm your mind and perk you up.
Tip #9: Give up the nightcap.
Although a nightcap may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, disrupting sleep later in the night and decreasing overall sleep quality.
It is best to avoid drinking alcohol wit hin 3 hours of bedtime. Try a caffeine-free herbal tea that is soothing, such as chamomile.
Tip #10: Let the body cool down before hitting the pillow.
As mentioned earlier, our core body temperatures fall to prepare us for sleep. We can mimic that night-time drop in body temperature to induce sleep.
Taking a warm bath about 1 to 2 hours before bed can trigger a sleepy reaction.
Tip #11: If you can't sleep, don't stay in bed.
Our brains can be trained to see our beds as a place of slumber making falling asleep easier. The trick is once your head hits the pillow, do only one thing which is sleep.
If you struggle to fall asleep, tossing and turning in bed just leads to frustration. Get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing or boring without screen time. Return to bed when you feel sleepy.
Tip #12: Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
Our bodies have an internal clock. Following a consistent sleep routine maintains the timing of the body's internal clock. This can help us fall asleep more easily at night and wake up naturally in the morning.
Plan out a sleep routine that works for you, and stick to it every day, even on weekends.
Even if achieving the perfect sleep routine is not entirely practical, making just a few small changes can improve your sleep and increase your happiness dramatically. Sweet dreams!
If you feel happier after trying out these tips, please share this article. Spreading happiness is a great feeling too. We continue to search for science-based information about happiness. If you want to share some news with us or tell us how we can improve, we'd love to hear from you!
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