10 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night
A good night’s sleep is just as important for our health as a regular exercise and a healthy diet. It is proven that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. Poor sleep can also cause weight gain and increased risk of disease in both children and adults. In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise more and be healthier overall.
Over the past several decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, most people regularly get poor sleep. The fast pace lifestyle and digital world that we live in today is to blame, but if you want to optimize your health there are evidence based tips that can help you sleep better at night.
1. Increase bight light exposure during the day: Our bodies have a natural time keeping clock, and it affects our brain, body and hormones helping us stay awake and telling us when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight and bright light during the day helps keep our natural time keeping clock healthy and improves our daytime energy as well as our sleep quality at night and duration of our sleep. Try to get daily sunlight exposure or, if this isn’t practical- invest in an artificial device or light bulbs.
2. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening: Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect. This is because it can trick our natural time keeping clock into thinking that it is daytime. Exposure at night reduces our natural melatonin, which can help us relax and get a deep sleep. To reduce nighttime blue light exposure you can wear glasses that block blue light, install apps that block blue light on your smart phone, and lastly try your best to stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before going to bed.
3. Don’t consume caffeine late in the day: Caffeine has many benefits, and especially in today’s fast pace world a single dose of caffeine can help enhance focus, energy, and sports performance. However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. If you do crave a cup of coffee late in the afternoon, try your best to stick to decaffeinated coffee.
4. Reduce irregular or long daytime naps: While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can affect your sleep. Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night. If you struggle to sleep at night, stop napping or shorten your naps during the day.
5. Try to sleep and wake up on a schedule: Our bodies natural time keeping clock functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and wake up times can aid long-term sleep quality. If you find yourself struggling to sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you might not even need an alarm to wake you.
6. Take a Melatonin Supplement: Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed. This can be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster. Strat with a low dose to assess your tolerance and then increase your intake slowly over time as needed. Start with 1mg, and increase to up to 5mg around 30-60 minutes before you’re looking to fall asleep.
7. Don’t Drink Alcohol: Having a couple drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. Alcohol can increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disturbed sleep patterns. It can also alter nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in our body’s natural time telling clock.
8. Create an Optimal Bedroom Environment: Factors such as temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement all can effect our sleep habits. To optimize your bedroom environment try your best to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable space.
9. Don’t Eat Late in the Evening: Eating late at night might negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin. That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well. Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption.
10. Relax and Clear your Mind Each Evening: Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax. Different relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality. For some people, a relaxing massage might improve sleep. For others, relaxing music, reading a good book, deep breathing or visualization can help. Try out different methods till you find one that works for you.
Sleep plays a key role in your health. If you want optimal health for yourself and your family, it is best to make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips recommended.