Sleep affects the way everyone feels and functions throughout the day. Poor sleep can lead to mood swings, low productivity, and a lack of focus. Unfortunately, many people are not as well-rested as they should be, and it dampens their daily activities.
Honestly, some people assume that getting a decent slumber is a simple as hopping into bed and catching a few Z’s— but it’s much more than that. Thankfully, there are several ways to enhance your quality of sleep, and it’s actually quite simple.
DON’T DRINK COFFEE IN THE EVENING
Coffee lovers like enjoying a warm cup of Joe at any time of the day. Some people need it to help push them through their last bit of errands, while others prefer to have it after dinner. Although there are plenty of helpful benefits to drinking coffee, it’s not that beneficial when it comes to sleep.
As everyone knows, caffeine is used to keep folks awake, and that’s exactly what it does when it’s time for bed. Coffee can disrupt sleep hours after drinking it (1). Therefore, it’s best to stay away if you want to have a good night’s rest.
IMPROVE YOUR PILLOWS AND MATTRESS
Comfort plays a huge role in how well you sleep at night. When it comes to your mattress, it’s imperative that you invest in something that’s going to provide quality rest. Think about it, you spend a large chunk of the day asleep, so why not make sure your bedding is top-notch?
Even if you think your mattress is fine, you could be tossing and turning during the night and not realizing how it’s affecting your rest. Not to mention, the strain it puts on your body. After a while, your back, neck, and shoulders will start to feel it. The same thing goes for your cushions. If you’re sleeping on flat pillows, your neck isn’t getting the support it needs, which can lead to neck cramps. Fortunately, if you enhance your bedding, you’ll likely improve your quality of sleep (2).
AVOID DRINKING LOTS OF LIQUID BEFORE BED
Proper hydration is key to living a healthy life. However, too many liquids hinder sleep. If you have a goal of drinking a certain amount of water, try to reach it early in the day. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself going to the bathroom several times a night. Anyone who’s experienced this knows how frustrating it is, especially when you’re sleepy.
To avoid this scenario, don’t drink any liquids at least an hour or two before bedtime (3). That way, you won’t be up and down in the middle of the night. Also, go to the restroom right before you hop into bed.
SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR
In some cases, there is a medical issue that’s affecting your sleep. If you’ve tried everything to improve your rest, and it doesn’t work, it’s time to speak with your doctor. Conditions like insomnia prevent people from resting, and there are several reasons for the problem (4).
Sadly, issues such as stress, pain, medication, and environment contribute to insomnia—which leads to irritability and lack of focus.
Furthermore, sleep apnea hinders nighttime rest as well (5). People with this condition experience fatigue, high blood pressure, and other serious side effects. If you think your lack of sleep is the result of a medical problem, please consult your physician.
WHAT TO EAT FOR BETTER SLEEP
The food you put into your body is a big deal because it affects your health and how you feel and perform. Not to mention, it also contributes to how well you sleep. Eating poorly leads to weight gain and health problems, and both problems affect how you rest. If you’re not sure what food to add into your diet, here are a few suggestions (6).
Believe it or not, some fruit contains melatonin, which helps you fall asleep faster and reduces your chances of waking up throughout the night. Eating fruit like bananas, pineapples, and oranges are great for getting melatonin.
Plus, consuming a couple of kiwi’s before bed can boost sleep duration for people who suffer from insomnia. Also, prunes, raisins, and plums help to reverse the oxidative stress that’s triggered by sleep disorders.
Many people have used warm milk to help put children to sleep, but it’s just as helpful for adults. The tryptophan and melatonin found in milk help to enhance rest and provides a calming effect that’s perfect for bedtime.
Cottage cheese is full of amino acid tryptophan, which helps to boost the levels of serotonin in the brain. Unfortunately, low levels of serotonin can lead to insomnia, but food like cottage cheese counteracts such conditions.
Sipping a cup of tea before bed is not only relaxing but it’s beneficial for better sleep. Try a non-caffeinated tea like chamomile, peppermint, or ginger before bed to help calm you. It’s the perfect way to get your body in sleep mode.
Almonds and walnuts are a good source of healthy fats and they contain melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to stabilize your slumber. Consuming nuts enhances the melatonin in your blood, making it easier to sleep at night.
SIX DAILY HABITS TO ENSURE BETTER QUALITY REST AT NIGHT
No one should have to suffer from sleep deprivation. It doesn’t feel good, and it keeps people from being the best version of themselves. Now that you know of some key things to do to improve your sleep, it’s also a smart idea to incorporate daily routines as well. Here are some everyday steps you can take according to the National Sleep Foundation (7):
1. Create A Nighttime Ritual
A bedtime routine is imperative to helping your body wind down for the night. Life is so chaotic, that’s it’s often hard to turn the brain off when it’s time to sleep. Therefore, doings that relax you before resting is essential to a good night’s sleep.
Things like reading a book, doing yoga, or breathing exercises can help to put you into a calm mood. Try not to engage in activities that stress you out or make you feel excited; otherwise, you might not be able to relax when it’s time to rest.
2. Avoid Late Afternoon Naps
Naps are essential to improving productivity and giving your body a boost during the day. However, late afternoon naps or long naps can affect how well you rest a night. It throws off your sleep schedule and keeps you up until the early hours of the morning.
The best way to avoid this is not to take naps too late in the day or only take a short nap. Sleeping for 20-30 minutes is called “power napping” or “catnapping”. Basically, it gives your body the fuel it needs without throwing off your sleep pattern or putting you into a deep slumber.
3. Have A Sleep Schedule
Speaking of a sleep pattern, incorporating a schedule into your night routine works wonders for a good night’s rest. By going to bed at the same time each night, it regulates your body’s clock and helps you fall asleep and stay asleep until morning.
For instance,if you go to bed at 10 p.m. one night, 1 a.m., 8:30 p.m., and then 11 p.m. another night, your body’s clock with be all over the place. Try to rest at the same time every day and see if it improves your slumber.
4. Avoid Electronics
Most people love watching television or scrolling on their phone or laptop before bed. However, the light that comes from electronic devices keep the brain active. Therefore, it’s best to put the technology away at least an hour before bed. Instead, do something relaxing that will put you into sleep mode—you can take a bath, write in a journal, or do some stretches.
5. Stay Away From Big Meals
After a long, busy day, you’re probably starving in the evening. The natural thing to do is to eat a huge meal and get stuffed before it’s time to go to bed. However, that’s not a good idea. A heavy or spicy dinner might cause irritability and heartburn, which makes it difficult to fall asleep.
If your belly is full, it’s hard to get comfortable, and that’s the last thing you need when trying to get some good rest. The same is true for cigarettes and alcohol. They too, can potentially hinder your slumber. Therefore, try not to indulge in any of those things before bed, and if you’re hungry, eat a light snack.
Everyone needs exercise to keep them fit and healthy, but they also need it for sleep. Unfortunately, working out is tricky, and the effects of exercise are different for everyone.
For instance, some people might discover that a late-night gym session or run wears their body out and helps them sleep better. While others may have a boost in adrenaline, and it hinders them from resting. It’s best to find out which scenario fits you best and adjust your workout schedule accordingly.
Implementing a sleep routine and taking certain precautions to improve rest is great. However, one of the primary components that impacts slumber is your bedroom, and it plays a key role in how well you sleep at night.