Sleep Well without the Meds

Getting the right amount of sleep (and not staying up until 2 AM) should be easy. However, your habits, surroundings, and state of mind can prevent you from getting those precious Z’s.

1. Ditch the Caffeine

Woman pouring herself a mug of hot filtered coffee from a glass pot

Stop drinking coffee or Coke two hours before you sleep. Any amount of caffeine in your system keeps your mind and body wired and delays the onset of sleep. Your body needs to slow down gradually, and introducing caffeine into your system restarts the whole process.

2. Exercise

Regular exercise during the morning has its perks. However, scheduling your workouts later in the day helps you sleep a lot better. Exercise — whether cardio or strength training — allows your body to release a bit of the stress accumulated throughout the day. A short stint at the gym or just 30 minutes of cardio can also sap a lot of energy, making it easier to sleep, as your body recovers from the physical activity.

3. Reset your Clock

Get some sunlight. Getting hit by the intensity and brightness of sunshine during the morning resets your biological clock. As an added extra, a few minutes under the sun promotes the production of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is your body’s natural antidepressant, which is the reason people are more hopeful and happier during bright sunny days.

4. Tone Down the Illumination

It doesn’t matter if the lights are off. If you’re staring at a bright phone. Technology is one of the biggest reason your sleep cycle is in shambles. Bright lights trick your body into believing it’s still daytime, and bright lights are everywhere in the modern world. Your television, computer, tablets, and phones all produce enough brightness to skew your biological clock. Turn them off or find a way to dim their light a few hours before bedtime.

5. De-stress

Drink a glass of warm milk, soak in an aromatic bath, or perform a few relaxing yoga poses. Stress — both physical and mental — can bring about negative emotions that can keep you up all night. Spend time to relax and de-stress. Meet up with friends and family over the weekend, get working on a new hobby, or join relaxing yoga and meditation retreats once in a while. A weekend of relaxation works wonders, allowing you to have happy thoughts as you go to bed.

6. Get Comfy

Bed with dim lights

A comfortable mattress combined with the right pillows can take you to new heights of relaxation and sleep. Getting comfortable is one of the prerequisites of sleeping on schedule — and you won’t be doing that if your pillows don’t have adequate neck support.

7. Check for Bugs

Monsters that suck your blood as you sleep are real; they’re called bed bugs. Bed bug infestations have been known to cause insomnia, depression, and anxiety. The moment you see small patches of blood in your mattress and pillows, it’s time to call the exterminators.

Sleep is essential for a healthy life as well as a happy one. You don’t need pills to get to sleep. With just a bit of effort and awareness, you’ll be catching those Zs like it was your superpower.