You probably already know how important sleep is to promoting good health, avoiding stress, and remaining productive throughout your day. Experts advise that you get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. But that is usually easier said than done for most people battling insomnia. Different factors may be responsible for your lack of good night’s sleep, ranging from health to lifestyle. But regardless of the cause, one thing is for sure – lack of proper sleep can ship away your health bit by bit. Thankfully, there are ways you can bring your lack of sleep to an end. Here are some simple ways to improve your sleep.
- Eat before you sleep – but not too much
Regardless of how busy your day is, do not go to bed hungry. A grumbling stomach is no good company when it’s time to sleep. So, eat before you sleep. But be sure not to overindulge, as eating too much can also make your stomach feel too uncomfortable. Ideally, you should avoid eating within 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. And if you happen to feel hungry right before bedtime, indulge in some healthy snacks such as whole-wheat crackers, oatmeal, plain yogurt with eggs, apple with a slice of cheese, etc. These should keep you full until breakfast. And speaking of food, the following point can also be helpful.
- Select sleep-inducing foods
Foods and drinks like almond, turkey, chamomile tea, walnut, fatty fish, tart cherry juice, warm milk, etc., can help you sleep better at night. So be sure to add them to your dinner menu. Also, foods rich in carbohydrates can help.
After dinner, pick relaxing activities like reading and watching TV to help you relax before bedtime. And if you love gummies, you can snack on some CBN gummies specially formulated to help you sleep. But as indicated earlier, your dinner should come at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
- Go to bed at the same time each night
Your body can adapt to suit your lifestyle. That means if you have a habit of staying up late or not sleeping early, your body can adapt to that, making it difficult for you to sleep early. That is why it is important to have consistency with your bedtime habits. Start by going to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends. Ideally, you should go to bed as early as possible to give your body enough time to shut down. As you maintain this habit, your body will begin to adjust to it. That means, as soon your bedtime nears, your body will naturally prepare to shut down, making it easier to fall asleep.
Changing your bedtime and routines all the time will make it difficult for your body to get proper sleep.
- Increase your exposure to bright light during the day
Exposure to daylight or any other form of bright light impacts the way your body reacts regarding sleep. Your body has a natural time-keeping clock that helps to stay awake during the day (under bright lights) and sleep at night. Also known as the circadian rhythm, this time-keeping clock affects your hormones, brain, and body. It improves daytime energy and makes it easier to fall asleep at night. Some studies show that giving your body two hours of bright light exposure during the day can increase your night sleep quality by two hours. So, do your best to head out under the sun during the day. If that isn’t always possible, consider investing in bright artificial light sources. And speaking of lights, the next tip is also important.
- Turn off all blue light sources
While bright light during the day can help you sleep better at night, blue lights do the opposite. Blue lights emanate from tech devices like your TV, smartphone, laptop, tablet, digital clock, etc. While blue light may seem harmless, studies show it can affect sleep quality. Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. So, at least an hour before you go to bed, turn off your computer and TV, put away your phone, and turn off any other source of blue light in your bedroom. Some experts have even suggested ridding your bedroom of any screen that emanates blue light.
Leave your bedroom dark and quiet, and only use bedside lamps that produce a gentle glow if you want to keep your lights on.
Here’s another reason you need to exercise daily – it can improve your sleep quality. Whether it’s something as simple as going for a brisk walk or hitting the gym, exercising can boost the effect of natural sleep hormones like melatonin. And this makes it easier for you to fall asleep. But you need to watch what time you exercise. For example, working out too close to bedtime can become stimulating, keeping you awake instead. On the other hand, working out in the morning or during the day will expose you to bright daylight and help your natural circadian rhythm. And this leads to the next point.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine hours before sleep
Understandably, you need a boost of energy to power you through your day. And if you’re like most people, you likely reach for an energy drink, coffee, or any energy-boosting drink. But that’s a bad move. Coffee and energy drinks contain stimulant compounds, usually caffeine, that provide mental and physical stimulation. They can keep you awake and active during the day, but when you take them close to nighttime, they can keep you up for most of the night. So, it’s best to avoid these drinks. But if you need to take them, do so at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. You may also consider avoiding alcohol within three hours of bedtime. While it can help you fall asleep, alcohol can also act as a stimulant a few hours after taking it. That means you may fall asleep, but you’ll wake too early and struggle to sleep again.
- Minimize daytime naps
Taking quick naps during the day can help keep you alert and make you more productive. Some studies also claim that napping during the day or taking beauty sleep has immense benefits for your skin and health. However, irregular or long daytime nights can do a number on your sleep quality at night. If you need to sleep, make it short, ideally 30 minutes or less. Anything longer than that can impair your sleep quality. Additionally, do not nap irregularly throughout the day, even if they’re short. Try to have specific times in the day to snooze, as irregularities can affect your nighttime sleep.
- Make your bedroom conducive to sleep.
Even if you don’t struggle with insomnia, you can have difficulty sleeping if your bedroom isn’t conducive enough. As mentioned earlier, screens that emanate blue light in your bedroom can keep you awake. But beyond these, things like poor ventilation, noise, bad odor, bright light from outside, an uncomfortable sleeping area, etc., can make you too uncomfortable to sleep at night. Try keeping your bedroom temperature as cool as possible, preferably between 60 and 75°F. Also, provide enough ventilation in your room while adding comfortable pillows and a mattress. You may also opt for heavy curtains to block bright light from the outside. Other things, like white noise, scented candles, and eye masks, have also been proven to help improve sleep quality. And finally, if your mattress is older than 10 years, you may want to consider replacing it.