There are lots of things you can do to sleep longer. Here are 10 ideas you can try. Some focus on maintaining sleep, some focus on getting to sleep, but most apply to both.
- Be tired. Doing physical exercise throughout the day will make your body welcome sleep. But be careful, strenuous exercise before bed can make it difficult to get to sleep. Slow stretching and yoga are good ways of releasing some extra energy if it's late.
- Wear the right gear. Eye masks and ear plugs will help keep you sleeping soundly while the rest of the world wakes up. They will also make it easier to get to sleep by blocking out distracting sounds and light.
- Sunlight. Seeing some sunlight in the morning is a good way of letting your body know that is the start of the day. When it gets dark your body will be expecting that it is the end of the day and ready for sleep.
- Avoid screens. The light from screens can confuse your body clock and force your brain to stay awake when it gets dark. Try not to use screens once the natural light has faded.
- Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol affect the quality and length of your sleep. Keep them to a minimum, especially after midday, and avoid them completely if you can.
- Relax before bed. Do something peaceful before trying to sleep. Read, have a hot caffeine-free drink, listen to calming music, take a bath or maybe even meditate. Slow your body and mind down gently.
- Sleep pattern. Establish which hours you will sleep in. It is best to follow the patterns of natural light and sleep when it is dark outside. If you want to sleep longer during the night then it is best not to sleep at other times and so avoid napping in the day.
- The bedroom. Your bedroom should have comfortable levels of light, noise and temperature. You should also remove anything that's preventing sleep like scary posters, standby lights and clocks. Seeing the time can cause stress and make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Only lay in bed for sleeping. It is important that your brain associates your bed with sleeping and not writing, watching tv or anything else.
- Bedding. Experiment with different mattresses, pillows and covers to make the most comfortable bed you can.
The main lesson here is to be aware of the things that can cause you problems sleeping. Some of these tips will work better for you than others, find the things that work for you.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
January 23, 2020