There’s not much worse than waking up to a long day and realizing you’re still tired. Some days are hard enough to get through when you’re well-rested, but when you’re still tired, they’re impossible.
A rough night of sleep can happen anytime, but if you find that they’re happening more often than not, it’s time to figure out what’s going wrong. After all, you can’t fix the problem until you know what it is.
Are You Getting the Right Amount of Rest?
Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Too much sleep can be as bad as too little!
Since most people go through sleep cycles that are about 90 minutes long and the best time to wake is at the end of a cycle, when you’re in a lighter stage of sleep, that usually means aiming for either 7.5 or 9 hours of sleep.
Start by figuring out what time you want to wake up. Then, subtract either 7.5 or 9 hours from that. That’s the time you’ll want to be asleep by. From there, subtract the amount of time it usually takes you to fall asleep. That is your target bedtime.
If you’re getting enough sleep and you get up at about the same time every morning, you should wake up a few minutes before your alarm goes off. Try your new sleep schedule and see if, over the course of a couple of weeks, you start doing that.
If you’re not, consider adding to the time that you’re asleep or, if you are sleeping for 9 hours every night, subtracting from it. When you hit the sweet spot where you’re awake slightly before your alarm chimes, you’ll know you are getting the right amount of sleep for your body.
Are You Waking at the Right Time?
If your alarm wakes you in the middle of deep sleep or REM sleep, you can start your day feeling tired, confused, and like you just want to go back to sleep. The best time to wake up is between your sleep cycles, when you’re in a lighter stage of sleep. This will help you avoid feeling drowsy and groggy at the beginning of your day.
Most people find that their sleep cycles are about 90 minutes long, but this can vary. If you are consistently waking from a dead sleep, try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier. If you’re still feeling groggy in the morning, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier than that. Eventually, you will find the right time for your body to fall asleep so that it can wake up more easily.
Are You Struggling With Insomnia?
If you can’t fall asleep or you can’t stay asleep, it won’t matter what time you go to bed or what stage of sleep you’re in when you wake up, because you’ll continually be sleep deprived and tired. There are a few things you can do to make sleep come easier.
- Eat well before you fall asleep. People with higher blood sugar levels fall asleep faster because sugar promotes the activity of neurons that make you drowsy. If you are trying to fall asleep when you’re hungry, you will have a harder time. This doesn’t mean you have to eat something sweet – a banana or a piece of cheese will be just fine.
- Make sure your room is comfortable. Get a pillow that supports your neck and a mattress that supports your spine.
- Turn off the TV. Stay away from your phone and from tablets, too. They emit a type of light that makes it harder for your brain to produce the chemicals necessary for sleep. Read a book or take a warm shower, instead.
- Avoid napping. When you’re sleepy during the day, it’s easy to think that a nap is your solution. These can actually prevent you from sleeping well later, though.
You don’t have to feel tired all the time. Figure out why you aren’t getting enough sleep and take the initiative to solve the problem. Trust me, your whole life will feel better when you are well-rested.