Getting a full night's sleep has to be one of the most elusive achievements in life. Giving first place a run for its money is being able to wake up the following morning feeling rested. I'd bet solid money that most people would do almost anything to easily slip into a solid slumber. However, there are actually quite a few things you should never do to get yourself to sleep no matter how desperate you are to drift off to the dream world.
For the times when your playlist of calming ocean waves and outdoor nature sounds simply aren't doing the trick, it can be downright infuriating to chase after sleep that just doesn't seem to come. That's why it can be incredibly tempting to try any remedy for rest that you might find while perusing the internet in the wee hours of the morning. Rather than rolling the dice on what will or won't help you get to bed faster and easier, you might want to make sure you're not sabotaging your own slumber schedule. So check out some of these things you should never do to get yourself to fall asleep and you'll be catch some sleep in no time.
1. Mix Up Medicines
You might think that certain medicines — even over the counter ones — can provide a quick solution for your sleep woes, but you'd be mistaken. As sleep expert Dr. Michael Grandner told Health, medications affect everyone differently and shouldn't be a substitute for sleep aids. If your wakefulness is interfering with your daily life, you might want to talk to your doctor about options instead of going the DIY pharmacist route.
2. Work Out
A vigorous session at the gym can easily tire you out, but you shouldn't exercise to get yourself to sleep. According to the official site of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), cardio workouts before bed can actually make it harder to wind down for bed. If you still want to practice some form of fitness, try something light like yoga or basic stretches.
3. Have A Rich Snack
A full stomach doesn't necessarily equal a full night's sleep. As it turns out, heavy foods can make it harder to fall asleep due to the added stress that puts on your digestive system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
4. Take A Hot Shower
Although a steamy shower is usually relaxing, it's not a great way to help you fall asleep. According to the NSF, "hot water from the bath will spike your body temperature, so it needs time to cool off again." So you may want to skip the sauna before you snooze.
5. Push Yourself
If you want to make room for a big dinner, you might have a light lunch. This logic is great for working up an appetite, but not for facilitating a restful slumber. As sleep clinic director Dr. Robert Rosenberg told Everyday Health, depriving yourself of sleep in the hopes that you will catch up on lost shut-eye is unhealthy and impractical. Don't create a vicious sleep cycle by trying to bank your hours.
6. Try Tea Time
It's best to leave the tea-sipping to Kermit the frog since this beverage could be caffeinated. As Grandner told Health, "black, green, or white tea leaves do indeed contain the stimulant." Try herbal blends that are bedtime-friendly if you still want to enjoy a warm cup of tea at night.
7. Pick Up The Phone
I'm the first to admit that I reach for the nearest gadget as soon as I'm bored in bed. According to the NSF, you shouldn't use electronics to put yourself to sleep. Why is technology bad for bed? Tablets, computers, and smartphones suppress melatonin — a sleep hormone — which makes it difficult for you to fall into a regular sleep cycle, as the NSF further noted. Perhaps creating a technology curfew can help you maintain a healthy bedtime schedule.
8. Get A Jumpstart
As Director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University in Toronto Dr. Colleen Carney told Reader's Digest, going to bed early can worsen sleeplessness. So what should you do instead? Carney said that, "restricting your time in bed sends a message to your body that you are more active and need the sleep when you try for it." A less punctual approach to bedtime could be your best bet.
9. Hit The Brakes
Unlike a light, you can't really shut your mind off with a flip of the switch. Not allowing yourself time to process the day's events can keep you up at night, as Grandner told Health. Giving yourself the opportunity and space to mindfully sort through any mental clutter will help calm your mind before bed.