Rosie Osmun | HealthGreatness

When you feel fatigued and tired during the day, you’re not at your best. We know that sleep is essential for many functions involving both our minds and bodies, and that concentration, patience, creativity and motivation can all suffer when fatigue creeps in.

The bright side is that banishing excessive sleepiness and reducing fatigue can be as simple as making a few small changes to your sleeping habits. In this guide, we’ll look at ways to boost your rest based on expert tips and healthy sleep hygiene.

Easy Ways to Reduce Tiredness & Improve Sleep Quality

Banish those midday micro sleeps and get the energy to do the things you want by prioritizing rest and practicing healthy sleep habits. Here are eight ways you can tackle issues with fatigue and wake feeling well rested and ready to take on the day.

Prime your bedroom for sleep.

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Your bedroom provides the foundation for rest, and it should be your own personal sleep haven. This space needs to be free of distractions and the environment supportive of slumber.

  • Keep it organized and free of excess clutter.
  • Make it dark. Your internal clock needs near-total darkness at night to function optimally.
  • Banish electronics. TVs, laptops, tablets, phones and even bright alarm clocks can all impair your rest and reduce your overall sleep.
  • Keep it comfortable. Ensure your mattress is supportive and in good condition (not older than 8-10 years), use breathable soft bedding, and wash bedding at least every 2 weeks.

Allow yourself enough time for adequate rest.

One of the best ways prevent excessive tiredness is to schedule enough time for adequate sleep. You can’t cram 8 hours of rest into a 6-hour window!

In one University of Surrey study, researchers found that people allotted 6 hours in bed slept only 5.7 hours on average, while the same people slept 8.5 hours when allotted 10 hours. This study also found those in the 6-hour group showed dramatic suppression of genes related to metabolism, inflammation control and stress.

It takes the average person 10-25 minutes to actually fall asleep, so block out at least 8 to 9 hours in your day so you have time to wind down and rest without worrying about the clock.

Be mindful of food and drinks.

What you eat and drink impacts your sleep and your dreams as well. A large-scale Pennsylvania University study found that certain nutrients were associated with better sleep, while others were linked with sleep problems.

Things to incorporate into your diet include vitamin and mineral-rich fresh foods like carrots, green veggies, mushrooms, tomatoes, coconut oil, and salmon. Things you may want to limit, especially in the hours before bed, include butter, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates throughout the day can also help keep your body fueled and alert. If you’re feeling sluggish midday, skip the sugary treats and opt for nutrition-packed snacks like nuts or yogurt. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated with plenty of pure water!

Learn how to fall asleep faster.

Many of us lose hours of sleep laying awake thinking or otherwise preoccupied. According to sleep experts and psychologists, there are a few ways to reduce mental clutter and fall asleep faster.

  • Use your bed only for sleeping and sex.
  • Don’t stress over sleeping and keep your mindset positive.
  • Avoid looking at the time.
  • If you aren’t tired yet, get out of bed and read or listen to music until you’re tired.
  • Take a bath or hot shower before bed. The temperature drop may induce sleepiness.
  • Practice muscle relaxation techniques.

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.

Preparing your mind and body for rest can help sleep come easier and can help you keep your sleep-wake schedule more regular (which is associated with fewer sleep issues and better BMI as well).

Think about what makes you feel calm and relaxed. It could be a warm bath, a good book, calm tunes, ocean sounds, journaling in a diary, yoga, prayer, meditation – anything that helps you wind down. Incorporate these activities into your evening routine as you prepare for rest.

Stress can also be a big sleep stealer for many of us. Whether it’s work, money or relationships, working on things during the day can make sleep come easier. Set boundaries for “work” time and “me” time. Besides, your well-rested mind will be better equipped to tackle problems tomorrow, anyways.

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Avoid oversleeping.

We all know that not sleeping enough can make you fatigued, but did you know that you could actually sleep too much, as well?

Most adults need between 7-9 hours of rest, so if you are sleeping more than 9 you may actually be oversleeping. Oversleeping could actually make you feel more tired throughout the day, and it is also linked with increased risk of diabetes, headaches and depression according to WebMD.

To gauge your body’s ideal amount of rest, sleep experts at Harvard suggest a “sleep vacation” where you have a set bedtime but allow yourself to wake naturally for two weeks. After a few days, this pattern will normalize and you’ll be able to identify the amount of sleep you need to feel your best.

Take naps when needed.

There is no shame in napping during the day if you’re tired! Naps can get a bad rap, but a quick snooze around lunchtime can be a good way to fit more rest into your day.

Most sleep experts recommend keeping naps under 30 minutes and 8 hours or more before bedtime to avoid affecting your nighttime rest schedule.

Prioritize sleep!

It’s easy to think of rest as a waste of time when there’s so much to do and so much to experience. But, being well rested offers many benefits that make sleep worthwhile and essential.

Making sleep a priority in your life means less daytime tiredness, plus getting quality rest is associated with better brain power, better productivity, healthier eating choices, healthier body weight, and reduced risk of illness and several diseases.

Know when to get help.

If you are getting enough rest and still feeling tired with no obvious cause, it may be a good idea to consult with your doctor, as it might be related medications or a sign of a medical condition like sleep apnea, food allergies, or anemia.

Likewise, if you experience insomnia affecting your rest for more than a few weeks and changes to sleep habits and your environment aren’t helping, it might be helpful to speak with your doctor or a sleep therapist.

Psychiatrist and woman patient

Reducing fatigue and sleepiness during the day essentially comes down to adopting healthier habits, making your bedroom ideal for rest, and allowing yourself enough time to sleep. If you find yourself yawning or tired, a few simple changes may be just what you need to sleep better and seize the day.

Have tips of your own for reducing fatigue and sleepiness? Share them with us below!

This article originally appeared on the Amerisleep blog.