Are you unable to get the recommended amount of shut eye everyday? Are you desperate to know how to sleep better every night?
Insomnia is very common nowadays, all the more so due to the tremendous stress all of us has to bear due to our work schedules. But sleeping pills aren’t the only — or the best — answer. A good sleep routine, exercise and mindfulness are all options to get the required restorative sleep. Research shows that poor sleep pattern has immediate negative effects on your hormones, performance and brain functions. For both adults and children, it can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk.
In contrast, good slumber can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier. A good night’s sleep is highly therapeutic and just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep. If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are 15 Ways To Sleep Better Every Night.
1. Set a schedule—and stick with it
If you do only one thing to improve your sleep please make sure to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning – even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up. Morning sunlight helps you build vitamin D which in helps in Calcium metabolism which in turns leads to stronger bones.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Keep your bedroom peaceful, dark and on the cool side. Take out all electronics, and stop using them at least one hour before you turn in. They emit a type of light that interferes with your natural body rhythms, prompting you to stay alert when you should be winding down.
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect.
The blue light radiated by the screen of your gadget tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and fall asleep faster.
There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:
- Wear glasses that block blue light
- Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
- Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
3. Stop smoking
Nicotine is a highly potent stimulant. It prevents you from falling asleep and in addition to that many frequent smokers experience withdrawal pangs at night. Smokers are 4 times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night’s sleep than nonsmokers. Studies also show smoking exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which can also stop you from getting quality sleep every night. Withdrawal effect of quitting smoking generally does not last long.
4. Review your medications
Beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) are reported to cause insomnia; so can SSRIs (a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Zoloft). And that’s just the beginning. Write down every drug and supplement you take, and have your doctor evaluate how they may be affecting your sleep-pattern.
5. Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
Caffeine has numerous benefits and is consumed by a very high percentage of population, especially the GenX and GenY .
A single dose of caffeine can enhance focus, energy and sports performance. However, when consumed late in the day, the stimulation of your nervous system may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality.
Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you are caffeine sensitive or have trouble falling asleep. So if you have a caffeine after dinner, come bedtime, it’ll either prevent your brain from entering deep slumber or stop you from falling asleep altogether. That means coffee, tea, and cola.
If it is totally unavoidable for you and you crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, then go with decaffeinated coffee.
6. Don’t Drink Alcohol
Contrary to the general belief, drinking a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. A few hours after drinking, alcohol levels in your blood start to drop, which signals your body to wake up. It takes an average person about an hour to metabolize one drink.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
Alcohol also reportedly decreased the natural nighttime elevations in growth hormone, which plays a role in the circadian rhythm and has many other key functions.
7. Exercise, but not within 4 hours of bedtime
Working out—especially cardio—improves the length and quality of your sleep. That said, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. When your body begins to cool down, however, it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you’ll get drowsy. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day but not within 4 hours of bedtime if you want to sleep better every night.
8. Evaluate your room.
Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 65 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. There should not be any noises or other distractions. This includes your partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
9. Snack on cheese and crackers
The ideal nighttime nibbles combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan— both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain.
Some good choices:
- 1 piece of whole grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey
- Banana with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
- Whole grain cereal and fat-free milk
- Fruit and low-fat yogurt
10. Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better and studies have shown it can improve overall quality and help people fall asleep faster, especially the elderly.
In one study, a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped participants get greater amounts of deep slumber. Alternatively, if you don’t want to take a full bath at night, studies have shown that just bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and improve sleep.
11. Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and Pillow
Do you wonder why you always fall asleep better in a hotel? Well, apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also have an effect.
One study looked at the benefits of a new mattress for 28 days. They found it reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60%, back stiffness by 59% and improved sleep quality by 60%. Other studies also found that new bedding can enhance sleep. Additionally, poor-quality bedding can lead to increased lower-back pain.
The best mattress and bedding is extremely subjective. If you are upgrading your bedding, base your choice on personal preference. It is recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.
If you haven’t replaced your mattress or bedding for several years, this can be a very quick (although possibly expensive) fix.
Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you fall asleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.
12. Rule Out a Sleep Disorder
Have you checked? An underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems.
One common issue is sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing. People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. In the most common form, this follows loud snoring. There may be a choking or snorting sound as breathing resumes. This condition may be more common that you think. One review found that 24% of men and 9% of women had the disease.
Other common medically diagnosed issues include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in shift workers.
If you’ve always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to speak to a doctor about it.
It is beyond any doubt that sleep plays a key role in your health.
Insufficient sleep increases obesity risk by 89% in children and 55% in adults. Other studies have concluded that less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you are interested in optimal health and well-being, then you should make sleep a top priority in your life.