Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep
Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep can be as important as exercising and eating a healthy diet. It not only is good for your overall well-being but it’s also good for your mental health. Many studies have shown that getting poor sleep has very negative effects on our hormones, performance and our brains function. It also can even cause you to gain weight and increase your chances of disease in both children and adults.
Good sleep in contrast, can actually help you to eat less, want to exercise more and to be a lot healthier overall. As important as sleep is, it seems that over the last few decades good quality and quantity of sleep has declined. Truth be known, a lot of people get very poor sleep on a regular basis.
If you are concerned about the kind of sleep that you get and want to try to get better sleep here are some tips that might help you do just that:
Make Sure to Increase Your Exposure to Bright Light Daily
Our bodies have a natural time keeper that’s known as our circadian rhythm. This internal clock in our bodies can affect our brain, hormones, and body. It helps us to stay awake and tells our bodies when it’s actually time to go to sleep.
When we’re exposed to natural sunlight or to some sort of bright light during daytime hours will help to keep our circadian rhythm working correctly. It will also help to improve our daytime energy and in turn, increases the nightime sleep duration and quality.
Those who suffer from insomnia have been shown to have improved sleep quality when they were exposed to more daytime bright light. This exposure also reduced the time it took for them to fall asleep each night.
Reduce Your Blue Light Exposure at Night
Being exposed to light during the daytime is very beneficial however, light exposure at nighttime has the exact opposite effect. This is because of our circadian rhythm can trick our brains into thinking that it’s still daytime. When this happens it reduces your melatonin that helps us relax and get a good deep sleep.
The blue light we’re exposed to comes from electronic devices such as computers and smartphones, in fact they emit huge amounts of this light and are the worst out of any other electronic devices we use.
Here are some ways that you can reduce your exposure of blue light at night:
Consider wearing glasses that will block the blue light.
Try downloading an app that will block the blue light on your phone, laptop, or computer.
Try to stop watching TV and turn off bright lights about two hours before going to bed.
Don’t Drink Caffeine Late in the Day
We all know there are a lot of benefits from consuming caffeine such as enhancing our focus, performance, and energy. But, when we drink it later in the day it will stimulate our nervous system and it can stop our bodies from relaxing naturally in the evenings. Research has shown that drinking caffeine even up to six hours can lessen our sleep quality. This is because caffeine can stay in your bloodstream anywhere from six to eight hours. So it’s important to consider not drinking caffeine after around four in the afternoon.
Reduce Long or Irregular Naps During the Day
Even though naps can be beneficial, a long one or taking irregular naps during daytime hours can also affect our sleep in a negative way. When we sleep during the day can often confuse that internal clock of ours and this means that we might struggle sleeping at night.
If we nap for 30 minutes or a little less does enhance our brain function during the day the longer naps can lower our quality of sleep and may even affect our overall health.
Try to Go to Sleep and Wake at the Same Times
Our internal clock functions on somewhat of a set loop and aligns itself with the sunrise and the sunset. When we are consistent with our sleep and our waking times we aid in our sleep quality. Studies have shown that those with irregular patterns of sleep such as going to bed late on weekends when during the week went to bed earlier generally suffered from poor sleep.
Irregular patterns of sleep can affect our internal clock and the levels of our melatonin and then our brains don’t get the signal to sleep to our brains. So, it’s important to try to make it a habit to go to bed and wak up about the same time each day and night.
Sometimes we need extra help and when we do it’s suggested to take a melatonin supplement. This is an easy remedy to improving sleep quality and it will help to fall asleep a lot faster. Consider taking one 5 mg tablet about 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed each night.
Other Supplements That Can Help With Sleep
There are also other supplements that can be taken that are known to help relax and improve sleep:
Ginkgo biloba – This is a natural herb that has a lot of benefits and one of them is as an aid for relaxing and sleeping better.
Glycine – This is an amino acid that is known to help improve quality of sleep.
Valerian root – This helps you to fall asleep faster and improves the quality of sleep.
Magnesium – This has all kinds of benefits besides helping to improve your ability to relax and enhance your quality of sleep. (Warm milk is a good example.)
Lavender – This is a very powerful herb with a lot of different health benefits. It can induce a very calming effect that helps to improve your sleep.
Don’t Drink Any Alcohol
Drinking a few drinks at night is not going to help you sleep. In fact, it has a negative affect on your hormones and sleep.
Alcohol is also known to increase snoring, sleep apnea, and can disrupt our patterns of sleep. Alcohol can also alter production of melatonin and as we have seen, it plays a huge role in our internal clock working properly.
Consider Your Bedroom Environment
A lot of people say that the environment and the setup in a bedroom are major factors in getting a good quality night’s sleep. This can include noise, temperature, external lighting and even the arrangement of the furniture. Studies have shown that sleep quality improved when the light and noise in a bedroom were diminished.
If you want to optimize the environment in your bedroom you might want to try and find a way to minimize the outside noise, artificial and natural light. Try to make sure that the bedroom is relaxing, clean, and quiet.
Avoid Eating Late at Night
Eating late at night might have a negative impact on the natural release of melatonin and the quality of sleep. However, there are some benefits from eating certain types of food can be beneficial such as a high carb meal that’s eaten about four hours before going to bed can actually help you fall asleep somewhat faster.
It’s not advisable to be eating any kind of large meal before you go to bed. This can contribute to very poor sleep and disruption of hormone production. But, there are cetain snacks and meals eaten just a few hours before retiring can often help.
Relax Before Sleep
It can be beneficial to learn some relaxation techniques that you can use before you go to bed. Relaxation techniques can improve the quality of sleep and are often used to help treat insomnia. Some things you can try doing include listening to music you find relaxing, read a good book, meditate, deep breathing exercises, or take a hot bath before retiring.
Eliminate a Sleep Disorder
If you find you try everything and nothing seems to work then it’s important that you see a professional in order to find out if there might be an underlying health problem that might be causing you to have problems sleeping.
One of the most common issues found with people having trouble sleeping is a condition known as sleep apnea and this can cause interrupted and inconsistent breathing. People suffering from this tend to stop breathing often while they are asleep.
Other issues that can only be diagnosed by a profession can include sleep movement issues, circadian rhythm sleeping and waking issues.
Get a Comfortable Pillow and Mattress
Even if your bedroom has a relaxing environment your bed quality can affect the quality of your sleep. When you have a quality bed you will have less back and shoulder pain as well as less stiffness upon waking in the morning. This of course leads to much improved quality of sleep.
Pillows and bedding can also have an impact on your quality of sleep and you should consider to include high quality pillows and bedding in order to improve your quality of sleep. Professionals recommend that you try to upgrade bedding about every eight years.
Exercise on a Regular Basis Just Not Before Bedtime
Exercise is a great way to not only improve your health but also it can improve the quality of your sleep. Exercise can enhance all the aspects of your sleep and is often used for helping to reduce the symptoms of insomnia.
It’s important to remember that even though exercise is extremely good for you it’s just not a good idea to do it before going to bed because it tends to have a stimulation effect on the body and will increase alertness and hormone production such as adrenaline and epinephrine and this can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Avoid Drinking A lot of Liquids Before Bedtime
If you drink a lot of liquids before bedtime you may suffer from excessive urination all during the night and this is going to affect not only the quality of sleep but your energy level for the next day. Even though hydration is vital for good health it is a good idea to reduce consumption of fluids late at night. Consider stopping your drinking of fluids about an hour before going to bed.
If you want to make sure that you get good quality sleep it’s important that you make sure that you try to do all that you can to help your body get the sleep it needs.