Getting a good night's sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. Poor sleep has been linked to a variety of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and depression. Conversely, sleeping well can help you eat less, exercise better, and be healthier. Over the past few decades, both the quality and quantity of sleep have declined.
In this article, we'll discuss 17 evidence-based tips for better sleep at night. The first step to getting a good night's sleep is to follow a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends, helps reinforce your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, reading or listening to relaxing music can help you relax and prepare for sleep. Exposure to natural sunlight or bright daylight during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves energy during the day, as well as the quality and duration of nighttime sleep.
In people with insomnia, exposure to bright light during the day improves sleep quality and duration. Reducing exposure to blue light at night is also important. Blue light tricks your body into thinking it's daytime, reducing hormones such as melatonin that help you relax and sleep soundly. Ways to reduce exposure to blue light at night include avoiding screens before bedtime, using blue light-blocking glasses, and installing an app that filters out blue light from your devices. Caffeine consumption can also affect your sleep quality. A single dose of caffeine can improve concentration, energy, and athletic performance.
However, drinking large quantities of coffee after 3-4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping. Sleeping during the day can also confuse your internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night. If you take naps during the day and still sleep well at night, you don't have to worry. However, if you struggle with insomnia or poor sleep quality, it may be best to avoid napping during the day. Being consistent with your sleep and wakefulness can also help improve long-term sleep quality.
Going to bed late on weekends can disrupt your circadian rhythm and melatonin levels, prompting the brain to stay awake. Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells the brain when it's time to relax and go to bed. Often used to treat insomnia, melatonin may be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster. Increasing body and bedroom temperatures can also lower sleep quality and increase wakefulness. Around 70°F (20°C) seems to be a pleasant temperature for most people. Eating late at night can negatively affect both sleep quality and natural release of hormones such as HGH and melatonin. A high-carbohydrate meal eaten 4 hours before bedtime can help people fall asleep faster. Herbal supplements such as valerian root, chamomile tea, lavender oil, and magnesium may also help improve overall sleep quality and help people fall asleep faster. Alternatively, if you don't want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in warm water can help you relax and improve sleep. Sleep apnea is another common problem that causes irregular and interrupted breathing while sleeping.
People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while they sleep. A review stated that 24% of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea. The quality of the bed can also affect sleep. A study found that a new mattress reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60%, back stiffness by 59%, and improved sleep quality by 60%. Other studies show that new bedding can improve sleep. Finally, exercise can help reduce symptoms of insomnia.
Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total nighttime wakefulness by 30%, anxiety by 15%, while increasing total sleep time by 18%.