How to Sleep Better: 13 Best Tips

Getting enough good sleep is important for your body and mind. But sometimes it’s hard to sleep well. Bad sleep affects everything in your life. Good sleep habits, called sleep hygiene, can improve your sleep quality.

In this article, we’ll show you how to sleep better. We’ll provide you with easy steps to improve your sleep habits. We’ll look at your bedroom and your sleep schedule. Our plan will help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested.

1. Stick to a Wake-up Time

Your sleep health can improve if you wake up at the same time every day. A regular wake-up time each day, including weekends, helps regulate your body’s internal clock, leading to easier wake-ups and better sleep.

This practice can reduce the feeling of sleep inertia (grogginess upon waking) and help you sleep better by synchronizing your sleep-wake cycle with your natural circadian rhythms.

2. Choose a Better Mattress and Bedding

Having a supportive and comfortable mattress is crucial for good sleep quality. An old, worn-out mattress can cause discomfort and lead to aches and pains that disrupt sleep. Investing in a high-quality mattress that suits your preferences and provides proper spinal alignment can significantly improve your sleep.

Moreover, the right bedding can enhance comfort and temperature regulation. Look for breathable sheets and blankets that feel pleasant to the touch and help maintain an optimal sleeping temperature.

3. Block Out Light

Light exposure, especially from electronic devices, can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and melatonin production. To create a sleep-friendly environment, use blackout curtains or a sleep mask to eliminate external light sources in the bedroom.

Avoiding bright light in the hours leading up to bedtime can also help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

4. Minimize Noise

Noise pollution can be a major sleep disruptor, preventing you from falling asleep or causing you to wake up frequently throughout the night. To minimize noise disturbances, consider using earplugs, a white noise machine, or a fan to mask external sounds. Soundproofing your bedroom with insulation or heavy curtains can also help reduce noise levels.

5. Relax for 30 Minutes Before Bed

You’ll sleep better if you wind down and relax before bed. For 30 minutes before your desired bedtime, do something relaxing like light stretching, deep breathing exercises, or meditation to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. The transition period helps your mind and muscles unwind from the day’s stresses, so you fall asleep faster and sleep better.

6. Don’t Use Electronic Devices in the Hour Before Bed

Blue light from electronics like smartphones, tablets, and computers suppresses your body’s natural production of melatonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

It’s hard to fall asleep and stay asleep if you use these devices too close to bedtime.

Disconnecting from electronics one hour before bed will help your brain wind down, allowing melatonin levels to rise, which contributes to better sleep.

7. Do Workouts for 20 Minutes Everyday

Regular exercise has been shown to improve various aspects of sleep, including sleep onset, duration, and quality.

Aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, each day. Exercise helps regulate your body’s internal clock and can reduce stress and anxiety levels, which often interfere with sleep.

However, avoid intense workouts close to bedtime, as the rise in body temperature and adrenaline can make it harder to fall asleep.

8. Set the Thermostat to 65 to 68 Degrees Fahrenheit

You should keep your bedroom between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit to create an ideal sleeping environment. Research shows that this temperature range helps promote faster sleep onsets and more restful sleep cycles by facilitating the natural decrease in body temperature during sleep.

Sleep quality is improved when the temperature is cooler because it supports the body’s thermoregulation functions. You can also adjust within the broader recommended range of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit if this is too cool for you.

9. Limit Alcohol Intake Before Bedtime

While alcohol might initially make you feel drowsy, it significantly reduces sleep quality. Alcohol consumption before bed can lead to fragmented sleep and reduce REM sleep which is crucial for cognitive functions and overall health.

To avoid these negative effects, stop drinking alcohol at least three hours before sleeping. This helps minimize its impact on your sleep cycle, allowing for more restful and uninterrupted sleep.

10. Keep Naps Around 20 Minutes

The duration of your nap can significantly affect its restorative benefits and your nighttime sleep, especially if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before.

A short nap of around 20 minutes will boost your alertness and performance without giving you sleep inertia, which can make you feel groggy and disoriented.

However, longer naps can disrupt your nighttime sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you do opt for a longer nap, aiming for a full 90-minute cycle can help avoid sleep inertia by allowing you to wake up after completing a full sleep cycle, including REM sleep.

11. Limit Caffeine After 2 p.m.

Caffeine is a stimulant that disrupts your sleep cycle by blocking adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep. To avoid sleep-disrupting effects, stop caffeine consumption at least six to eight hours before bedtime. This allows your body enough time to metabolize caffeine and reduce its stimulating effects, helping you fall asleep easier at night.

12. Quit Smoking

Nicotine, a stimulant in cigarettes, can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Quitting smoking can improve your sleep. It’s normal to experience withdrawal symptoms at first, but they’re temporary. As you quit smoking, your sleep patterns will start to normalize, leading to better sleep quality and better health.

13. Keep a Sleep Diary

A daily sleep journal can help you track your sleep patterns and identify factors that may be promoting or disrupting your sleep quality. Note details like:

  • Time you went to bed and woke up
  • Total sleep duration and periods of wakefulness
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and medication intake
  • Exercise details
  • Bedroom environment factors like light, noise, temperature

Bring your sleep diary to your doctor, as it provides useful insights into potential sleep issues or the effectiveness of new sleep strategies you’re trying.

Know When to Contact Your Doctor

Don’t ignore persistent sleep problems. See a doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Regularly having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling excessively tired during the day despite sleeping enough hours
  • Loud snoring or pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Symptoms like tingling in legs that disrupt sleep
  • Difficulty staying awake or feeling rested after sleeping

These could indicate an underlying sleep disorder like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or others that require medical evaluation and treatment. Chronic sleep deprivation can have serious impacts on physical and mental health.

Need professional help to diagnose and address your sleep problems? Schedule an online consultation with sleep specialist Dr. John Williams.

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