A good night’s sleep can help with maintaining a healthy weight, improve memory, and be good for cardiovascular health. However, studies show that over a third of Americans regularly sleep for under 6 hours. Given the importance of a good night’s sleep, it’s important to know some handy tools to help you get to sleep quicker and stay asleep longer. In this post, we will outline 15 proven tips to sleep better at night.
- Get into a routine
Remember when you were younger and you had a set time to go to bed every night? Well, it’s a good idea to bring that sort of routine back into your life. Even at the weekends, you should stick to the same schedule. Otherwise, your body clock will be disrupted and you’ll find you sleep worse in the week if you hit that snooze button on Sunday.
- Get active
A review of 29 separate studies found that increasing your activity levels improves sleep efficiency and duration. This held true whether the people involved had previously been more sedentary or generally active. Upping your activity levels from their base level will soon have you sleeping better for longer.
- Avoid those electronics
As tempting as it can be to check social media, the news, or drift off whilst watching something, screens before bed make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. This is because of the light they give off which is known to stimulate the brain. When the brain is stimulated, it is harder to get to sleep. Try to avoid looking at a screen for at least an hour before bed.
- Use blackout curtains
Just like screens, light stimulates the brain and disrupts sleep. Making sure your room is completely dark helps to ensure that you can get to sleep quicker and won’t be disturbed until you’re ready to get up. Blackout curtains keep out any light from street-lights or the moon. You’re in charge of avoiding the screens inside the room though!
- Eat and drink healthily
Cutting down on things containing lots of sugar and/or caffeine or cutting them out altogether can work wonders for a great night’s sleep. It’s also good to make your evening meal a light one. So often we make this our main meal but keeping it smaller helps you to digest it before bed, giving you a more restful sleep.
- Avoid spicy food
As delicious as spicy food can be, it can often lead to a poor night’s sleep. Spicy food can unsettle and irritate your stomach or cause heartburn making a good night’s sleep harder to achieve. Heavy and stodgy foods should also be avoided to help prevent feeling bloated and uncomfortable before bed.
- Quit smoking
A study for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that smokers found it harder to get to sleep and harder to wake up than non-smokers. Sleep can also be more unsettled due to the prolonged withdrawal from nicotine whilst sleeping. Male smokers are also more likely to suffer from disturbing dreams, whilst female smokers are more likely to feel extremely tired during the day.
- Skip that nightcap
Some people find a little tot of something before bed helps them nod off to sleep. However, even if alcohol can help you get to sleep, it disrupts your overall sleep pattern. This has the effect of feeling less well refreshed in the morning. If you wake up in the night, alcohol also makes it harder to get back to sleep.
- Turn down the heat
Whilst it can be nice to keep your house nice and cozy, it is best to sleep in a room below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping things a bit cooler at night will help to ensure you don’t overheat during the night. You can also try making your bed up with multiple layers rather than one duvet so you have greater temperature control.
- Keep the bed to yourself
Whilst it can be tempting to let your cat and dog snuggle in with you at night, more often than not, this leads to a bad night’s sleep. When it comes to children sneaking in, sometimes this is outside of your control. However, kids can be even worse than pets when it comes to taking over. Try to keep the bed your own and you’ll ensure an improved sleep.
- The bed is only for sleeping
Have you ever found that you’re falling asleep on the sofa but by the time you’ve gone up to bed your wide awake? So why not substitute your bed for the sofa so you can drift off? Well, for one thing, you’ll be using a screen that will disturb your sleep. Try reading rather than using a screen and use the bed as a bed alone and your sleep will quickly improve.
- Try herbal remedies
From camomile tea to herbal tablets, there are a wide range of herbal remedies out there. If you find having a cup of tea before beds leads to you getting up in the night, herbal tablets make a great substitute. Herbal remedies are lighter than sleeping tablets too so won’t keep you feeling drowsy the next day either. From muscle relaxation to better blood regulation, herbal remedies can really help you get a sound night’s sleep.
- Practice meditation and deep breathing
Meditation before bed can be great for your mental wellbeing, help you relax, and ensure you get to sleep easily. If meditation isn’t your thing, you can still practice the technique of deep breathing. Inhale deep and slow and feel the breath as it fills your belly and pushes your lungs against your ribcage. Hold it, then slowly breathe out. This helps you to relax and the focus helps to push concerns out of your mind.
- Don’t watch the clock
If you find yourself watching the clock, it’s a good idea to give tip 14 a try. When we worry about the time and how soon we have to get up we soon become anxious. Feeling anxious makes it much harder to get to sleep in a vicious cycle that will keep you up for longer.
- Keep things comfy
This is perhaps the simplest tip of all. If your bed isn’t comfy, a good night’s sleep is going to be hard to come by. Choose comfortable pajamas too. You can also try sleeping on your left side rather than your right as some studies show this can help prevent a disturbed night’s sleep.
If you’re struggling to sleep, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to help turn things around. Following the simple tips above will be well worth it.