Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our lives. It’s when the body gets to rest and regenerate, preparing you for the following day. As such, it goes without saying that poor or inadequate sleep can leave you drained of energy, feeling fatigued, and affect your overall health and well-being. If you have been struggling to get quality sleep, these simple tips should hopefully get you back on track.
6 Tips to Help You Improve Sleep
1. Create a Sleeping Schedule
One of the easiest ways to get your body into the habit of falling and staying asleep is by setting a schedule for yourself. The circadian rhythm operates the best when it follows a routine, i.e going to sleep and waking up at the same time. Deviating from this confuses the body, preventing you from establishing an ideal sleep schedule.
Setting and following a sleep schedule routine, even during the weekends keeps the sleep cycle working and prevents sleeping difficulties.
2. Switch Off Electronic Gadgets
Light, particularly the blue kind is known to hamper sleep. It prevents the release of the sleeping hormone, making it hard to fall asleep. The brain interprets light in your surroundings as a sign to remain active and as a result, it hampers the release of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. When there’s little to no light, the body releases more of this hormone and prepares you for deep sleep.
So, to avoid your electronic devices from interfering with your sleep, it is advisable to turn them off, or at least switch on Night Mode. Even if you are tempted to watch one more episode of that captivating series, turn off the TV or computer 30 minutes before going to bed. Turn down the brightness of your smartphone and turn off any bright overhead lights in your bedroom. Creating a relaxing environment helps you relax and get into a sleeping mood.
3. Have a Regular Bedtime Routine
To back up our first point, it’s advisable to reinforce a regular sleeping schedule with good sleep hygiene habits as well as a regular bedtime routine. Dedicate the last hour before bedtime to de-stress, unwind and get ready for bed. This means putting away those electronic devices, thoughts about your responsibilities, and anything else that might rob you of sleep.
Use this time to do things that will put you in the mood to sleep. This can be listening to relaxing music, reading a book, gentle stretching, a warm bath, etc. Doing this on a daily basis will help your body adapt to the routine and know that it’s time to sleep. It will get into the habit of releasing melatonin just before sleeping, thus improving your sleep quality.
4. Go Easy on the Caffeine
As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant that helps you stay awake and that’s why most of us like a cup of coffee in the morning. Caffeine does not promote sleep and so unless you’re planning to stay up all night, avoid drinking soda, energy drinks, green tea, coffee, and other beverages containing caffeine in the afternoons and evenings.
Be on the lookout for sneaky sources of caffeine as well. Some sweet treats and chocolates may have caffeine which can result in an energy spike, influencing your sleep at night. Consider decaf beverages and light foods in the second half of the day as you get ready for sleep.
5. Keep the Bedroom Cool and Comfortable
Overheating and night sweats can affect the quality of your sleep. Even if you do not experience night sweats, hot bedsheets and warm climates can be bothersome. Fortunately, you can easily counter this with a good AC unit or fan. Aim for a bedroom temperature of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your bed should be comfortable and supportive, consider investing in a highly rated hybrid mattress.
6. Consider Sleep Inducing Foods at Dinner
Just like there are foods and drinks to avoid before going to sleep, there are sleep-enhancing foods to consider. These include leafy greens, salmon, turkey, whole grains, and white rice. You’ll want to avoid foods that often lead to indigestion such as greasy foods, big heavy meals, and sugary desserts. These will just rob you of sleep.
In order to enjoy the benefits these foods have to offer, it’s advisable to plan for dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will give you plenty of time for digestion. Limit late-night snacking and if your stomach starts growling before bed, only eat light and healthy foods like crackers, apple slices, and cheese.