When you can't sleep, your next day tends to be miserable. It's difficult to stay awake at meetings, be as productive as you want to be, or actually enjoy spending time with your loved ones. So when you get back home and it's time for the next round, you start thinking about what to do when you can't sleep.
And sure, you will find plenty of quality tips on what to do, from using humidifiers to staying away from your phone at night and establishing a night time routine. In fact, we've shared many of these tips on our website already. What you need to know is that in reality, sleeping better starts with what you do the day before your potential struggles.
Don't assume that you'll have plenty of time to unwind during the night. Instead, take the right steps as soon as you start your day to make sure that by the time the sun sets, you'll be ready for a good snooze. Consider these 10 daytime tips to help you sleep better.
1. Prioritize Your Daily Tasks
If you absolutely cannot sleep at night, there is a high chance that stress is the reason. And often, that stress builds up because you keep thinking about those tasks at work and around the home you just couldn't get to during the day.
Fortunately, prevention of that problem is easy. As soon as you start your day, prioritize your tasks. Accomplish what needs to be done most early, then work your way down to the less important additions. By the time you get to bed, you'll be well-rested and ready to shut off your mind.
2. Set a Caffeine Deadline
Sure, caffeine can do a great job in keeping you alert and awake during the day. It even has some health benefits. But it can also be a killer if you're trying to get sleep at night.
Studies have found that drinking soft drinks or coffee as many as eight hours before bed can negatively impact your sleeping habits. Once the early afternoon rolls around, stick to non-caffeinated alternatives.
3. Try to Get Some Physical Exercise
Exercise during the day is one of the surest ways to get good sleep at night. Especially if you work in a stationary position (such as at a desk) all day, you need to balance out that rest with at least some activity that allows your body to drain its energy.
One caveat is important: don't try to exercise right before bed. The hormones you activate will directly counteract your desire to go to sleep. Instead, stick to the morning or early afternoon for your exercise.
4. Don't Forget the Mind Games, Either
Just like your body, your mind needs regular exercise as well. You might think that the work you do during the day is enough. But often, it is not. Instead, try to focus on activities that allow you to power those brain cells in a productive way.
Numerous brain teasers can accomplish that feat. You might enjoy a Sudoku or a good crossword puzzle. Solving math problems might get your juices flowing. Lists like this one gives you some good ideas on the types of games and activities that can accomplish this goal.
5. Stick with the Power Nap
The worst part about not getting enough sleep is the cycle it creates. You're tired, so you nap more during the day or right after work. But because you nap, you will have trouble falling asleep again. Escaping that cycle is absolutely crucial for your health.
That doesn't mean staying away from naps forever. It does, however, mean sticking to 30 minutes or less for a nap. Studies have actually shown that longer naps can negatively impact your health because they confuse your body's natural rhythm, actually making you more sleepy in the process.
6. Try to Soak in Some Natural Light
Believe it or not, natural light plays a crucial role in making sure that your body knows when to sleep and be awake. That's why getting as much natural light as possible, especially on sunny days, is crucial to making sure your body understands when it's day and night time.
Consider this the counterpart to making sure your room is dark at night. By keeping your body's rhythm intact through naps and strategic light exposure, you can make sure that when the time to sleep finally comes, you will be ready.
7. Stay Away from Alcohol
In many ways, it's counterintuitive. If you enjoy a casual glass of wine or beer, you know that it tends to make you sleep better. In reality, though, the opposite is the case.
Alcohol actually increases your snoring, while interrupting your sleeping patterns. You might not realize it as you snooze through the night, but the sleep you do get is much less restful. Even if you don't drink nearly enough for a hangover, you'll wake up feeling more tired and less ready to go through the day.
8. Stay Warm During the Day
You'll have read on this website or others that a cool room at night helps to slow your body's blood circulation, thus creating better sleeping conditions. However, as is the case with light exposure, you have to consider its counterpart as well.
In this case, that means making sure you stay warm during the day. The reason is simple: the colder you are, the more your body will adjust to it. Once you go to bed, the difference will be minimal, and you won't be as prepared for sleep. Staying warm, on the other hand, leverages the full effect of a slowing blood circulation.