What can I do to get a better night’s rest?
Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? These simple suggestions will help you obtain a better night’s sleep and be more energized and productive during the day.
Sleeping well has a direct impact on your emotional and physical well-being. If you don’t get enough sleep, it might affect your everyday energy, productivity, emotional stability, and even your weight. Despite this, many of us toss and turn at night, unable to obtain the rest we require. When you’re wide awake at 3 a.m., getting a decent night’s sleep may seem unattainable, but you have far more power on the quality of your sleep than you probably realize. Just as how you feel throughout the day is often influenced by how well you sleep at night, the solution to sleep problems is frequently found in your daily routine.
Unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices throughout the day might cause you to toss and turn at night, negatively impacting your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. However, by experimenting with the following suggestions, you can enhance your sleep quality, your health, and how you think and feel during the day.
How to sleep better at night naturally:
1. Maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle by following your body’s natural rhythms.
- Every day, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. This aids in the regulation of your body’s internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep. To avoid tossing and turning, go to bed at a time when you are ordinarily drowsy. If you get enough sleep, you should be able to wake up naturally without the use of an alarm clock. If you need an alarm clock, you should probably go to bed sooner.
- Even on weekends, avoid sleeping in. The more your weekend and weekday sleep cycles diverge, the more you’ll suffer from jetlag-like symptoms. If you need to make up for a late night, take a nap throughout the day instead of sleeping in. This way, you can repay your sleep debt without disrupting your regular sleep-wake cycle.
- When it comes to napping, be strategic. While napping might help you make up for lost sleep, it can also make things worse if you have difficulties sleeping or staying asleep at night. In the early afternoon, limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes.
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2. Control your exposure to light
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle and is controlled by light exposure. When it’s dark, your brain secretes more melatonin, which makes you drowsy, and less when it’s light, which makes you alert.
- Early in the morning, expose oneself to bright sunshine. The closer you get to your wake-up time, the better. Take your coffee outside, or enjoy breakfast in front of a sunny window. The bright light on your face will assist you in waking up.
- Increase the amount of time you spend outside during the day. Take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.
- Allow as much natural light as possible into your house or office. During the day, keep the drapes and blinds open and attempt to relocate your desk closer to the window.
- Use a light therapy box. This creates the illusion of sunshine and is especially effective during the short winter days.
- Within 1-2 hours after going to bed, stay away from bright screens. Blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or television is particularly bothersome. Use devices with smaller screens, lower the brightness, or use light-altering software to reduce the effects.
- Resist from watching late-night television. The light from a television not only suppresses melatonin production, but many programs are stimulating rather than restful. Instead, listen to music or audio books.
- Backlit devices should not be used for reading. Backlit tablets are more distracting than e-readers that lack their own light source.
- Make sure the room is dark when it’s time to sleep. To hide light from windows, use heavy curtains or shades, or a sleep mask. Consider addressing light-emitting electronics as well.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night, turn off the lights. Install a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom, or use a small flashlight, if you need some light to move around safely.
3. Exercise during the day
Regular exercisers had better nighttime sleep and are less drowsy during the day. Regular exercise also helps with insomnia and sleep apnea symptoms, as well as increasing the amount of time spent in the deep, restoring stages of sleep. Workouts that are moderate to vigorous should be completed at least three hours before bedtime. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, start your workouts earlier. In the evening, low-impact workouts like yoga or moderate stretching can help you sleep better.
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4. Be careful about what you eat and drink
- Caffeine and nicotine should be restricted. You might be surprised to learn that coffee can disrupt sleep for up to twelve hours following use! Smoking, too, is a stimulant that can interfere with your sleep, particularly if you smoke close to bedtime.
- At night, stay away from large meals. Dinner should be served earlier in the evening, and heavy, rich foods should be avoided within two hours of going to bed. Spicy or acidic foods might upset your stomach and induce heartburn.
- Before going to bed, stay away from alcohol. While a nightcap can help you unwind, it disrupts your sleep cycle once you’re up.
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of beverages in the evening. Drinking a lot of water can lead to a lot of bathroom trips throughout the night.
- Reduce your intake of sugary and processed carbohydrate. Consuming a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates during the day, such as white bread, white rice, and pasta, might cause you to wake up at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
5. Improve your sleep environment
A relaxing nighttime routine sends a strong message to your brain that it’s time to unwind and let go of the tensions of the day. Even minor adjustments to your environment might have a significant impact on your sleep quality.
- Reduce the noise. Try disguising noise with a fan or sound machine if you can’t prevent or remove it from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your home. Earplugs may also be beneficial.
- Keep your room at a comfortable temperature. Most individuals sleep best in a room that is slightly cold (about 65° F or 18° C) and well ventilated. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
- Make sure your bed is a good fit for you. You should be able to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled in your bed blankets. You may need to try out different mattress firmnesses, foam toppers, and pillows with varied levels of support.
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6. Learn ways to get back to sleep
Get out of your head. Try not to be stressed by your inability to go asleep again, as difficult as it may be, because stress promotes your body to stay awake. Focus on your body’s feelings or do breathing exercises to get out of your thoughts. Inhale deeply, then slowly exhale while repeating or thinking the word “Ahhh.” Repeat with another breath.
Make relaxation, not sleep, your primary goal. If you’re having trouble falling asleep again, try a relaxation technique like visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which you can do without getting out of bed. Relaxation can assist your body to rejuvenate even if it isn’t a replacement for sleep.
Do something relaxing and non-stimulating. Get out of bed if you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes and do something calm and non-stimulating, like reading a book. To avoid cueing your body that it’s time to get up, keep the lights dim and avoid devices.
7. Clear your mind to sleep better
Do you frequently find yourself unable to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night? Stress, worry, and anger from the day might make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It can be simpler to unwind at night if you take steps to regulate your overall stress levels and learn how to break the worry habit. To help you prepare your mind for sleep, try adopting a soothing nighttime ritual, such as practicing a relaxation technique, having a warm bath, or lowering the lights, and listening to soothing music or an audiobook.
Your everyday behaviors may be contributing to your inability to empty your mind at night. The more overstimulated your brain is during the day, the more difficult it is to unwind and relax at night. Perhaps you, like many of us, are frequently pausing work to check your phone, email, or social media during the day. When it comes to sleeping at night, your brain has become so accustomed to seeking new stimuli that it is difficult to relax. Set aside particular periods during the day for checking your phone and social media, and try to focus on one task at a time as much as possible. You’ll be able to relax more easily before going to bed.