Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for optimal health and well-being. Yet, millions of people around the world don’t get the sleep they need each night. In today’s hectic and fast-paced world, poor sleep habits are more common than ever. Unfortunately, poor sleep will not only leave you feeling tired and sluggish the next day, but it can also cause more serious health problems in the long run, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also cause problems with attention, focus, and productivity. And if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to make poor choices and risk getting involved in accidents.
Luckily, some methods will help you get more restorative, high-quality sleep each night, even if you’ve struggled with sleep problems in the past or you’re just always short on time. Therefore, in this article, we will go over some simple tips you should follow so you can get the sleep you need and improve your overall health:
Get a Comfortable Mattress and Pillow
The average person spends about one-third of their life sleeping, so it’s important to find a mattress that provides the right amount of support and comfort. If you’re constantly tossing and turning at night, or you find yourself waking up with a sore neck or back, it might be time to invest in a new mattress and/or pillow.
When shopping for mattresses and pillows, look for those that are made from high-quality materials that will help keep your spine aligned while you sleep. Some options to consider include memory foam, latex foam, and polyurethane foam mattresses. And if you have a partner, getting the right size mattress is important so that you’re both comfortable and have enough room to move around. As explained by the folks from Sleepline, investing in high-quality king-size mattresses is a great way to ensure that you’ll both be comfortable and have enough space. The same goes for pillows – choose ones that are supportive and comfortable, so you’ll be able to sleep through the night without any discomfort.
Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep quality is to establish a consistent sleep schedule that you follow every day, including weekends. This will help your body get into a natural rhythm, so it knows when it should be sleepy or alert. Ideally, you should try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time each day and stick with it, even on the weekends.
If for any reason it is not possible to follow a regular sleep schedule, such as if you work the night shift or have an unpredictable work schedule, try your best to follow the 90-minute sleep cycle rule. This means that if you go to bed at midnight, then the perfect time to wake up is between 6:30-and 7:00 am, as it is optimal to complete at least 5 or 6 full sleep cycles. By waking up between two cycles, you will feel more refreshed and alert than if you were to wake up during a cycle. However, even if you do not have enough time, try to get at least 3 or 4 full sleep cycles. It will make all the difference in your ability to function during the day. You can use online tools or apps to calculate the best time to wake up based on when you went to bed or vice versa.
Get Plenty of Exercises
Exercise has endless benefits for overall health, but it can also help improve sleep quality. It does this by helping to regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This is because exercise helps to increase the production of endorphins, which have mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects.
People who exercise regularly tend to have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep than those who don’t exercise. And, the more strenuous the exercise, the greater the benefit. However, even moderate exercise can help improve sleep quality. Just make sure that you don’t exercise too close to bedtime as this can have the opposite effect and make it harder to fall asleep. The best time to exercise is early in the day or at least a few hours before you go to bed.
Avoid Caffeine Late in the Day
The stimulating effects of caffeine can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to fall asleep at night. This is because caffeine blocks the chemical adenosine, which signals your body that it’s time to sleep. Therefore, you should avoid drinking anything with caffeine after lunchtime if possible so that it will not affect your ability to fall asleep at night.
If you do consume caffeinated beverages in the evening, try to drink them earlier in the day or before noon so they are out of your system by bedtime. Additionally, be aware that many foods and drinks contain small amounts of caffeine, including chocolate, some teas, sodas, energy drinks, and even pain relievers. So, be sure to check labels for any caffeine-containing ingredients if you are not sure. You can also use apps to scan barcodes and get the precise nutrient content of your favorite food and drinks.
Avoid Screen Time Before Bed
Unfortunately, most people end up watching TV or scrolling through their phones before bed, which can directly affect sleep quality. This is because the light from screens can suppress the production of melatonin in your body, which signals that it is time to go to sleep, resulting in a feeling of wakefulness. Additionally, being on a screen right before bed can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep due to increased levels of stress and anxiety caused by all the distractions on our phones, computers, or TVs.
If you do watch TV or use your phone before bed, try to cut down as much as possible so that this time does not interfere with your sleep. Additionally, there are blue light filter settings on most phones and TVs that can help reduce the amount of blue light emitted from screens. And if you are wearing contact lenses, there are even special contacts that block blue light from screens so it might be wise to invest in those if you use screens before bed.
Keep a Cool, Comfortable Sleep Environment
Another simple way to improve sleep quality is by ensuring that your sleep environment is cool, dark, and quiet. This means that your bedroom should be free from any light sources, such as TV screens, phones, or lamps. Additionally, your room should be cool enough so that you are comfortable but not too cold or too hot. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60-and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, try to keep your bedroom as quiet as possible by using a noise machine or earplugs if necessary. If you live in a city or have a lot of outside noise, this can be especially important to get deep, restful sleep. In this case, a white noise machine can be helpful to drown out external noises, as it will help create a soothing environment that is conducive to sleep. You may also consider using blackout curtains to block out any outside light sources.
Limit Alcohol and Nicotine Use Before Bed
While you may think that having a drink before bed will help you sleep, alcohol has the opposite effect. This is because alcohol is a depressant and can disrupt your natural sleep cycle, making it harder to get deep, restful sleep. Additionally, alcohol can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and make it difficult to fall back asleep. Therefore, it’s best to avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages at least four hours before bedtime.
Similarly, the nicotine from cigarettes or vaping can also have stimulating effects that make it hard to fall asleep. Nicotine is also a potent stimulant and can cause insomnia or aggravate existing sleep disorders. If you smoke cigarettes or vape, try to quit or at least avoid smoking in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Avoid Eating Heavy Meals Before Bed
Eating a heavy meal before bed can disrupt your sleep cycle and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, especially if you eat foods high in sugar or fat. This is because eating large meals can cause your blood sugar to spike, which in turn triggers the stress response. Additionally, larger meals take time and effort to digest, which can lead to heartburn – a common cause of insomnia.
If you’re hungry at bedtime, try having a light snack that contains protein and complex carbohydrates, such as a small bowl of oatmeal or some Greek yogurt with fruit. This will help keep you full throughout the night without making your digestion process more difficult so that you won’t struggle with heartburn or have any other discomfort during sleep.
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Whether you’re winding down with a book, taking a bath, or doing some light stretching, it’s important to have a relaxing bedtime routine that helps signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. This routine should be performed every night at the same time, and it should last for at least 30 minutes. Some other ideas for relaxation techniques you should try include taking a warm bath or shower, listening to soothing music, and practicing deep breathing exercises or meditation. You may also drink some light herbal tea, just be sure to avoid green, or black tea, which can contain caffeine and keep you awake.
Doing these activities will help you relax both your mind and body so that you’re more likely to fall asleep when you get into bed. And once you establish this routine, stick to it every night for the best results.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep quality. And while there is no size-fits-all solution, by following and combining some of these tips, you should be able to find what works best for you and get the restful sleep you need. So don’t wait – start implementing these changes today and see the difference for yourself.