Top Tips to Sleep Better
If you could do just one thing to increase your brain power, boost productivity, improve your mental awareness, emotional balance, look better and, and live longer – would you do it? The answer is a resounding yes! So here is some good news: all you have to do is read on to find out the most effective methods for improving the quantity and quality of your sleep. Check out the following tips to discover your personal prescription for a good night rest.
1. Keep a regular sleep routine
Your body has a natural circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle, getting in sync with this cycle is an important strategy for improving the quality of your sleep. Strive to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (including holidays and weekends) in order to maintain a consistent rhythm and train your brain to fall asleep and wake up at the appropriate times.
Use these tips to maintain your sleep-wake rhythm:
- Limit napping to about 15 to 20 minutes, especially if you have trouble staying asleep at night.
- If you find yourself drowsy way before your bedtime, engage in an activity that is mildly stimulating like preparing your clothes for the next day, calling a friend or washing the dishes.
2. Limit your exposure to light
Melatonin a naturally occurring hormone which regulates your sleep/wake cycle is controlled by light exposure. During the night, your brain secretes more melatonin—inducing sleep—and less when there’s exposure to light—making you more alert.
- During the day:
Spend more time outside to expose yourself to bright sunshine during the day. This will strengthen your brain’s sleep/ wake rhythm and energize you throughout the day while ensuring that you will be tired enough to fall asleep at bedtime.
- At night: create a tech-free zone
Computers, cellphones and tablets can interfere with your sleep-wake rhythm because of their ever-glowing lights. Those in the blue wavelengthscan especially upset your circadian rhythm by mirroring daylight. Hence avoid late night TV, or any other bright screen, the bright light suppresses melatonin and can keep you awake for a much longer time. If you find out that you cannot sleep, get out of bed, try engaging in an activity such as reading a book, or listening to an audio book. It will be much easier to fall asleep.
3. Get regular exercise
A study published in the December issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity reported that people who exercised for at least 150 minutes each week feel less sleepy during the day and sleep much better at night. Moreover, physical exercise especially vigorous workout increases the time your body spends in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Give priority to exercises that gets your heart pumping such as walking, cycling or swimming.
Note – Strive to finish your workouts at least three hours before bedtime or better still exercise in the morning, exercising too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep.
4. Choose your food wisely
What you consume especially during the daytime impacts the quality of your sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Limit nicotine and caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with your sleep even up to 12 hours after drinking it!
- Eat in moderation. Eat dinner earlier in the evening, and avoid spicy or heavy food 2 hours before bed.
- Skip the Pre-Bed Cocktail. While alcohol may help you to relax, it affects your sleep as it wears off. Moreover, drinking lots of liquids may result in frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Do not go to bed on an empty stomach, a light snack an hour before bed is good.
5. Manage stress
Anxiety, anger and stress from your day can significantly affect your sleep at night. If the stress of family, work or school is keeping you awake, you may need help with stress management. Learn how to effectively manage your time, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a positive, calm and optimisticoutlook. If you’re feeling anxious about something and it’s preventing you from sleeping, write it down on a paper and stop worrying about it till the next day, when it will be easier to resolve after a good night’s rest.
6. Prepare a sleep-friendly environment
Sometimes making small changes to your bedroom can play a vital role in improving the quality of your sleep. To prepare your room for a good night rest -
- Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. Turn out the lights, block noise with ear plugs. Extreme temperatures can affect your sleep. The ideal temperature is around 65° F or 18° C.
- Make sure the room is adequately ventilated. A stuffy room will make falling asleep more difficult while fresh air promotes a good night rest
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. You may need to experiment with different levels of mattress foam toppers, firmness, and pillows to find the one that works best for you.
In a glance
Getting a good night’s sleep has a positive effect on your overall well-being and contributes to a productive day. Improve the quality of your sleep by:
- Keeping a regular sleep routine
- Get regular exercise
- Control your exposure to light
- Make healthy choices about food and drink
- Get rid of stressors
- Improve your sleep environment
Quality sleep is one of the most vital variables to improve your brain health, longevity, and function at your best in all aspects of life. Always remember “Sleep Well, Be Well.”