There are tons of better ways to wake up than to a blaring alarm. If you have the luxury of time, let your body tell you when to wake up (although if your body decides on 4 p.m. or so, you may have trouble sleeping the next night). Otherwise, try leaving the shades up so you can wake up to natural light when the sun rises. There are tons of cool products out there, like an alarm clock that will begin to shine a soft light on you, mimicking sunrise. Or the iPhone app that will regulate your sleep cycle and wake you when you’re coming out of a REM cycle to ensure you wake more rested.
Nobody can get a good night’s sleep while lying in a puddle of sweat. But if you don’t have an A.C. and you’re stuck in a heat wave, there are a few tricks you can try to cool down your room. Do-it-yourself air conditioning is one approach, whether it’s sticking a bowl of ice in front of a fan or hanging a wet sheet over an open window. Or there’s the more high-tech method, like a self-cooling pillow such as the Chillow.
While some like to leave the TV on to fall asleep, the artificial light suppresses melatonin production and stimulates the mind rather than calming it to ready it for sleep. Same goes for reading – ditch the iPad or laptop – they’ll both interfere with your melatonin. Try for a reading light and crack open a good, old-fashioned paperback.
You don’t need to buy five-million-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, but it is worth the effort to make your bed nice. This means investing in a decent mattress, replacing your pillows when they start to wear, and maybe washing your linens from time to time to make things fresh. Also, clear out anything on the bed that doesn’t need to be there – just because you’ve got a queen size doesn’t mean you should pile your unfolded laundry on two-thirds of it.
Separate work and sleep
It can be nice to work in bed, but it can cause problems when you try to sleep later on in the night. For one, your mind should associate bed with sleep and rest, while using it for work can spark thoughts of errands and emails that need returning. Also, it’s a really great feeling to get into bed for the first time right before you go to sleep. If you’ve been lounging around all day with the laptop, it’s not going to seem as fresh and relaxing.
Try to get your exercise in the morning or early afternoon
Exercise produces endorphins, which are great if you need energy…which is not the idea when you’re about to head to sleep. Getting your workout in when you first wake up or before dinnertime means you get your energy boost when you need it, and not when you’re about to try to knock out
Eating heavily before heading to bed means your body is working to digest things, disrupting your sleep. Try not eating at least two-to-three hours before heading to sleep to avoid this. But if you’re really hungry, go for something light and not full of fat or sugar (as mentioned before, sugar really messes you up at night)
Make time to address your sleep debt
Sleep debt can accumulate for weeks and needs more than one night to overcome. Just because you’ve got a debt of 40 hours doesn’t mean you’ll knock out for two days straight, but it will mean that you should devote more free time to working it off. Make time on your days off and weekends to feed your body the sleep it craves.
Snoring is usually annoying for your roommates or significant others, but it can also be telling you something about your body. Millions of people snore to some extent, but extremely loud snoring can actually be disrupting your sleep cycle. Conditions such as sleep apnea can present itself as snoring, but your body is actually