Did you know that we’re supposed to spend anywhere from 6-8 hours a night sleeping? It’s true. That equates to roughly a third of our lives spent sleeping on our comfortable, soft beds. While it sounds like a lot, keep in mind that the average human being lives for around 670,000 hours, so a third isn’t really that much when you consider it! However, there’s no denying the fact that a lot of our day is taken up by sleeping, and the only way to be more productive during those 18 or so hours we’re awake is to be more efficient and energize ourselves.
Sadly, getting a good night of sleep and waking up refreshed can be difficult. In fact, many of us are so convinced that we never get a good night of sleep, and it can occasionally be difficult to determine if we woke up to a good night of sleep or a bad night of sleep. It’s actually not that hard to tell if you got a good night of sleep, but we’ve compiled a list of telltale signs that your sleeping routine is good. If these things don’t happen to you, then don’t worry! We’ve also listed a few ways on how you can actually get a good night of sleep to go along with these points.
Waking up free of pain and aches
If you wake up feeling any kind of pain or ache, then chances are your mattress needs replacing or your sleeping posture isn’t good. If you wake up without any pains, then you’re one step closer to achieving the perfect night of sleep every single night. Keep in mind that waking up free of aches isn’t the only sign of a good night’s sleep, but you can safely move on to the next point. If you do suffer from pain when you wake up, then continue reading this section!
Pain is a sign that your body is hurting. It sounds obvious, but you need to realize that any form of pain is not a good sign. Perhaps it can be fixed by simply adjusting your posture as you sleep, or maybe it’ll be fixed by getting a different mattress. There are several different types of pain and it can be easy to confuse them with each other. For starters, there is neck pain. Waking up with a stiff neck is never pleasant and most of us attribute it to sleeping with bad posture. However, what this actually means is your pillow is not at the correct height, or the material isn’t supporting your body. If you consistently wake up with a bad neck, you may want to consider changing your pillow or adjusting the height every week to see what works for you. If the pillow is too high or sinks too low, then your neck doesn’t get the right amount of support. Depending on how you sleep, the pillow needs to be adjusted as well. If you sleep on your back, the pillow can be a little lower and it’s fine if your head sinks into it a little. If you sleep on your side, then you need to raise your pillow a little to support your head so that your neck doesn’t bend too much.
The other type of pain is back pain. This usually radiates around the middle to lower back and it’s usually always due to bad support or posture. If you sleep on your side, then a good tip to follow is to place an additional pillow between your legs when you sleep. This ensures that your body stays aligned during sleep, and it could be all you need to get a good night’s sleep and wake up without pain. Picking the right mattress can be the right move if you suffer from back pains after waking up. It’s important to look for a mattress with excellent customer satisfaction reviews, but it’s also important to speak with your doctor in order to determine what type of mattress is best for you. In most cases, a memory foam mattress is best for comfort because it adjusts to your posture, but you may want to consider a latex or gel mattress instead if you live in a hot climate or if heat makes you uncomfortable when you sleep.
Waking up energized
Another trademark of a good night’s sleep is being able to jump out of bed and get things done. There have probably been days where you’ve gotten up to the sound of your alarm, you switched it off, went to take a morning shower and then got your day started on a good note. It’s a wonderful feeling and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to actually achieve this. It’s all about understanding your body, preparing yourself for sleep, and waking up at the correct time.
To start with, let’s fix your bedtime routine. You should be eating no later than four hours before you sleep. So if you plan to sleep at 11 PM, make sure you finish your last meal at about 7 PM. This will give you body enough time to digest the food and get it into your system. If you sleep right after eating a meal, then your body will still be trying to desperately digest the food. Ideally, you want to eat around 6 hours before you go bed instead to give your body plenty of time to digest and absorb everything, and you also want to avoid anything that could affect your mental state such as caffeine. Continue to drink water throughout the day and even during the night before you sleep to keep your body’s water supply filled.
Next, make sure you’re practicing some kind of ritual before bed. For instance, it could involve reading a book, listening to relaxing music, or taking a warm bath. Do whatever it takes to make your body relax and wind down. You want to practice this every night without fail because you want your body to grow used to it. This will help put your body into a pre-sleep mode where it notices that you’re getting ready for bed. This is when you should turn off your devices, get rid of the electronics and turn off the lights to ensure you’re uninterrupted when you sleep.
You might also find it helpful to stay away from your bedroom unless you actually plan to sleep. That means no lounging in bed reading a book, finishing work or late night television. Again, this trains your body to associate sleep with the bedroom. If you mingle your work or reading with your bedroom, then your body will be confused and you’ll find it difficult to fall asleep. You might even start associating work with your bed, and that’s not a good thing!
Waking up not feeling tired
There’s a difference between waking up feeling energized and waking up not feeling tired. The main difference is that you don’t need to feel energized in order to feel awake. If you wake up on the weekend and there is almost nothing to do, then you’ll still wake up and get moving. You won’t feel like you need to go back to bed, and you certainly won’t be reaching for that snooze button. Waking up feeling awake and not drowsy can be easy—all it takes is a little experiment.
Waking up without feeling drowsy relies solely on your sleeping pattern. Most people recommend you get at least seven hours of sleep, but it’s an arbitrary number that you shouldn’t rely on. In fact, what you should be relying on are your own senses, which is why we’ll be guiding you through a simple sleep experiment in order to find your perfect sleep length. This does take a long time to finish (since you’ll be sleeping to test it!) but it’s worth every second you invest.
To start, set a time to sleep and wake up. Use an alarm clock if possible, and disable the snooze button. It’s always a good idea to start with a long sleep time, so we can start at something like 8 hours. Plan to go to bed for 11 PM then set your alarm for 7 AM. Go to sleep, and then wake up whenever you first open your eyes. This might be difficult, but do your best to just jump out of bed as soon as your eyes are open. Once you’re awake, look at the time in relation to your alarm. If you find that you’ve woken up earlier, then count the difference. For instance, if you woke up at 6 AM, then it will be an hour difference to your target. Repeat this for about a week and keep a diary of this. At the end of the week, you’ll find yourself with a bunch of differences. Average them out, and you’ll find your ideal sleeping time. For example, if the difference averaged out at roughly an hour, then the following week you can reduce your target sleeping time from 8 hours to 7. Keep repeating this procedure, adding or taking away time as you see fit until you settle on the perfect sleeping pattern.
It takes a long time to do this, but it’s worth it so you know how much sleep your body needs. It’s important to stick to this because any sudden changes to your sleeping pattern or diet can seriously affect your quality of sleep.