How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
17 Proven Sleep Improvement Strategies
A good night’s sleep is as essential as regular exercise and a nutritious diet.
According to research, a lack of sleep has an immediate negative impact on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function.
It can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk of disease in both adults and children.
In contrast, getting enough sleep can help you eat less, exercise more, and live a healthier lifestyle.
Sleep quality and quantity have both declined over the last few decades. In fact, many people have trouble sleeping on a regular basis.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health or lose weight.
Here are 17 research-backed tips to help you sleep better at night.
- Increase your exposure to bright light during the day.
The circadian rhythm is your body’s natural time-keeping clock.
It has an effect on your brain, body, and hormones, allowing you to stay awake while also telling your body when it is time to sleep.
During the day, natural sunlight or bright light helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This boosts both daytime energy and nighttime sleep quality and duration.
Daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration in people with insomnia. It also cut the time needed to fall asleep by 83%.
A similar study in older adults discovered that two hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by two hours and the efficiency of sleep by 80%.
While most studies involve people with severe sleep disorders, daily light exposure will most likely benefit you even if you sleep well.
Try getting daily sunlight exposure or, if that isn’t possible, invest in a bright light device or bulbs.
- Limit your exposure to blue light in the evening.
Light exposure during the day is beneficial, but light exposure at night has the opposite effect.
This is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, which tricks your brain into believing it is still daytime. This reduces hormones such as melatonin, which aid in relaxation and deep sleep.
Blue light, which is emitted in large quantities by electronic devices such as smartphones and computers, is the worst in this regard.
There are several popular methods for reducing blue light exposure at night. These are some examples:
Wear blue-blocking sunglasses.
To block blue light on your laptop or computer, install an app like flux.
Install a blue light filtering app on your smartphone. Both iPhone and Android models are supported.
2 hours before going to bed, turn off the TV and any bright lights.
- Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day.
Caffeine has numerous health benefits and is consumed by 90% of Americans.
A single dose can improve concentration, energy, and athletic performance.
Caffeine, on the other hand, stimulates your nervous system late in the day and may prevent your body from naturally relaxing at night.
Caffeine consumption up to 6 hours before bedtime significantly reduced sleep quality in one study.
Caffeine levels in the blood can remain elevated for 6-8 hours. As a result, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3-4 p.m. is not advised, especially if you have difficulty sleeping.
If you need a cup of coffee later in the day, opt for decaffeinated coffee.
- Reduce the number of irregular or long daytime naps.
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular daytime naps can disrupt your sleep.
Sleeping during the day can throw off your internal clock, making it difficult to sleep at night.
Participants in one study reported feeling sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps.
Another study found that while 30-minute naps can improve daytime brain function, longer naps can harm health and sleep quality.
Some studies show that people who take regular daytime naps do not have poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
Don’t be concerned if you take regular daytime naps and sleep well. The effects of napping vary according to the individual.
- Make an effort to sleep and wake at consistent times.
The circadian rhythm of your body operates on a fixed loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Consistency in sleep and waking times can help with long-term sleep quality (42Trusted Source).
According to one study, participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on weekends slept poorly.
Other studies have found that irregular sleep patterns can disrupt your circadian rhythm and melatonin levels, which signal your brain to sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, try to get into the habit of waking up and going to bed at the same times every day. You might not even need an alarm after a few weeks.
- Use melatonin supplements.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone that signals to your brain when it’s time to unwind and sleep. They’re a very popular sleep aid.
Melatonin, which is commonly used to treat insomnia, may be one of the simplest ways to fall asleep faster.
Taking 2 mg of melatonin before bed improved sleep quality and energy the next day, allowing people to fall asleep faster, according to one study.
Another study found that half of the participants fell asleep faster and had a 15% improvement in sleep quality.
Furthermore, no withdrawal symptoms were reported in either of the preceding studies.
Melatonin can also help your body’s circadian rhythm return to normal after travelling and adjusting to a new time zone.
Melatonin requires a prescription in some countries. Melatonin is widely available in other countries, either in stores or online. Take 1-5 mg 30-60 minutes before going to bed.
Begin with a low dose to assess your tolerance, then gradually increase it as needed. Because melatonin has the potential to alter brain chemistry, you should consult with your doctor before using it.
You should also consult with them if you intend to use melatonin as a sleep aid for your child, as long-term use of this supplement in children has not been thoroughly researched.
- Consider these additional supplements.
Several supplements, including: can help you relax and sleep.
Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with numerous benefits, including improved sleep, relaxation, and stress reduction, but research is limited. Take 250 mg 30-60 minutes before going to sleep.
Glycine: According to a few studies, taking 3 grammes of the amino acid glycine can improve sleep quality.
Valerian root: According to several studies, valerian root can help you fall asleep and improve your sleep quality. Take 500 mg before going to bed.
Magnesium: Responsible for over 600 reactions in your body, magnesium can help you relax and sleep better.
L-theanine is an amino acid that can help with relaxation and sleep. Take 100-200 mg before going to bed.
Lavender: A powerful herb with numerous health benefits, lavender can have a sedative and calming effect, which can help you sleep better. Take 80-160 mg of linalool (25-46%).
Make sure to only use one of these supplements at a time. While they are not a cure-all for sleep problems, they can be beneficial when combined with other natural sleeping methods.
- Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages.
Having a few drinks at night can have a negative impact on your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol has been linked to the development of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also affects melatonin production at night, which is important for your body’s circadian rhythm.
Another study discovered that drinking alcohol at night reduced natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone (HGH), which regulates your circadian rhythm and has many other important functions.
- Make your bedroom more comfortable.
Many people believe that a good night’s sleep is dependent on the bedroom environment and its layout.
Temperature, noise, outside lighting, and furniture arrangement are examples of these factors.
In one study of women’s bedroom environments, approximately half of the participants reported improved sleep quality when noise and light were reduced.
To improve your bedroom environment, reduce external noise, light, and artificial lighting from devices such as alarm clocks. Make your bedroom a peaceful, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable space.
10. Set the temperature in your bedroom.
The temperature of the body and the bedroom can also have a significant impact on sleep quality.
It can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when it’s too hot, as you may have discovered during the summer or in hot locations.
According to one study, bedroom temperature had a greater impact on sleep quality than external noise.
According to other research, increased body and bedroom temperature can reduce sleep quality and increase wakefulness.
Most people seem to find 70°F (20°C) to be a comfortable temperature, though this depends on your preferences and habits.
- Avoid eating late at night.
Eating late at night may impair sleep quality as well as the natural release of HGH and melatonin.
However, the quality and type of your late-night snack may also play a role.
A high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bedtime helped people fall asleep faster in one study.
Interestingly, one study found that a low carb diet improved sleep, implying that carbs aren’t always necessary, especially if you’re used to a low carb diet.
- In the evening, unwind and clear your mind.
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that they follow to help them relax.
Relaxation techniques before bedtime have been shown to improve sleep quality and are a common treatment for insomnia.
A relaxing massage improved sleep quality in people who were ill in one study.
Listening to soothing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualisation are all effective relaxation techniques.
Experiment with various methods to see what works best for you.
- Enjoy a soothing bath or shower.
Another popular method for improving sleep is to take a relaxing bath or shower.
According to research, they can help improve overall sleep quality and help people, particularly older adults, fall asleep faster.
Taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people sleep deeper.
If you don’t want to take a full bath at night, simply immersing your feet in hot water can help you relax and sleep better.
- Eliminate the possibility of a sleep disorder.
Your sleep issues could be caused by an underlying health condition.
Sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing, is a common problem. People with this disorder repeatedly stop breathing while sleeping.
This condition may be more prevalent than you realise. According to one study, 24% of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea.
Other common medically diagnosed issues include shift workers’ sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders.
If you’ve always had trouble sleeping, you should speak with your doctor.
- Purchase a comfy bed, mattress, and pillow.
Some people are perplexed as to why they always sleep better in a hotel.
Aside from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also have an impact on sleep.
One study found that using a new mattress for 28 days reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60%, and back stiffness by 59%. It also increased the quality of sleep by 60%.
According to other studies, new bedding can improve sleep. Furthermore, poor quality bedding can aggravate lower back pain.
The best mattress and bedding are extremely personal preferences. If you’re upgrading your bedding, go with your gut instinct.
It is recommended that you replace your bedding every 5-8 years.
If you haven’t replaced your mattress or bedding in several years, this can be a quick — albeit potentially costly — fix.
- Exercise on a regular basis, but not before going to bed.
Exercise is one of the most scientifically proven ways to improve your sleep and overall health.
It can improve all aspects of sleep and has been used to treat insomnia symptoms.
One study of older adults found that exercise cut the time it took to fall asleep in half and provided 41 minutes more sleep at night.
Exercise provided more benefits than most drugs in people suffering from severe insomnia. Exercise shortened the time it took to fall asleep by 55%, reduced total night wakefulness by 30%, and reduced anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18%.
Although daily exercise is essential for a good night’s sleep, doing it too late in the day may cause sleep issues.
This is due to exercise’s stimulatory effect, which increases alertness and hormones such as epinephrine and adrenaline.
However, some studies show no negative effects, implying that it is entirely dependent on the individual.
- Do not consume any liquids before going to bed.
Nocturia is the medical term for excessive nighttime urination. It has an impact on sleep quality and energy levels during the day.
Large amounts of liquids consumed before going to bed can cause similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is essential for good health, you should limit your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try not to drink anything for at least 1-2 hours before going to bed.
You should also use the restroom right before going to bed, as this may reduce your chances of waking up in the middle of the night.
Sleep is critical to your health.
One large study found that lack of sleep increased the risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults.
Other research has found that sleeping for less than 7-8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you want to improve your health and well-being, make sleep a priority and implement some of the suggestions above.