These Sleep Factors May Explain Why You Don't Feel Very Rested

how to get better sleep
Photo by Alexandra Gorn

Many people find themselves lying in bed with thoughts from the day racing through their minds, making it nearly impossible to wind down and fall asleep. When they finally manage to get a little rest it feels as though they’re being woken up by an alarm almost instantly. Plenty of people are used to living this way.

According to the CDC 1 in 3 American adults struggle to get the sleep they need. Life can get in the way of maintaining a good sleep routine. Regardless of what's keeping you up at night, there are small changes you can make to improve your sleep quality.

Keep a consistent sleep schedule

The biggest thing is understanding the importance of a consistent sleep schedule. Some jobs are not super steady and have you sleeping at different times each day. Occasionally we have a fun night out planned or an event to attend. There will always be days when it is impossible to get to bed at the same time as the night before. This isn’t the healthiest thing for your body so limiting the sporadic bedtimes as much as possible is the best thing for you.

Try not to sleep in on the weekends

You have an internal clock that works to help you complete tasks and function properly throughout the day. Getting this set right is essential to getting the most out of each day and being able to wind down at the end of it.

Something that can affect this internal clock is sleeping in on the weekend. This used to be a habit of mine but by breaking it I have noticed a big change for the better. It can be nice to have something to look forward to at the end of a busy work week. When your shift gets over and you have the next day off, it is common to stay up late and enjoy it, letting yourself sleep in the next day. You’ll feel better if you only do this rarely. Not only will you find yourself with more energy to complete tasks, but you’ll also have a little extra time to do so.

Avoid naps

Naps can also play a role in messing up your internal clock so limit these as much as possible. Of course, you need to listen to your body. Sometimes a nap is just what you need! But, limiting these or at least not allowing yourself to take one every day is the way to go.

Eat right and move more

Another thing that can help you sleep better is proper nutrition and exercise! Eating a balanced diet and limiting caffeine is a known way to improve your sleep quality. Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages late at night, close to when you plan on going to bed, will keep you up. Eating late has the same effect.

Exercising at some point in your day, but not too close to when you plan on going to bed, is also a solid way to prepare your body for rest. Sometimes we have to squeeze a workout in when we can but just know that there are studies that prove working out too late at night will keep you up. Aerobic exercise for example releases endorphins that have this effect.