We’ve rounded up seven of our favorite sleep better tips to help you get the most restful and refreshing night in bed that you can get!
Getting better sleep at night boosts your mood, memory, attention to detail, and ability to focus, learn, and articulate.
It also helps reduce blood sugar, prevent chronic diseases, keep your weight at a healthy level, control hormone levels, stabilize blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough sleep because they wake up early or can’t stay asleep. These tips can help ensure you’ll get a better night’s sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed daily.
1. Reduce stimulants throughout the day.
Many people require caffeine to help get them through the day. However, drinking too much of it or drinking it too late in the day can affect your ability to sleep.
Some research indicates that caffeine can stay in your system for as long as 10 hours. This means that if your last cup of coffee was at 3 PM, then you may still have caffeine in your system until 1 AM!
Make sure you enjoy your cup of coffee first thing in the morning and consider switching to decaf in the afternoon. Better yet – drink water in the PM to help energize you and keep you hydrated!
Nicotine and alcohol can also impact your sleep. According to one study, having a few drinks before bedtime might help you sleep initially, but these effects wear off after three days of continued use. If you’re drinking alcohol every night, then consider sticking to one.
Research shows that nicotine may lead to sleep apnea. One study indicated that smoking cigarettes may lead to the severity of obstructive sleep apnea because it alters sleep architecture, arousal mechanisms, and upper airway inflammation and neuromuscular function.
If you’re having problems sleeping at night, then now might be a good time to finally quit smoking or drinking for good.
2. Go to bed at the same time every night (and wake up at the same time every day).
Setting a bedtime routine might sound juvenile, but your body clock enjoys a set schedule. Going to bed every night at the same time and waking up every day at the same time, even on weekends, is a great way to tell your body when it’s time to sleep.
It also helps balance your circadian rhythm, which is responsible for your wake-sleep cycle. It works by reading environmental cues to determine when it’s time to sleep.
For example, during the day when you are exposed to light, your brain sends signals to your body to promote alertness so that you can stay awake and be active.
When night comes, the lack of light initiates the process that involves the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that causes you to feel sleepy.
Keeping this process balanced and aligning your circadian rhythm by developing a bedtime routine is an important part of getting better sleep.
3. Reduce exposure to light at night.
Another way to balance your circadian rhythm is by reducing your exposure to light at night. Light signals tell your brain to stop producing melatonin, which can make you feel alert when you should be sleeping.
According to one study, light has a strong and rapid effect on the timing of the human circadian rhythm. Because of this, it’s a good idea to turn off electronics at least a half-hour before going to bed.
This includes your TV, smartphone, computer or laptop, and any handheld drives that omit light. It’s also a good idea to make sure your bedroom is completely dark at night. It may be helpful to install high-quality blinds that block light and remove electronics from your bedroom.
Eating a big meal at night that is hard to digest can interrupt your sleep by making you feel heavy, bloated, and uncomfortable.
Avoid the digestive upset and indigestion that accompanies heavy meals by making your last meal of the day a light one. Enjoy lean protein, such as chicken or fish, with low-carb veggies, such as green, leafy veggies, asparagus, or broccoli.
Save heavy foods that are harder to digest for earlier in the day, such as grains, dairy, or soy. In some instances, you may need to remove these foods from your diet altogether as they can lead to chronic inflammation, which affects sleep no matter what time of day you eat them.
5. Check your medications.
Some medications can interfere with your sleep cycle. You may need to consult with your doctor if you are having a hard time sleeping at night. He or she should be able to adjust your dosage or recommend alternative options that don’t affect your sleep.
Never cease medications before talking to your doctor, even if you suspect they are causing you to stay awake at night.
6. Exercise, but not before bed.
Exercise can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression that make it hard to fall asleep at night. If you constantly lay awake at night stressing about what you have to do tomorrow, then a good exercise session can help calm the mind and body!
Research shows that physical activity levels affect your quality of sleep. According to one study, people who are more active fall asleep quicker than those who are not.
Try to exercise earlier in the day if possible as strenuous exercise at night can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Adding exercise to your morning routine is a great way to establish a routine that balances your circadian rhythm.
7. Be sure your sleep partner is on the same page.
Your sleep partner can greatly affect your quality of sleep. Many people have a hard time falling asleep next to a partner who is constantly tossing and turning or snoring at night.
Your partner may also keep you awake by scrolling through their phone at night or bringing light into the room, which can affect melatonin production for both of you.
Explain your sleep situation to your partner and ask them to develop better sleep habits with you. This may include encouraging children to sleep in their own rooms, limiting electronic exposure, and going to bed together every night.