For something we spend half our life doing, a lot of us are pretty awful and sleeping. Here are our top 10 tips for falling asleep faster, getting quality rest, and waking up easier in the morning.
10. Prepare A Worthy Bed
While your bed probably isn't the primary cause of insomnia, snoring, or other sleep problems, it can certainly contribute to your comfort at night. Make sure you're using the right pillow based on your sleep type and when it comes time to buy a new mattress, make sure you shop smart. Once you know it isn't your bed, you can start getting to the bottom of your sleep issues. Image: Daehyun Park.
9. Eat Better
What you eat can greatly affect how you sleep, even during the early half of the day. Eat breakfast first thing in the morning to sleep better at night and make sure it's a big one. After eating well throughout the day, avoid eating spicy or junk foods at night. And remember: no booze! Not only will it not help you get to sleep, it'll cause you to snore all night, too. Image: D Sharon Pruitt.
8. Wake Up Pleasantly, Not Roughly
The days of the ever-annoying *bzzt*-*bzzt*-*bzzt* alarms are over. Instead of being jerked awake by an old clock, consider getting a smart alarm app for your phone, like our favourites for iPhone and Android. Then, try waking yourself up more comfortably. If you need a bit more of a push, of course, we've got more methods for manipulating yourself to wake up. And, whenever possible, do it without stimulants -- caffeine can wreak havoc with your brain and body. Image: Lars Plougmann.
7. Exercise In The Morning
Exercising in the morning or afternoon -- not at night -- can help deepen your sleep and make sure you fall asleep quicker, according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation. If you aren't much of an exerciser, there's no better time than now to upgrade your health and fitness routine than now. Image: lu-lu.
6. Fix Your Sleeping Position
You may not realise it over the course of the night, but your sleeping position could not be great for your body -- or the quality of shuteye you get. Find out which sleeping style is best for you and make a conscious effort to fix it when you go to bed. You'll wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning.
5. Cool Yourself Off At Night
Cooling down your body temperature makes a huge difference in how easy it is to fall asleep, but that can be hard to do when it's hot outside (or when your significant other has body temperature nearing the surface of the sun). From DIY air conditioners to cooling pillows to more extreme methods, we've got the lowdown on staying cool while you sleep. Just make sure you don't wake up freezing in the morning -- that's never a fun way to start the day. Image: Rob.
4. Get The Perfect Amount Of Sleep
Not everyone needs the same exact amount of sleep, but with a little trial and error, you should find your sweet spot pretty easily. Count back seven-and-a-half hours from when you need to wake up and make sure you get to bed at that time -- then adjust accordingly. Of course, you could also try a web app like Sleepyti.me to help you calculate the perfect number of hours, too.
3. Learn To Nap Like A Pro
If you feel yourself getting drowsy during the day, you might be tempted to nap -- but that can be disastrous for your sleep schedule if done incorrectly. Learn to master the power nap, then calculate the best time to nap and crank one out then (if you have a hammock, all the better). And, if you really want to make the most of your naps, try a caffeine nap to reboot your brain in the middle of the day. Image: Dion Hinchcliffe.
2. Cultivate The Perfect Evening Routine
As the end of the day rolls around, you should be winding yourself down for bed to get the best sleep possible. If you really want to fall asleep easily, take some time to cultivate the perfect evening routine -- some light reading, a nice bubble bath and something that doesn't involve a backlit screen -- to fall asleep quickly and keep your energy up the next day. Image: Chelsea Oakes.
1. Get Some Help From Technology
If your sleep cycle seems beyond repair, you might need to get some outside help... from our favourite therapist, technology. From cheap methods like sleep tracking apps to full-on sleep tracking gadgets like the Wakemate, we've tested a number of technological sleep aids and found them to be rather helpful. If you're really motivated, you can reboot your entire sleep cycle and get the rest you deserve, and your midday self will thank you for it.
We've written more than a few sleep hacks over the years, including but not limited to the above. So, for even more great slumber-related tips and tricks, check out our sleep tag. And, as always, share your own tips in the comments below.