For many people, the day-to-day rigor can keep your mind churning and your body tossing and turning until the alarm starts blaring in your ear the next morning. And why does that alarm go off so soon after you fall asleep?
Studies show that 57% of Americans regularly hit the snooze button after their alarm clock first goes off.
While most people think that catching “just a few more minutes” of sleep will help them wake up more easily, the truth is actually the opposite.
Sleep stages are important when it comes to waking up. That’s where sleep inertia comes in. Sleep inertia refers to the transitional period of delayed performance following waking. When you wake up from deep Stage 3 or 4 sleep, sleep inertia is that groggy feeling of dragging your feet and not being able to ‘wake up’ all the way.
Sleep inertia is at its shortest when we wake from light sleep and waking from REM sleep tends to fall between the two.
Since we’re typically in lighter or REM sleep in the morning, we’re able to wake with minimal sleep inertia–in a perfect world. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement), the eye moves rapidly in various directions.
If a lack of restful sleep and worries about the day ahead lead you to hit the snooze button one time too many, you’re not alone.
Here’s how you can kick the grumps to the curb and make the most of your morning routine.
1. Don’t Take Your Electronics to Bed
As tempting as it may be, reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up can derail your whole day . Checking social media and email can both be massive time sucks, leaving you with less time for your morning routine and rushing to catch the bus.
Everyone understands how important it is for you to check your Facebook feed for the 22nd time of the day right before you go to bed. But believe it or not, science says that using devices before bed adversely affects your quality of sleep.
WebMD goes as far as saying shutting off your devices earlier is the number one way to get a better night’s sleep.
We’re living in the age of technology, so it’s quite common for us to be spending most of our time in front of an electronic screen. It could be a TV, computer, or smartphone, but the effects are the same, especially when it comes to bedtime.
After a long day, many of us may think it’s a good idea to relax by taking your smartphone or laptop to bed, and a lot of us like to watch TV, but we should think again.
These electronics emit a blue light, which affects melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body when the sun goes down to induce sleep. But if you’re looking at a smartphone before snoozing off, guess what happens?
To make sure you are well-rested in the morning, avoid bringing these devices with you to bed. Instead, make sure to give yourself time to wind down and provide a suitable sleeping environment. Turn your phone off or set it to night mode and turn your TV off before you fall asleep.
2. Sleep Environment
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but first and foremost, make sure your bed is comfy. Splurge on the right mattress, grab some good pillows, and make your bed in good sheets.
Before you settle in for the night, check and adjust the room temperature. Studies have shown that the optimal sleeping temperature for most adults is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, hit the lights. LEDs and other lights from electronics can cause just as much disruption to your sleep cycle as a glowing tablet screen. If you can’t get your bedroom dark enough, try using a sleeping mask to help you get better rest.
And finally, make sure your space is quiet. Noisy neighbors? Try using an ambient noise device to drown out sounds, and lull you to sleep even faster.
If you can’t stand the sound of silence, or you wake up at every little sound, white noise may be a great bedtime option for you. It helps keep the sound in the room consistent and blocks out sudden noises that may wake you up.
Alcohol, Sugar, and Caffeine are not recommended. The water is good. Herbal tea is good. Fruits and vegetables are good. You know what’s healthy and what isn’t. The food and drink you put in your body are your own source of fuel.
Some people say that a nightcap before bedtime helps them sleep. But medical experts report that alcohol can cause heartburn and lead to reflux problems. And since alcohol is a diuretic, you may make trips to the bathroom during the night, which can affect deep sleep.
This is not to say you need to become a teetotaler who never eats any sweets or drinks any coffee. But generally speaking, save the binge eating and drinking for the weekends. The healthier your appetite during the weekdays, the better you’ll sleep at night.
You can purchase a white noise machine, keep a playlist running, or just keep a fan on throughout the night.
Are you still awake? Good. So, try putting these tips into practice. Not only will you feel more rested, but you may also find that you actually need fewer hours of sleep to get that rejuvenated feeling. It’s a win-win, for your mind and body.
We have finally made it to the last piece of the puzzle or the first, depending on how you look at it – the mattress. Sleeping like a baby or tossing and turning through the night can have a lot to do with what you are sleeping on.
We all have a sophisticated network of capillaries under our skin that carries blood through the body. It doesn’t matter what position you sleep in; there’s always one part of your body that gets compressed. A bed that is too hard might cause reduced blood flow and discomfort.
If you don’t feel comfortable, you roll around during the night, which can interrupt your sleep each time even though it restores blood flow. Conversely, a bed that is too soft poses problems of its own. For instance, you might sink in too deep and experience neck, shoulder, or back pain.
Finding the right mattress for you can pose a challenge, but arming yourself with valuable information will help you come to the right decision. You shouldn’t be afraid to try out new things; the technology behind mattresses has come a long way.
Manufacturers now use various approaches and often combine different materials for better comfort. If you have an old and uncomfortable bed, you owe it to yourself to get a new one.
3. Exercise during the day
Exercising two or three hours before bedtime can increase body temperature and cortisol, the stress hormone, and make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Instead, work out earlier in the day. Then in the evening, take a stroll to unwind before sliding into bed.
Make an evening ritual for yourself that will signal to your body that it’s almost time to rest. Cut screen time at least one to two hours before bedtime; those bright screens confuse our brain about what time it is, leading to more choppy sleep.
After you’ve unplugged, meditation is a great way to unwind and prepare our bodies for sleep.
Start simply by just visualizing a dream you’d like to have to relax. If you find you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, relax, focus on sleeping, and try to visualize where your dream left off.