We use our weekends to catch up on the sleep we didn't get during the week, but that doesn't make up for our bad sleeping habits. This time around, don't just catch up -- upgrade your sleep so you'll get more next week.
Photo by Joi Ito.
Create A Sleep-Friendly Environment
Obviously you'll sleep better in a comfy bed. A good bed isn't always enough, however, as little details in your sleep environment play a role in the quality of the rest you get. Be sure you've chose the right mattress and your pillow matches your sleep style. Eat balanced meals, as your food intake can have a serious impact on how well your sleep each night. Eating breakfast is very important, for example. Alcohol will make your night worse and it will cause snoring, making things worse for anybody else in the bed. Your sleeping position also makes a difference, as laying on your back is the ideal way to rest. Do everything you can to make yourself comfortable at night and healthy during the day. Those simple steps will lead to better rest.
Fall Asleep Faster
There are many ways you can fall asleep faster, but the common thread is being tired and bored. In general, you'll go to sleep when you're tired so we'll presume you've taken care of that problem. What keeps many of us from actually falling asleep, however, is our rambling minds. Counting sheep originated as a cure because it's monotonous and boring. Another trick that works for me is concentrating on a tone in the room, as it helps me ignore any other thoughts that try to jump into my head.
For something a little more physical, you can curl and uncurl your toes. Doing maths problems can help, too. There are even methods to train yourself to fall asleep faster. You may have to try a few things to find out what works best for you, but eventually you should come across something so boring that your only solace is passing out.
Fix Common Problems
Part of the problem with sleeping well is that we all have little things we do that are hard to fix. As geeks, we love our screens but staring at them before bed isn't the best medicine. Before you can really start fixing your major sleep issues, make sure you have a great evening routine. There are ways to fix common sleep issues like insomnia, snoring and monkey brain. We've tackled several with help from a sleep expert, so check out that post for some tips.
Study Yourself With Sleep Tech
When you're not sure what's wrong, sleep technology can help you find the answer. I tested a few options a while back that helped me figure out when I should go to bed, wake up, and how to do both things more effectively. My favourite was the Wakemate, but if you don't want to shell out a lot of cash there are smartphone apps you can use like Sleep Time Alarm Clock. They're not as feature-rich and effective, but they can help.