Sleep is absolutely essential for your health. However, when life gets busy, it’s often the first thing to get neglected or sacrificed.
This is unfortunate because 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, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are few tips to sleep better at night.
Increase bright light exposure during the day.
Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can improve sleep quality and duration, especially if you have severe sleep issues or insomnia.
Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Blue light tricks your body into thinking its daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening such as:
Don’t consume caffeine late in the day
Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening.
Reduce irregular or long daytime naps
Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
Try to sleep and wake at consistent times
Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.
Take a melatonin & other supplements
A melatonin supplement is an easy way to improve sleep quality and fall asleep faster. Take 1–5 mg around 30–60 minutes before heading to bed. Several supplements, such as lavender and magnesium, can help with relaxation and sleep quality when combined with other strategies.
Don’t drink alcohol
Avoid alcohol before bed, as it can reduce nighttime melatonin production and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
Optimize your bedroom environment
Optimize your bedroom environment by eliminating external light and noise to get better sleep. Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. Around 70°F (20°C) is best for most people.
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.
Relax and clear your mind in the evening
Relaxation techniques before bed, including hot baths and meditation, may help you fall asleep.
Take a relaxing bath or shower
A warm bath, shower, or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.
Rule out a sleep disorder
There are many common conditions that can cause poor sleep, including sleep apnea. See a healthcare provider if poor sleep is a consistent problem in your life.
Get a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow
Your bed, mattress, and pillow can greatly affect sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high quality bedding — including a mattress — every 5–8 years.
Exercise regularly — but not before bed
Regular exercise during daylight hours is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Don’t drink any liquids before bed
Reduce fluid intake in the late evening and try to use the bathroom right before bed.
Sleep plays a key role in your health. One large review linked insufficient sleep to an increased risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults. Other studies conclude that getting less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you’re interested in optimal health and well-being, it’s recommended that you make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above.