8 Tips to Sleep Better at Night.
A good night's sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children. In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep. If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are 8 tips to sleep better at night.
1. Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night's sleep.
These factors include temperature, noise, external lights and furniture arrangement.
Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues.
In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect.
Again, this is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep.
Blue light — which electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit in large amounts — is the worst in this regard.
There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:
- Wear glasses that block blue light.
- Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
- Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
- Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights two hours before heading to bed.Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly impact sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good night's sleep when it's too warm.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise.
Other studies reveal that increased body and bedroom temperature can decrease sleep quality and increase wakefulness.
Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. Around 25°C is best for most people.
4. Don't Eat Late in the Evening
Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, certain meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help.
5. Relax and Clear Your Mind in the Evening
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia.
In one study, a relaxing massage also improved sleep quality in people.
Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualization.
Try out different methods and find what works best for you.
6. Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
A warm bath, shower or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.
7. Exercise Regularly — But Not Before Bed
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to ensure a good night's sleep.
8. Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and Pillow
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel.
Apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also affect sleep.
One study points out that new bedding can enhance sleep. Additionally, poor-quality bedding can lead to increased lower-back pain.
Your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high-quality mattress and bedding every 5–8 years.
The bottom line
Sleep plays a key role in your health.
One large review linked insufficient sleep to an increased obesity risk of 89% in children and 55% in adults.
Other studies conclude that less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you are interested in optimal health and wellbeing, then you should make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above.