20 Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels by Improving the Quality of Your Sleep

Many people have trouble falling asleep, or find that they cannot stay asleep for long periods of time. We all need around eight hours of sleep a night, and without the right amount of sleep we can easily become irritable, depressed, sluggish, and prone to making mistakes. Given the addictive properties of sleeping pills, it is always better to try and find more simple solutions. Read on to discover twenty lifestyle modifications that will boost your energy levels by improving the quality of your sleep.

1) Make sure that your pillow is not causing aches and pains or making it harder to fall asleep. It is worth trying out many different kinds of pillows in order to find one that fully supports your neck. A pillow that is too low or too high will leave you with a stiff and aching neck, and this type of muscle strain will diminish the quality of your sleep before you even realize that you are in pain.

2) Make an effort to dim the lights in your rooms as you near bed time, because sleep experts say that low levels of light will stimulate your brain to produce the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.

3) If you want to have a snack in the evening, eat it at least an hour before going to bed. If you eat a lot in the evening, this causes your digestive system to work harder, and this in turn makes your sleep lighter and less refreshing. In addition, particularly fatty or spicy foods can cause acid reflux, and the associated discomfort may keep you awake for long periods.

4) It is best to keep your bedroom slightly cool rather than too warm, but any temperature that is too high or too low can encourage insomnia or poor sleep quality. Around 65° F is thought to be optimal.

5) Where possible, try to avoid taking any naps during the day. Even short naps can influence the quality of sleep that you will get when you go to bed at night, lightening your sleep and making it harder to go to bed at the right time. If you do feel tempted to nap, try to exercise your willpower and do some exercise that will produce endorphins. Even a brisk walk can serve this function and help to keep you awake for a few more hours.

6) If you find that your mind races when you are trying to fall asleep, or if you keep focusing on problems and tasks that you need to confront the next day, it might be a good idea to learn some relaxation techniques that you can practice before going to bed. Meditation and breathing exercises work for some people, while others can be soothed by simply picturing a peaceful and pleasant place as they lie in bed.

7) Do not get into the habit of repeatedly obsessing about the time on the clock during the night. This encourages you to feel anxiety and dread as you count down the hours until it is time to get up for work and anticipate how exhausted you will feel all day. The short bursts of restless sleep that this sort of fixation encourages will not leave you feeling refreshed, so set your alarm for the appropriate time and then ignore the clock any time that you are awake during the night.

8) Do not associate your bedroom with anything other than rest and sexual intimacy. If you have worked, exercised or watched television in your room, it will be harder for you to switch off your mind and fall into restful sleep.

9) If you do wake up during the night and are finding it hard to get back to sleep, sometimes it is better to get out of bed for a little while rather than simply lie there feeling miserable. Many people find that going into another room to read a chapter of a book is all that they need in order to start feeling appropriately sleepy again.

10) Try to stick to the same sleep schedule. Even though there will be some days on which it is acceptable for you to wake up at a later or earlier time, it is best for your body and the quality of your sleep if you go to bed and get up around the same time each day. This should also make it easier to fall asleep when you get into bed at night.

11) Try not to drink much alcohol near the time you go to bed. It is associated with restless sleep, more disturbing dreams, and more frequent awakenings (in part because its diuretic effects stimulate the production of urine).

12) It is also best to also drinking any non-alcoholic liquids very close to the time you go to bed. This will make it less likely that you will wake up with a full bladder many times during the night.

13) Wear comfortable clothing when you go to sleep, or sleep naked if that is more comfortable for you. If your clothing is too restrictive or warm, this is likely to disrupt your sleep.

14) If you can afford to, invest in a good quality bed that is extremely comfortable and spacious. Make sure that the mattress is firm enough to support your back, but soft enough to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your hip and shoulder joints.

15) Make your bedroom as quiet as possible. If you live in a noisy area or there are other people in the house who are still awake, try buying a set of soft ear plugs to block out extraneous sound.

16) As you approach bed time, focus on doing things that you find relaxing. Listen to soothing music, read a lightweight book, or take a bath.

17) Try to time any exercise or workouts so that you have finished them at least four hours before you go to bed. The endorphins in your body after exercise can make you feel more energetic and active, which will make it much harder to fall asleep.

18) Make sure that your bedroom is appropriately dark. Any sources of light (such as your cell phone or computer) might help keep you awake, or make it harder for you to fall asleep again if you happen to wake up during the night.

19) Do not drink coffee or caffeinated sodas after 6pm, because caffeine makes it more difficult to fall asleep and can also make it harder for you to get deep sleep. In addition, avoid cigarettes in the hours leading up to the time you go to bed. Like caffeine, cigarettes help keep you awake for longer. They also seem to be associated with lighter and lest restful periods of sleep.

20) If you sleep next to a partner, try to encourage that partner to follow the sensible guidelines here as well. Lying next to someone who is restless or has an inconvenient sleep schedule will impact on the quality of your own sleep.

If the above tips do not help you, and you find that you are getting only a few hours of sleep each night as a result of insomnia, then it is time to see your doctor. There are some illnesses and conditions that can interfere with sleep, so make sure to mention any other physical changes or bothersome symptoms when you do talk to your doctor about sleep problems.