Good night sleep is as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Studies show that poor sleep negatively affects your wellbeing, brain function and exercise performance.
Also, poor sleep can result in weight gain and high disease risk for both children and adults. Good sleep, on the other hand, helps you eat less, be healthier and exercise better.
Below are the 10 proven tips to sleep better at night together with things you need to avoid.
1. Establish a sleeping schedule
Start by determining a consistent sleeping schedule for both sleeping and waking times. The circadian rhythm of your body works on a set loop aligned with sunrise and sunset. So, try to get a regular sleep/wake cycle.
Having a consistent cycle of waking and sleeping times gives you long term quality sleep. So, make it a habit to go to bed and wake up at similar times every day. Use an alarm to notify you when you should go to bed and wake up.
The idea is to plan ahead and decide you will be in bed by 10 pm every night for example in order for your internal body clock to adjust, then allow yourself some buffer time to wind down before getting into bed. To make bedtime a calming routine, spend that buffer period doing things like reading a book or taking a warm shower, things that will help your body and mind relax so you can quickly drift off at night.
After several weeks, you will notice you won’t need the alarm anymore.
2. Regular exercise
Science supports exercise as one of the ways you can improve your health and sleep. It reduces insomnia and enhances aspects of sleep. Among people with insomnia, exercise offers more benefits compared to most drugs.
Working out during the day can help decrease stress levels, which is an important factor for obtaining better rest at night. Regular physical activity also helps promote healthy hormone production, particularly melatonin and serotonin, both of which are essential for improving and regulating sleep patterns.
Exercise decreases the time it takes to fall asleep, anxiety and wakefulness while increasing sleep time. Although exercising every day is good for night sleep, according to sleepsharp.com, exercise before bed may result in sleep problems.
3. Avoid bright light during/before sleep
Darkness improves your sleep. A naturally occurring hormone known as melatonin is controlled by exposure to light which regulates sleep/wake cycle. In the darkness, your brain generated more melatonin making you feel sleepy.
When there’s light, it makes you more wakeful. Try to avoid your computer, smartphone, tablet or TV since they emit a disruptive blue light. Put away your devices an hour or two before bedtime.
There are a few options that can help you sleep in total darkness. You can choose to use devices with smaller screens or turn down the level of brightness.
Also, you can use sleeping masks or get a dark blackout shade to cover your bedroom windows. Dark window shades are effective in stopping light from outside that can interfere with your sleep.
4. Relax and clear your mind
Relaxation techniques before bedtime improve the quality of sleep and are common for treating insomnia. Some strategies include reading a book, meditation, deep breathing, and listening to relaxing music.
One of the best things you can do to relax and clear your mind before going to bed is taking a few moments for some deep breathing or focused meditation. Focusing on five or six deep breaths in and then exhaling slowly will help prepare your body and mind for restful sleep.
You may also find it helpful to write down any thoughts, worries, or concerns that have been churning in your mind so that they can be set aside until the morning when you are more alert and able to face them with clarity.
Use mindful relaxation techniques before going to bed. These calm your mind and decrease the daily stress as you prepare your mind and body for a good night’s sleep. In addition, taking vitamins like magnesium that may help you relax can be very beneficial. It essentially prepares you to rest as it helps your body’s rhythm. Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating the human sleep-wake cycle. To promote restful sleep and get the most benefit, you may want to find out when to take magnesium.
5. Enhance your sleep environment
Having a peaceful routing before going to bed tells the brain is time to wind down the stresses of the day. There are cases when the tiniest tweaks in your bedroom can result in a better quality of sleep.
For instance, keeping your bedroom cooler while getting fresh air to circulate is important for good sleep. Also, keeping your bedroom quiet can significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
Sound can affect your health and rest patterns so keeping it down will make sure get enough rest. What’s more, as indicated earlier, keep your bedroom dark to avoid interference in your sleep cycle.
6. Avoid stimulant before going to bed
The main culprits are coffee, tea, chocolate and soda drinks. These contain caffeine which keeps your mind and body alert for hours. So, taking such drinks will prevent you from getting deep sleep.
Stimulants can keep the body alert and prevent it from properly resting, making it difficult to fall asleep. Instead of taking a stimulant before bedtime, try relaxing activities such as reading a book or taking a bath with lavender oil for an even more calming effect.
Always be careful with foods or drinks with high caffeine because they can result in sleep deprivation. Cut them off from your menu at 2 p.m. you will notice a difference in your sleep pattern.
7. Take a relaxing shower or bath
Another way you can enjoy better sleep is through a relaxing bath or shower. Research shows that it can improve overall sleep quality and helps individuals fall asleep faster. A shower 90 minutes before bedtime improves sleep quality and helps you get better deep sleep.
Indulging in warm water can stimulate blood circulation, release tension in your muscles, and soothe aches and pains. Make sure to keep your bathroom well ventilated so that steam won’t make breathing difficult. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, add some herbal oils to the water for extra relaxation and stress relief.
In case you don’t like taking a shower at night, bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and improve your sleep.
8. Avoid liquids before going to bed
Although hydration is important, it is better to reduce the intake of fluids at night. Excessive urination at night is known as nocturia and it affects sleep quality and energy during the day.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is necessary for proper hydration, but if you want a better night’s sleep, cut off drinking about two hours before bedtime in order to give your body time to get rid of most of the liquid consumed.
Taking liquids before bedtime can result in similar symptoms. Ensure you use the bathroom before going to bed to reduce the chances of you waking up at night.
9. Get a comfortable mattress, pillow and bed
Investing in a quality mattress, pillow and bed is essential. The right mattress and pillow result in a good night’s sleep which is the reason you are reading this article.
It’s also important to choose a pillow that fits your sleep style; if you’re a side sleeper, opt for a cushiony formula with extra loft, while stomach sleepers should use something thin and flat, such as memory foam or quilted microfiber. Those who switch positions in the night should go for more of a medium plush so they can find comfort regardless of their position.
A poor choice of mattress or pillow can result in discomfort as well as problems in your health. Having a soft memory foam mattress is a good choice for outstanding comfort.
10. Avoid heavy meals at night
Taking heavy meals late in the evening keeps your digestive system busy. This is not good since you want your body ready and relaxed for deep sleep. Eating late can negatively affect sleep quality and the release of melatonin.
With that in mind, the quality and type of snack taken may play a role in how you sleep. One study shows that taking high-carb meal 4 hours before bedtime helps you fall asleep faster.
So, taking a large meal before bedtime results in poor sleep. However, taking some snacks a few hours before bedtime can help you get a good night sleep.
Try one or a combination of these tips if you want to get better sleep. Studies support the use of different approaches to get you a nice sleep. Above all, give yourself enough time to sleep.