I struggle to sleep. I mainly struggle to go to sleep. Sharing a bed with my husband has informed me that some people do not share the same struggles. He goes to sleep in minutes and rarely has a bad night of sleep. I could blame my sleepless nights on the years I spent working the night shift or the years spent with my nights interrupted by babies and toddlers, but I have never been a good sleeper.
To improve my energy during the week, I have been working on strategies to improve my sleep. Some have helped tremendously, and some of the same steps may help you.
No Caffeine After Lunch
This is pretty self-explanatory, but limiting caffeine intake has helped tremendously. On days that I consume caffeine after lunch, I do not sleep well no matter how exhausted I may feel.
While there are prescription sleep aids to try such as Ambien, it is wise to try non-medicated sleep assistance first.
Physicians will likely encourage patients to try over-the-counter sleep aids prior to prescription assistance. One popular over-the-counter sleep aid is melatonin. It usually helps people to go to sleep, but it is often not used to help people stay asleep.
This may be surprising, but limiting sugar can help you have a better night sleep. I discovered this benefit after completing 30 days of a sugar-free Whole 30 diet. During the 30 days of no sugar, my sleep was excellent. On days of significant sugar amounts following the diet, I struggled to sleep at night.
To read about one writer’s experience with the Whole 30, click here.
My mom gifted me with a weighted blanket for Christmas. The blanket contains 25 pounds worth of miniature weights spaced evenly throughout the blanket. At first, the blanket did not help because it felt too heavy. After trying it only on my legs a few nights, I slowly got used to the weight. Now, I cover almost all the way up with it, and I sleep hard with the blanket.
Limit electronics before bed
We are guilty of lying in bed scrolling through articles, Instagram and Facebook as we are trying to go to sleep. Studies have indicated that the light emitted by smartphones, tablets and computers can make it difficult to go to bed. I have found it helps to limit temptation if I plug my phone in the bathroom prior to bed. With my phone in a nearby room, it also forces me to get up out of bed when my alarm goes off.
When I exercise on a routine basis, my body and brain are so worn out, that I cannot help but fall asleep. In addition, routine exercise helps to limit my anxiety which helps me to fall asleep faster at night.