These days, it’s practically normal for most people in New Orleans to get fewer than 8 hours of sleep. With people working longer hours and leading busier lives, the old standard of 8 hours is getting harder and harder to many to get consistently. Whether or not you’re able to squeeze in the proper amount of hours into your sleep schedule, getting restful sleep can be just as important as the length of time you sleep.
Here are a few ways to ensure that you get a more restful sleep, no matter how many hours you get in, to help you feel refreshed when morning comes!
First of all, keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
Many people depend on some sort of background noise to get to sleep, whether it be the TV, stereo, or a fan. However, this noise, while it may be soothing and help you get to sleep, can cause disturbances while you’re asleep. The brain will continue to process what it’s hearing, and you may find yourself not as well rested in the morning. Beyond disrupting your sleep, distractions such as the stereo or TV can keep you up longer than you need to be if you find yourself paying attention to them.
Be conscious of what you’re putting in your body before you go to bed.
Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime can keep you awake and alert longer than you may like. While many of us depend on caffeine throughout the day, whether it be coffee or soda, it can remain in your body for up to 14 hours! If it’s at all possible, try to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages anywhere from 4-6 hours before bed, depending on your reaction and tolerance to it.
Many people try to use alcohol to get to sleep as well. While it may seem like a quick and easy way to relax before bed, alcohol can actually cause you to toss and turn in your sleep, which will leave you feeling more exhausted in the morning.
It’s also important to eat right, regularly.
Try not to go to bed hungry, but don’t eat anything too filling or heavy right before bed. Generally, a good rule of thumb to use is to avoid eating anything from 1-2 hours before going to bed. If you need a snack before bed, try eggs, or peaches. The old trick of drinking milk before bed to help go to sleep is actually true as well. Milk contains tryptophan (much like your Thanksgiving turkey), which helps to promote sleep.
When going to bed, try to relax as much as possible.
While worries and stresses may tend to pop up in your head when you’re trying to rest, your bed should remain a stress-free zone. Allow yourself to keep your mind clear, and deal with stresses tomorrow. Reading, taking a warm bath, or meditating to get your mind off of the day’s events can help you get in a more relaxed state of mind before bed-time.
When trying to get to sleep, keep your pets off the bed!
While cuddling with your dog or cat may be a great stress relief at the end of a long day, when they move around at night it can cause disturbances in your sleep that leave you feeling tired in the morning. If you want to have some time with your furry friend, do so before you turn in, and then allow yourself the privacy and comfort of an animal free bed!
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