9 Simple Tips For Better Sleep Every Night
A good night’s sleep is vital to your mental health and well-being, just like a healthy diet and proper exercise.
According to research, an optimal sleep schedule and routine helps you work out more effectively, become healthier, make smarter decisions, and eat less junk too. Having an excellent sleep routine will benefit all aspects of your life, so you need to monitor the way your body rests.
But if you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, you’re not the only one – approximately 35-50% of adults across the world experience some form of insomnia.
The problem is getting worse as the years go on, and the drop off in sleep quality occurs for various reasons.
The rise of cell phones and tablets has people engaged with their screens at the highest rate of all time. Social media and applications reel in our attention and this screen time continues up until bedtime. Television shows and streaming services have the same effect because the quality of content on the screen is at such a high level.
So, how can you overcome this issue and improve the way you sleep?
Here are nine tips for better sleep that will help you calm your mind, find a good nighttime routine, and get your health back on track.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Your television screen, smartphone, tablet, and laptop all share one thing in common: they all emit blue light. LED and fluorescent light bulbs also produce blue light, and it is one of the many colours within the spectrum of visible light.
Your body’s internal clock regulates circadian rhythm, a biological 24-hour cycle that impacts many of your internal activities. More importantly, it decides when your body is ready to be asleep or awake.
The circadian rhythm requires external signals from the environment to adjust itself, especially darkness and daylight. Blue light contains sensors that stimulate your eyes, reduces melatonin, and transfers signals to your brain. Although light is beneficial during the daytime, the blue light in your electronic devices will disrupt your sleep patterns.
There are a few helpful actions you can take to limit blue light exposure during the nighttime, including:
- Stop watching television two hours before bed
- Limit phone usage at least two hours before bed
- Wear blue-light-blocking glasses
- Reduce the brightness on your phone leading up to bedtime
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is useful because it boosts energy, focus, and overall athletic performance.
However, caffeine consumption within six hours of bedtime can ruin sleep quality. It could affect the beginning of your sleep and decrease sleep efficiency, time, and satisfaction. Caffeine also lowers slow-wave sleep, which is the deep stage that produces a refreshing feeling in the morning.
Since caffeine remains in your bloodstream for 6-8 hours, it would be best to avoid coffee or similar drinks after 3-5 p.m.
If you still wish to have a cup of coffee later in the day, try your best to choose decaffeinated coffee. You may find it easier to fall asleep quicker, stay asleep for a large percentage of the night, and feel much better in the morning.
Optimize Your Bedroom
Your relationship with your bedroom layout plays a critical role in how you sleep at night.
Setting the optimal environment and other factors can help your mind relax. These variables include external lighting, noise, furniture arrangement, and temperature. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, try out different layouts and elements to see how your body and mind respond.
To make the most out of your bedroom layout, start by minimizing noise, light, and artificial light from digital clocks, phones, and other technological devices.
Investing in a set of blackout curtains will also obstruct any natural light or moonlight that shines into the room. When you address the small details and create the ideal sleeping environment, your resting quality is bound to improve.
Avoid Napping During the Day
While it helps to take power naps, irregular or extended napping during the daytime can discourage your sleep quality. If you frequently sleep throughout the day, it can confuse your circadian rhythm and internal clock. Because your body is confused, it may cause you to struggle to sleep at night.
If it is challenging for you to fall asleep at night, start shortening your naps during the day. Stopping naps completely is also another option that will get your internal clock back on track. You can also enhance your nap and late-night sleep quality by taking your naps earlier in the afternoon.
Stick to a Routine
Consistency is the key to optimizing your body’s circadian rhythm and internal functions.
Because your circadian rhythm runs on a predictable loop, waking up and going to sleep at similar times can elevate sleep quality in the long run. If you struggle to achieve quality sleep, try forming a morning and nighttime routine. Keeping these times consistent into the weekend is even more vital.
Apart from consistent timing, you could improve your sleep by having a pre-bedtime routine to help you relax. Calming your body starts with your mind, and there are various strategies you can use to wind down. These methods include reading a book, meditating, taking a bath, visualization, mindfulness, deep breathing, or listening to music.
To achieve better sleep, you should avoid activities that stimulate your brain at all costs.
The first thing to cut out is television right before bed. Although it could be tempting to watch your favourite show before bedtime, it can arouse your brain and make it difficult to fall asleep. Reading non-fiction before bed can also engage your brain too much and make it difficult for you to relax when it is time to sleep.
Blue light from the television stimulates your nervous system, preventing your body from experiencing natural relaxation during the nighttime. Any type of light stimulation will trick your internal system into thinking that it is not time to wind down for bed, preventing you from getting an excellent night’s sleep.
Take a Bath
A hot bath can help alter your core temperature, enabling you to fall asleep quicker.
The hot water will lower your internal temperature so that your body can adjust and experience a better night sleep. The temperature drop signals to your brain that it is time for the body to rest. For better sleep results, you should focus on setting the temperature to 40-43 degrees Celsius.
In addition to setting the optimal water temperature, timing is also important. According to a study in Sleep Medicine Reviews, taking a bath approximately 90 minutes before bedtime will help you achieve optimal results. A bath before bed, with the right temperature and timing, will enhance sleep latency, efficiency, and overall experience.
Get Plenty of Exercise
It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise and body stimulation can help improve your health and sleep.
Exercise elevates all elements of sleep, and studies show that it addresses insomnia symptoms. When you perform the exercise, you must not work out right before bed. Daily exercise is ideal for the best night’s sleep, but doing it later in the day could cause more rest issues.
Exercise produces a stimulating effect. Not only does the act of working out boost alertness, but it also creates hormones like adrenaline, endorphins, and epinephrine.
By getting in your exercise earlier in the day, it gives your body time to flush out the endorphins and help your brain wind down. Exercise also decompresses your mind and puts you in the mood to relax and achieve optimal slow-wave sleep.
Practice Meditation or Mindfulness
For a lot of people, insomnia is correlated with increased stress levels. Because stress influences tension and anxiety, it could be harder for your body to relax and fall asleep.
According to one study, meditation could be the perfect solution to alleviate stress. Meditation is a relaxation technique that helps your body and mind find internal peace.
When you perform meditation or mindfulness before bedtime, it lowers insomnia and sleep issues by creating a sense of calmness. Not only do both these practices help regulate your autonomic nervous system, but they can also benefit you in the following ways:
- Lower heart rate
- Reduce blood pressure
- Boost melatonin, a critical sleep hormone
- Raise serotonin, the precursor to melatonin
- Facilitate the elements of the brain that help sleep
The Bottom Line
Optimal sleep hygiene is pivotal in living your best life.
Achieving an efficient night’s sleep with minimal disruptions will help reduce stress, elevate your overall decision making, facilitate a better diet, and increase the quality of your exercise.
When you function properly after a good night’s sleep, you will perform better at your job, build better relationships with your family, and be an overall happier person.