UNITED STATES—Sleep it is the one thing we all want, but something so many of us fail to adequately receive. I recently read a study that chronicled a variety of things one can do to ensure better sleeping habits. It got me thinking what are some things that I can vastly change to impact my sleep pattern? For starters, I’m not a night owl, if anything I am an early bird. However, I can sometimes push myself to stay awake longer, when I should be sleeping. Do not ask me why I do such things, but I guess the older you get that fear of missing out on something does indeed creep up into your mindset.

I would say on average I’m in bed by midnight, that does depend on if I have to stay awake a little longer to complete  work or I’ve gotten in so late from work my body is slightly wired and I just can’t sleep. I tell this to people all the time and for reasons I cannot fathom they think I’m crazy. No one wants to stay up in the wee hours of the night, but if your mind and body are wired there is not much you can do beyond attempt to calm/relax the mind so that sleep becomes habitual.

I know the one thing that is indeed impacting my sleep is having snacks or drinks before sleep. I should not be drinking fluids 10-15 minutes before sleep because there is a strong likelihood I will have to get up in the middle of the night to utilize the restroom. With that being said, when you’re in a deep sleep or sleeping well, the last thing you want to do is to break that sleep to use the restroom, but what else are you going to do?

The biggest proponent to sleep for me is the fact that I am a light sleeper. Any raucous can immediately break my sleep and awaken me. It’s frustrating because once my sleep is broken it is very difficult for me to get back to sleep. While I can make it happen, it might take 2-3 hours before it actually happens. At that point, I’m beyond frustrated or the sun has started to rise and why sleep when you have to get back up in less than 20-30 minutes.

I know what some of you are thinking, that extra 20-30 minutes make a difference, and in reality it does, but when you’ve already checked out mentally on quality sleep it no longer matters. That is the key term of the week: quality. What good is sleep if it’s not quality sleep? Tossing and turning in the bed for 3-4 hours is not the same, as being well rested in the bed for 3-4 hours.

One adjustment I might need to make is deciding rather it is wise to sleep with my ceiling fan on. Yes, it sounds weird, and for years I thought it was just me, but there are lots of people who sleep with a miniature fan or ceiling fan while in bed. It has nothing to do with getting hot or stuffy while sleep, it’s about the sound. That continuous sound helps calm my mind and put my body to rest. While crazy to some, it’s a habit that works for me so be it. I mean I know people who HAVE to sleep with the TV running. That is something I cannot do, that constant sound will keep me up all night, as would listening to music. It distracts more than it actually helps if you ask me.

If you are not getting quality sleep there is a reason. Either you are fighting against your body when it tells you to sleep or to take a nap, you are constantly wakened in the middle of the night by loud sounds that could include the TV or dogs barking (I hate this tremendously), kids crying, loud neighbors or some other chaos. Remember, people say you can sleep when you’re dead, but that is just a saying, if you’re a human being just like me, you like sleep, you want sleep and you need it!