Fall asleep (and stay asleep) with these recommendations for improving sleep quality.
Sleep is the foundation of good mental and physical health. A poor night of sleep can leave you feeling irritable, fatigued, and forgetful, among other side effects. To avoid nights of tossing and turning, use these strategies for a better night’s sleep.
Foster Healthy Habits to Promote Better Sleep
A good night of sleep actually starts with what you do during the day and hours preceding bedtime. Regular exercise during the day, for example, can reduce sleep onset and relieve daytime sleepiness.
Eating and drinking can impact your sleep quality too. Finish eating meals two to three hours before you go to bed to allow yourself to fully digest, and avoid alcohol, which can disrupt your sleep during the night. Finally, limit your caffeine intake beginning in the late afternoon and onward, since caffeine promotes alertness and higher energy.
Create an Environment Conducive to Sleep
The items, sounds, and even smells you surround yourself with in your bedroom can affect your quality of sleep. To ensure a peaceful night of sleep, remove any distractions from the bedroom and add items that enhance your comfort during your sleep routine.
Remove televisions, tablets, and phones from your bedroom, since the blue light they emit has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness. If that’s not possible, pledge to stop using electronics an hour before you go to bed, and enable “Night Mode” to reduce the amount of blue light your device emits.
Invest in comfortable bedding, including your mattress, pillows, and sheets. Look for a mattress and pillows that support your spine, and use bedding that helps you maintain your ideal temperature at night.
Finally, eliminate nearby sources of noise or subdue them with a white noise machine or a simple fan. This will help you avoid waking up or becoming startled by unexpected sounds.
Build a Sleep Routine
A sleep routine helps you teach your body it’s time to go to sleep. Your sleep routine can incorporate some simple lifestyle changes that will greatly improve your ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night.
In your sleep routine, include time to unplug from blue light-emitting electronics, and consider replacing watching television or app-scrolling with reading a pleasant book. Gentle stretching or meditation can also remind your mind that it’s time to fall asleep. Finally, consider taking action to calm your senses, such as dimming lights and diffusing essential oils in scents like lavender.
Optimize Your Sleep Schedule
Your body thrives on routine when it comes to sleep. Going to bed or waking up at different times throughout the week hurts your ability to fall asleep when you want to. In addition, a regular schedule helps to sync your circadian rhythm, which dictates when you feel sleepy or awake.
Adults should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Keep your sleep schedule consistent by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, even on weekends (although a flex time of one hour’s difference is fine). This consistency will help teach your body to follow its sleep-wake cycle.
Use these tips to improve your sleep quality so you wake up feeling restored and ready to take on the day.