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Are you tired of tossing and turning at night?
A good night’s sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Even if you’re exercising regularly and following healthy diets, without a night of proper sleep, you might encounter negative impacts on your overall health.
Many research studies indicate that inadequate or poor sleep could cause immediate negative effects on your brain function, hormones, and daily performance. Moreover, it can also cause unwanted weight gain and increase the risk of diseases among adults and children.
However, a good sleeping routine will help get you better health, exercise better and avoid unhealthy eating habits.
Over the last 20 to 30 years, people suffering from sleep-related issues have increased tremendously. A research study on sleep disorders and sleep deprivation shows that almost 50 to 70 million people in the United States of America are chronically suffering from a sleeping disorder that affects health and longevity.
If you’re serious about your health, you need to make sure to get a good sleep at night (quality sleep).
In this article, we will explore practical and evidence-based tips to sleep better at night.
Get your body exposed to bright light during the day
Did you know that your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as circadian rhythm?
It’s a natural occurrence that affects your brain, body, and hormones. It also sends signals to your brain when you should stay awake and when it’s time to sleep. However, the circadian rhythm does not function properly if you fail to boost it the right way. Enough exposure to sunlight or bright light during the day will help you keep your circadian rhythm healthy. Thus, it improves the body’s energy level in the daytime and provides quality sleep time at night.
A study shows that the quality and duration of sleep of people with insomnia improved with bright light exposure during the day. Moreover, it also reduced the time it takes for a person to fall asleep by 83%.
Another similar study that revolves around older adults found that exposure of 2 hours to bright light during the day has increased the sleep duration by 2 hours while increasing sleep efficiency by 80%.
Although most of the research studies only involve individuals with severe sleep issues, we can accept the fact that exposure to bright light or sunlight will help you improve your sleeping experience.
If you’re unable to get sunlight exposure, you can purchase bright light bulbs or artificial bright light devices available in the market.
Avoid blue light exposure in the evening
When we look at the previous tips, exposure to light during the day offers great benefits to your sleep quality and duration. However, exposure to bright lights especially blue light has the opposite effect on your sleep.
Again, we’re talking about circadian rhythm here. When you’re exposed to bright light all day long, it sends a signal to your brain that it’s still daytime during nighttime. This reduces the efficiency of melatonin, a hormone that helps you get deep and quality sleep.
Apart from bright lights, blue light from electronic devices especially the ones from smartphones and tablets are extremely harmful to your sleep health.
Here are some of the methods you can use to reduce blue light exposure at nighttime:
- Turn off the blue light by selecting the Blue light filter in your smartphone (if you have that setting available in your smartphone).
- Iris is one of the world’s best Blue light filter software and it’s available for all types of devices.
- Turn off bright lights 2 hours before heading to your bed. (it is better if you stop watching TV before heading to your bed).
Be smart with your caffeine consumption
Although caffeine consumption offers great benefits, having it late in the day can cause adverse effects on your night sleep. As caffeine tends to stimulate your nervous system, consuming it late in the day might stop you from having quality sleep.
One study found that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bed negatively affects sleep quality. Other than that, caffeine often stays elevated in your blood for 6-8 hours. So, you should not drink large amounts of coffee or caffeine drinks after 4 p.m.
And you should avoid caffeine drinks if you have sleeping issues.
If you have craving for a cup of coffee in the evening, try to stick to decaffeinated coffee or other similar beverages.
Avoid the daytime sleeping habit
Ever heard of “Inemuri”?
It’s the Japanese art of taking power naps at work, on the train, or even in public places.
While power naps are extremely beneficial in improving daily performance, long daytime sleeping can negatively affect your overall sleeping habit.
Sleeping long hours in the daytime will confuse your body. Again, we are looking at the circadian rhythm. Once your internal clock gets disrupted, you tend to struggle to sleep at night.
However, some studies show that people that are taking daytime naps regularly do not experience any negative effects on their sleep quality at night.
But, the effects of daytime napping differ depending on the individuals. It is recommended to reduce your daytime napping if you’re having trouble sleeping at night.
Be consistent with your sleep and wake time
Your body gets adapted to the circadian rhythm and aligns automatically with daytime and nighttime. That’s why it is important to be consistent with your sleeping behavior.
Being consistent with your sleeping pattern can help you maintain your sleep quality for the long term.
If there is an inconsistency in sleep patterns, the levels of melatonin get affected and constantly signals your brain to sleep. It is recommended to try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at the same time. After few weeks, you will start waking up and going to bed automatically without any assistance.
Recent article: Guide to Buying Bed Pillows in Malaysia
Consume melatonin supplement
Melatonin is the most crucial hormone in the human body that sends a signal to your brand that you’re ready to relax and head to bed.
Melatonin supplements are commonly used as a sleep aid. It helps people with insomnia to fall asleep faster. Numerous studies were carried out to find out whether there are any negative impacts with melatonin supplements, but the results show that there are no withdrawal effects.
It is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before consuming melatonin supplements. Although the supplement is available in pharmacies and online stores, you should not purchase and consume it carelessly as it can alter the brain chemistry of the consumer.
Avoid alcohol consumption
Having alcohol at night can affect both your hormones and sleep. Alcohol increases the symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea. It also disrupts sleep patterns.
Moreover, it also affects the production of melatonin hormone which plays a vital role in helping you to have quality sleep.
Other than that, one study shows that excessive consumption of alcohol at night reduces the natural elevation of human growth hormone (HGH) at night. This could harm many functions of organs in your body.
Improve your bedroom environment
If you’re looking to improve your nighttime sleep, it’s not about how you take care of yourself. It also depends on your bedroom environment.
Your bedroom environment depends on factors like lighting, temperature, and furniture arrangement. And the most common factor that disrupts the bedroom environment is external noises which can also lead to poor sleep quality and long-term health complications.
According to a study on bedroom environment, 50% of the respondents agreed that their sleep quality has improved when they reduce external noise and changed bright lights to dim ones.
If you’re serious about improving your bedroom environment, you should find ways to minimize external noise and remove artificial lights from devices like smartphones, laptops, and even alarm clocks. Just make sure your bedroom smells good, quiet, clean, and relaxing. You should have peace of mind when you enter your bedroom.
Optimize your bedroom temperature
Both body and bedroom temperature can affect your sleep quality. You might find it difficult to sleep during the summer. It’s extremely hard to get good sleep when your bedroom is too warm.
Did you know that bedroom temperature causes a severe negative impact to your sleep quality compared to external noises? Yes. That’s right.
The most optimal temperature for your bedroom should be around 20°C (70°F). However, it also depends on your comfort and preferences.
Avoid large late evening meals
As a common rule of thumb, eating late at night negatively affects your overall health. This is because both your sleep quality and the release of human growth hormone (HGH) get affected badly.
Although quality late-night meals might somehow reduce the negative effects, it is recommended to consume your night meal at least 4 hours before going to bed. On the other hand, one study found that having a low card diet improves sleep quality.
So, just monitor your evening meals intakes and monitor your sleeping pattern. Just make necessary changes if you feel your sleep quality being disrupted.
Keep your mind relaxed and clear before bed
Do you have a pre-sleep routine to relax your mind before bed?
If you don’t, you should start right away. Following relaxation techniques before bed have been shown not only to improve the quality of sleep but also used to treat insomnia.
One research study discovered that sleep among ill people tends to improve with relaxing massages.
You can include pre-sleep routines like:
- Listening to music
- Reading books
- Deep breathing
Choose the right bed, mattress, and pillow
Did you ever wonder why you always sleep better in a hotel?
It’s not about the relaxing environment of the hotel room, it’s about the bed quality as well.
One study reveals that the quality of mattress has reduced back pain by 57%, back stiffness by 59%, and shoulder pain by 60%. And most importantly it helped 60% of the respondents to improve their sleep quality.
On the other hand, pillows play a vital role in improving sleep efficiency and quality. According to the study on improving the quality of sleep with an optimal pillow, the pillow shape and content play a crucial role in sleep quality.
If you haven’t replaced your pillows for several years, you should do it now.
You should check out Comfort Co high-quality pillows:
Get your sleep disorder treated
In most cases, an underlying health condition may be the reason for your sleep problems.
One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea, which interrupts consistent breathing while sleeping.
Other sleep disorders include:
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
- REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
- Periodic Lim Movement Disorder
If you’re struggling with your sleep, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider and improve your sleep quality.
Exercise to improve sleep quality – don’t do it before bed
Many research studies indicate that exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep and overall health.
How does exercise improve your sleep?
- Exercise helps you to relieve stress and anxiety
- Exercise increases your sleep drive
The biggest dilemma here is whether exercising at night is bad for sleep. The truth is that light to moderate cardio activities like walking, biking, or yoga can be done in the evening. It’s good to save the high-intensity workouts for the morning or early afternoon.
High-intensity workouts cause a stimulatory effect that increases alertness of your body and hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine. However, numerous studies show there are no negative effects on sleep quality and it depends on the individuals and other external factors.
So, it’s something you should experiment by your own and find out whether late evening exercise affects your sleep quality.
Avoid drinking any liquids before sleep
Drinking any liquids before sleep can cause Nocturia, a medical term for excessive urination during the night. And people with Nocturia often have poor sleep quality and do not have enough energy in the daytime.
Although hydration is important for your health, you should avoid fluid intake at night.
You should practice not to drink any fluids for at least one to two hours before going to bed. And make sure to use the bathroom before going to bed to avoid waking up in the middle of your sleep. You will end up having an inconsistent sleeping pattern that can harm your health in the long run.
Don’t be careless with your sleep as it is the key to healthy living.
A recent study shows that insufficient and inconsistent sleep increases the risk of obesity by 89% for children and 55% for adults.
Other than that, if you’re not getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
If you’re serious about your health and wellbeing, you should get serious about your sleep and make it your top priority while incorporating the tips shared above.