Sleep is a vital aspect of health, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults don’t get enough sleep. When you feel pressed for time, it’s easy to start cutting sleep out of your schedule. However, sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your body and can lead to a weakened immune system, weight gain, and memory issues, just to name a few. Below are 11 simple tips that will help you sleep better moving forward.
1. Turn off the lights
Lights can lower the melatonin levels in your system. Melatonin is important because it sends signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Artificial light can make your body think it’s time to wake up. Do your best to sleep in darkness, or wear an eye mask. If you need a light on, then try switching to a small nightlight across the room instead of a lamp right next to the bed.
2. Put away the devices
You’ve likely heard of the blue light emitted by most screens. Blue light can delay your body’s release of melatonin, causing problems. When your body doesn’t release melatonin at the right time, your sleep cycle can get thrown off. Disconnect from your phone and computer an hour before bed so your body can prepare for sleep.
3. Read a book
Since you know you need to put away the screen before bed, why not replace it with a book? This needs to be an old fashioned paper book: no e-readers allowed. If you don’t enjoy books, then grab a magazine, a poetry collection, or some other paper reading material. Reading before bed is an excellent way to unwind and many people find it helps them sleep better at night.
4. Limit caffeine
There’s nothing wrong with coffee in the morning, but there should be a cutoff. Do your best to stop drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages by noon. Caffeine is a strong stimulant and can impact your ability to fall asleep at night if you’re drinking it well into the afternoon.
5. Get active
Exercise comes with a plethora of benefits and one of those is better sleep. By working your muscles, your body will feel more tired at night and your body will use up stress hormones like cortisol, so you feel more relaxed.
6. Stay hydrated throughout the day
Dehydration makes it difficult to stay asleep at night. Your body can’t properly flush the toxins from your blood, so you might feel exhausted but you still struggle to fall and stay asleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, men need approximately 15.5 cups of fluids each day while women need 11.5 cups per day. Roughly 20 percent of your fluid intake comes from food each day, so that leaves you with 12 or 9 cups of fluid to consume.
7. Establish a routine
Pick a time to wake up every day and stick to it. Waking up at different times each day makes it difficult for your body to stick with a sleep routine. In the same way, pick a set bedtime and then craft a bedtime routine. Give yourself at least 30 minutes before lights out to wind down and prepare for bed. Regular preparation for bed will signal to your body that it’s time to sleep soon.
8. Avoid self-medicating
Sleep medications, and particularly Over The Counter drugs may help put you to sleep, but the quality of that sleep is typically poor. Artificially triggering drowsiness can mess up your natural sleep patterns and leave you feeling groggy during the day. If you are currently on a prescription sleep aid, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about options. Never discontinue prescription medications without consulting your doctor first.
9. Remove alcohol at night
Alcohol might make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep, but it won’t be good sleep. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, which is the period of sleep where you dream and your brain consolidates memories. Some people even experience insomnia from alcohol, so pay attention to how these drinks make you feel.
10. Eat nutritious food
Proper nutrition throughout the day will not only make your body feel better, but you’ll sleep better too. Highly processed or sugary foods can make it difficult to fall asleep, especially if you’re eating them close to bedtime.
11. Take a dietary supplement
As already mentioned, your body needs the right nutrients for high-quality sleep. Dietary supplements help ensure your body is receiving the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly. There are also supplements that improve nutrition while making it easier to fall asleep, so you can get the rest you need in a natural way.
Sleep is an essential part of staying healthy. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, bookmark this page so you can try all these suggestions for getting better rest.