Healthy Sleep Tips - How To Sleep Better
Do you often find it hard to fall asleep at night and have difficulty waking up in the morning when your alarm clock goes off? Are you battling excessive daytime sleepiness and a lack of daytime energy to carry out your everyday routine? If so, it might be time to change your sleep habits and adapt to a good nightly schedule.
Your behaviors during the day and before bedtime can significantly impact your sleep quality. They can either contribute to sleeplessness or promote healthy sleep. In some cases, even a few slight changes can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a sleepless night.
No need to struggle with groggy days and restless nights anymore. Here are 7 healthy sleep tips to help you sleep better at night.
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1. Review Your Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment is a central component of sleep hygiene. To fall asleep faster, you want your room to emanate tranquility. While this might seem pretty obvious, it’s often overlooked, thus contributing to difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.
Generally, what makes a sleep environment comfortable and inviting varies from one individual to another. However, these evidence-based tips will help you make your bedroom calm and free of disruptions:
Invest In a High-Performance Mattress and Pillow
Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation, not an entertainment room or a workplace. So, start by purchasing a comfortable mattress for a deeper, better, and uninterrupted sleep. While hunting for a new mattress, make sure you choose a solid bed that can maintain its structural integrity. Latex and memory foam mattresses are good alternatives to consider. It would help if you also got a pillow that matches your needs and preferences to help keep your spine correctly aligned to prevent aches and pains.
Use Quality Sheets and Blankets
Your beddings play a crucial role in helping your mattress feel inviting as they’re the first things your body touches when you get into bed. So, it’s wise to look for quality sheets and blankets that will help maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the night. You can also get a weighted blanket to keep you relaxed throughout your sleep.
Set A Cool Yet Comfortable Temperature
Your internal body clock is heavily dependent on temperature. As you transition to sleep from wakefulness, your body temperature naturally drops to prepare for sleep. For most sleepers, a cool bedroom temperature of between 60°F and 67°F (15.6°C and 19.4°C) helps facilitate this natural transition. Anything higher than 75°F (24°C) might cause discomfort, disrupting sleep. If you live in a warm region, you can turn down the thermostat, invest in seasonally appropriate bedding, or use a fan.
Excessive light exposure from electronic devices and natural light can hamper sleep and keep you restless longer than you want. If you’re struggling to fall asleep because your bedroom gets flooded with too much bright light, you can use heavy or blackout curtains to help keep it dark. A sleep mask can also help you block out light from the streetlights.
Cultivate Peace and Quiet
A quiet sleep environment is a must for a night of restorative sleep. Too much noise can disrupt sleep and even increase stress levels. To achieve complete silence, you can use soundproof windows, curtains, and carpets. A white noise machine or a pair of ear plugs can also help you drown out annoying background noise.
Reserve Your Sleep Environment for Sleep and Sex
When you have a comfortable, supportive, and inviting mattress, you may want to use it for other activities like watching and reading. However, it’d help to restrict in-bed activities and use the bed only for sleep and sex. That way, you’ll be able to strengthen the connection between bed and sleep.
Try Pleasant Aromas
Light smells that you find soothing can induce a calm state of mind and help ease you into sleep. Essential oils with natural aromas like lavender can cultivate a positive space for rest.
2. Set a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Maintaining a regular sleep and wake-up time may sound like a drag, but it comes with many health benefits that will help you enjoy the restful sleep you deserve. Here, understanding your circadian rhythm and how it functions really comes into handy. The human body typically works on a 24-hour circadian rhythm (internal clock) which controls your body system’s night and day processes.
By keeping a structured sleep schedule, you’ll help reinforce your body clock, making it easy to fall asleep earlier and stay asleep throughout the night. It will normalize sleep as a vital part of your night and get your system accustomed to receiving the right amount of sleep for your needs. Even when having a busy day, avoid revenge bedtime procrastination because it'll disrupt your sleep cycle.
Remember an inconsistent schedule can make you prone to various health problems, such as slow reaction times, irritability, sleep disorders, and even heart diseases. Try to keep a consistent sleep pattern even during weekends when you’d otherwise be tempted to sleep in.
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3. Establish a Relaxing Pre-Bed Routine
One effective way of keeping a consistent sleep schedule is to craft a regular sleep routine. Remember, the lead-up to bedtime plays a crucial role in preparing you to fall sleep faster. Poor pre-sleep practices are one of the main contributors to insomnia and other sleep difficulties. That’s why it’s always wise to have a soothing bedtime routine minutes before bed to increase your chances of falling asleep quickly.
By keeping a consistent routine, you’ll help your body realize that it’s time to “power down” once you start the routine. Choose relaxing activities that you enjoy doing and try to perform them each night around bedtime. Start your routine about 30 to 60 minutes before bed.
Some good ideas include:
Taking a warm bath or shower: A warm, relaxing bath can help you unwind before bed. Plus, this routine can help lower your body temperature, enabling you to fall asleep effortlessly and improving your sleep quality.
Reading a book: Reading a book is one of the best ways of relaxing and inducing sleepiness. But it’s worth noting that reading on your smartphone or laptop rather than the book itself can make you less sleepy and even delay deep sleep. Exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin (sleep hormone) production and shifts circadian rhythms, interfering with the sleep cycle.
Listen to soothing music: Cool music can help sleepers distress before bed. Listening to gentle music induces relaxation and contributes to a stress-free night.
Ensure you leave extra time for your pre-bed routine to prevent it from cutting into your sleep time. As part of your routine, it’s wise to disconnect from your laptops, tablets, and cell phones 30 minutes before bedtime as they can keep your brain wired, making it difficult to wind down.
If you'd like to learn how to reset your sleep routine, read this guide.
4. Exercise Regularly
One of the best ways of improving sleep and overall health is by getting regular exercise. Physical activities usually enhance the aspects of quality sleep, which is why physicians often recommend patients with insomnia incorporate daily exercise into their routine to reduce its symptoms.
Plus, it can increase the amount of sleep you get by decreasing stress hormone (cortisol) levels and promoting serotonin secretion in your brain. While exercising daily can help improve your sleep quality, evening and late-night workouts can overstimulate your body, increasing alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
This might interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard to fall asleep. Try to finish your workouts at least three to four hours before bed, or consider working out earlier in the day.
5. Eat Early and Keep a Healthy Diet Before Bed
While you might want to dig into a big homemade meal after a long tiresome day, you need to keep in mind that the food you eat at night and the amount you take can significantly impact the natural production of melatonin. So, if you’ll be having a late-night dinner, consider steering clear of high-calorie foodstuffs. Junk food, especially those with a high concentration of unhealthy fats and sugar, aren’t good before bedtime.
Some of the best nighttime snacks that can keep you full while you sleep include complex snacks like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or protein. If you still want to have a high-carb meal for dinner, consider eating at least three to four hours before bed. This gives your body system ample time to digest the meal.
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6. Increase Light Exposure During the Day
Research has shown that office workers with more light exposure during the day tend to have better sleep quality and longer sleep duration than people who don’t receive much bright light in the morning. Exposure to more bright light during the daytime is vital for healthy sleep patterns because it helps to calibrate the natural time-keeping clock (circadian rhythm). This, in turn, improves your sleep quality and daytime energy. You should try and expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible during the day or consider investing in artificial bright lights.
7. Keep Daytime Naps Short
During the day, we build up a sleep debt that helps us sleep at night. However, taking daytime naps will pay off that debt, interfering with your sleep. While taking short power naps during the day can help improve alertness and overall well-being, long daytime naps can lead to poor nighttime sleep quality and sleep deprivation. So, it’s wise to eliminate naps, or if you can’t do without them, take at most a 30 minutes power nap and avoid napping after 3 p.m.
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Here's to a Good Night’s Sleep
Following these sleep tips will help you get into a healthy sleep routine that will improve your sleep quality. It’s worth noting that it might take time for your body to adapt to new lifestyle changes, but once you get accustomed to them, you’ll be able to reap the many benefits of maintaining healthy sleep habits.
If you continue to have trouble sleeping, talk to a certified physician or sleep specialist. You may be struggling with more complicated sleep problems that need attention.
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Gabe is the newest member of The Sleep Shop team. If you like the design of The Sleep Shop, give Gabe a thumbs up. He’s a digital marketing and design guru and the brains behind the design and SEO of The Sleep Shop. He also won’t say no to testing a ton of mattresses either, and helps on almost every mattress review.