6 Tips For Sleeping Better At Night
When it comes to staying healthy, getting a good night’s sleep is, perhaps surprisingly, just as important as eating the right foods and getting enough regular exercise.
Research has proven that poor sleep will not only have an immediate impact on your brain function, making it harder to understand new concepts and to be productive at work or school, but it also affects your physical health and even your hormones.
In fact, every part of your waking life can be negatively affected by not getting enough good sleep.
Here are some useful tips to help you sleep better and you’ll feel the difference right away.
Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day
Everyone has their own body clock, and this is called the circadian rhythm. Although it does a great deal for you, one of its main functions is to help you understand when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to bed. This is how our ancestors would have lived, and they would have trusted their circadian rhythm entirely.
Today it’s a little more difficult. Now that we have electricity, it’s possible to stay up much later and still be productive, or at least be active. We can do work, watch TV, chat online, play games, and much more. And sometimes our circadian rhythm can be off because of this, not making us feel tired when we really should be.
The best way to reset your circadian rhythm if it isn’t doing what it should be doing is to increase your exposure to bright light during the day, and ideally, this should be sunlight. The more natural bright light you see, the easier it will be for your body to determine the difference between day and night. You should be able to get to sleep more easily and stay asleep for longer too.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure At Night
As mentioned above, today’s technology allows us to carry out tasks that would normally be reserved for daylight hours at night should we choose to. Some of those tasks, as well as much of our pleasure and leisure time, is carried out using screens.
The problem is, whether those screens are from a TV, a phone, a tablet, or a laptop, they are all emitting blue light. We can’t see it, but it causes us many problems when it comes to trying to sleep well. This is again linked to the circadian rhythm. The blue light ‘tricks’ the body into thinking it’s still daytime, so it doesn’t send you into sleep mode (when your melatonin production increases) during which your body and brain relax enough to allow you to sleep.
Ideally, you should stop using your screens at least two hours (and preferably earlier) before bed, and never use screens in your bedroom. If this is impossible, you can invest in special glasses that reduce the amount of blue light you see.
Make Sure Your Mattress Isn’t The Problem
Even if you’re doing everything else right but you’re still not sleeping, there must be a problem somewhere. At this point it’s wise to seek advice from a medical professional, although before you make your appointment there is one thing left to check; your bed. Or rather, your mattress.
If you find that you can’t sleep due to a blocked nose, a tight chest, wheezing, or a general feeling of discomfort, it might be your old mattress making you sick, and this is why you should choose an organic mattress. An organic mattress will be made using hypoallergenic materials, and if your allergies are the reason you can’t sleep, changing your mattress to an organic one should be done immediately.
If you have a limited budget then it is always worth spending more on your mattress and less on your bed should you have to choose.
Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption
If you drink coffee or any other caffeinated drink including some sodas later in the day, after about 4 pm or so, you may be causing yourself sleep issues. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, which is why it’s so great for waking you up first thing, and even for boosting your metabolism. However, if your nervous system is stimulated later in the day, you may not be able to relax properly in time for bed.
Caffeine any time within the six hours before bed can have this detrimental effect, and although caffeine will work its way out of some people’s systems much quicker than others, it’s best to stick to the 4 pm rule if you can to ensure you’re able to sleep without any problems.
Don’t Take Daytime Naps
It can be so tempting to take a nap during the day if you have slept badly the night before. However, if you want to sleep well at night this practice should be avoided. Sleeping during the day can confuse your circadian rhythm and mean that, when your real bedtime comes along, you’re no longer tired.
Plus, it can be hard to get back into your daily routine once you have taken time out to have a long nap.
This being said, short 10 or 15-minute ‘power naps’ can actually be useful, boosting your energy levels enough to keep you going throughout the day but not being long enough to confuse your circadian rhythm.
Have Regular Wake And Sleep Times
If you can be more consistent with your waking and sleeping times, your long-term sleep quality can improve, and you will find that, not only do you get tired at the time you have chosen to go to bed, but when you wake in the morning you’ll feel rested and ready to start the day. This can be helpful if you’re usually tempted to hit the snooze button a few times, as you won’t feel the need to do that. You might even be able to do away with your alarm clock altogether.