One of the most popular Disney film animations is Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. (I wonder why it’s not “Dwarves?” But, whatever.)
Everybody knows the story, right? Wicked stepmother disguises herself and feeds Snow White a poisoned apple, and she falls asleep almost as if dead, to be awakened only by true love’s kiss.
Now, if you’re one of those people who have difficulty sleeping well at night or are among those who can’t sleep at all, this blog is for you.
Because we’re not talking about wicked stepmothers, poisoned apples, or even true love’s kiss. At least, not right now. *grin
We’re discussing ways to get a wonderful, almost Snow White–restful sleep, except that unlike her, you’re going to wake up the next morning.
We all know that getting a good night's sleep is absolutely essential to your health and well-being. It’s important for both your mental and physical health. So how can you sleep better?
1. Get comfy
Your bed can contribute to your comfort at night. Make sure you're using pillows and mattress that are comfortable for you. If you frequently wake up with a sore neck or a painful back, you may need to find the kind of pillows or mattress that provide the support you need. After making sure your bed and pillows are not the problems, you can start checking on other possible issues.
2. Keep cool
Doesn’t it feel good to sleep in a cool temperature, snuggling under the covers? It’s so much easier to fall asleep when your body temperature is cooled down. (Note that this doesn’t mean freezing!) Most people sleep best in a room that’s cool and with adequate ventilation. One that’s too hot or too cold can inhibit quality sleep.
3. Noise down
If your bedroom is susceptible to noises you can’t control (noise from traffic, neighbors, pets, or other people in your household), consider covering up the sound with a fan or a pair of earplugs to listen to soothing music or sounds.
4. Lights out (or down)
Bright lights can contribute to sleep problems. You need to control your exposure to light. Your brain produces more melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle) when it’s dark; this makes you sleepy. When you’re exposed to light, your brain emits less melatonin, keeping you awake.
This is why it’s important to make sure your room is dark when it’s time to sleep. If your room is too bright, use darker or heavier shades or curtains to block the light from the windows. You can also try using a sleep mask. (This works well for me!)
That said, refrain from using your gadgets within 1-2 hours before bedtime. The blue light that emanates from your phone, tablet, computer, or TV can keep you awake. Not only does the light suppress melatonin, but the things you’re watching or doing on your TV or gadgets can actually stimulate your brain rather than relax it, and ergo, will keep you wide awake.
5. Sleep only when sleepy
Don’t force yourself to sleep at a specific time even if you’re not feeling the least bit sleepy. You’ll only lie awake in bed, tossing and turning. If you’re not drowsy, get out of bed and do something really boring. Boring is relative, of course. I’ve personally found two things that truly work for me: trying to read a [physical] non-fiction book and listening to soft, slow 80s and 90s music. Those are literal snooze-fests for me! Find something that works for you, too.
6. Comfort drink
I know there isn’t any scientific proof to this, but I’ve found drinking something comforting before bedtime relaxes me, and encourages a good sleep. Try a glass of warm milk, hot chocolate, or tea as these can get you feeling slumberous.
7. No caffeine or smoke
We all know caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. That’s why we drink coffee in the morning and when we’re feeling dozy at work!
Similarly, nicotine (found in cigarettes) is also a stimulant, and can significantly affect the quality of your sleep if consumed too close to bedtime. Try to avoid smoking at least 4 hours prior to bedtime.
Do these help?
Of course, the best way to get the most restful, uninterrupted sleep ever is to get a bite of that wicked stepmother’s poisoned apple. The one disadvantage is that you’d have to wait for your true love to wake you up with a kiss. That would’ve been nice, except that finding that one true love is tricky business. But that’s a topic for another blog—
In the real world, let’s just all have fun and sleep better! - Kendra