We all know how important it is to get enough sleep, but what if you can’t get the seven to nine hours a night that the National Sleep Foundation recommends? While sleep experts agree it’s best to get the right amount of good sleep, there are ways to make the most out of what little sleep you do get.
This is how to get better quality sleep when you’re short on time:
- Set the scene for good sleep - Sleep expert and behavioral specialist Abdullah Boulad recommends starting with making sure your bedroom is only used for sleep so your brain knows when you’re in there, it’s time for sleep. Keeping the room dark and cool is also better for sleep.
- Use daylight to your advantage - This includes trying to get exposure to morning sunlight as soon as you wake up, which can help regulate your natural circadian rhythm to be awake during the daylight and asleep when it’s dark.
- Limit your screen time - We’ve all heard this one before and most of us ignore it, but the blue light from our phones, TVs and devices can interfere with our sleep quality. That’s why sleep specialists advise shutting down devices a few hours before bedtime.
- Sneak in a nap - If you can find a little time in the day to squeeze in a power nap, sleep expert Dr. Verena Senn says go for it, just remember that a little daytime rest goes a long way. “Naps should be kept to 10 to 20 minutes,” she explains, “allowing you to enter the first stages of restorative sleep without falling into a more groggy deep stage.”
- Cut back on caffeine - This is probably the last thing you want to hear when you’re already tired, but as much as coffee, soda and energy drinks give you a much-needed boost now, they can also keep you up much later. Abdullah warns that having caffeine after noon could mess with your sleep that night since it stays in the body for six to eight hours.