Alaska Sleep Education Center

Health Tips You Need to Get Better Sleep

Posted by Lewis Robinson on Mar 8, 2021 5:14:00 AM

Healthy eating woman holding a tray of fruits - isolated over white

Quality sleep is essential for good health. However, there are many who struggle to get a good night's sleep on a regular basis. While this may be frustrating, the good news is that there are many things you can do to begin improving your sleep quality and overall health, as well. If you are looking for some ways to fall asleep faster, and to sleep more deeply, then here are some things to consider.

Check Your Diet

Many may be aware that what they eat affects their health, but what they may not realize is that their diet can have a direct impact on their sleep quality, as well. Not only do the kinds of foods you eat have an impact, but when and how often you eat can play a role, too.

If you eat a large quantity of processed foods, and in particular foods high in refined carbs and sugars, you could be sabotaging your sleep at night. This is because foods high in carbs and sugars can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. This means that you will get a burst of energy, and then feel exhausted when you crash.

Not only is this harmful for your energy levels, but it also disrupts hormone functions related to sleep, which means you could be feeling wide awake at night, but then tired in the morning when you should feel rested. Beyond that, eating these foods later in the day can also disrupt your digestive function and keep you awake because your body is busy trying to digest food, as well. By cutting down on these foods, or cutting them out and replacing them with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, you can help balance your hormones and get better sleep.

Manage Stress

Along with a poor diet, stress can wreak havoc on your sleep hormones and on your energy levels, too. This happens because experiencing stress, whether it is emotional stress, or stress because you have things you need to do like look for insurance quotes causes your levels of cortisol and adrenaline to rise. While increases in these hormones can be helpful when you are experiencing an acutely stressful situation, in excess they can be harmful to you, and can make it difficult for you to wind down during the day, or even at night long after the stressful event has passed. Whether you like to journal, practice deep breathing or go for a walk, finding ways to reduce and manage stress when you experience it can be highly beneficial for helping you to get better sleep at night.

Avoid Certain Beverages

It isn't just what you eat that can keep you up at night, what you drink can keep you wide awake, as well. This can be particularly true when it comes to beverages with caffeine. While a cup of coffee can be a great way to get up and get going in the morning, it can also keep you awake at night if you drink it to late in the day, as well. Additionally, what many don't realize is that caffeine can stay active in the system for up to several hours after it has been consumed. So, even if you drank caffeine in the afternoon, it could still be affecting you later at night when you try to go to bed, as well.

Along with caffeine, alcohol is another big sleep disruptor. While some may think that it is a great way to relax at night and unwind, the reality is that it can actually disrupt your sleep cycles and prevent you from falling into a truly restful sleep. Because of this, you may be able to fall asleep easily after a few drinks, but you will likely find yourself waking up multiple times during the night. For many, one or two drinks may not be an issue. However, more than that could become disruptive to quality sleep.

Exercise Regularly

Something else that's important for getting good sleep is making sure that you maintain an optimal activity level during the day. Often, the more sedentary you are, the harder it may be to fall asleep properly. By getting regular exercise in, whether it is power yoga or powerlifting, you can ensure that you are burning off any excess energy, as well as balancing your hormones in a way that will promote deeper sleep. Additionally, what kind of exercise you do isn't as important as making sure that you exercise regularly, so you can feel free to do the forms of exercise that feel the best to you, as long as you spend at least 15 to 20 minutes being active during the day.

Practice Mindfulness

Another way to help promote better sleep is to start practicing mindfulness, or meditation. While some may be aware that it can be great for reducing stress, what they may not realize is that it can be great for getting better sleep as well. This is due in part to the fact that regular meditation can help reduce stress hormones, which impacts sleep, but also to the fact that over time it can change how your brain responds to stress as well. When your brain has an improved stress response, you will then be better able to recover from stressful situations in general, which means that stress will be less likely to impact your sleep in the first place. To get the most out of meditation, it can be beneficial to practice at least 15 to 20 minutes a day.

Have a Comfortable Sleeping Environment

Along with adopting better health habits throughout the day, it can also be highly beneficial to make sure that you have a comfortable sleeping environment. If your bedroom is too bright, noisy, hot, or full of distractions, then it can keep you awake rather than help you sleep. If your room is too bright, then room darkening curtains or blinds can be a good option. If it is too loud, then earplugs or noise cancellation panels can be helpful. Additionally, turning down the thermostat before bed can be a great way to cool down your room and get better sleep, as well.

Some Last Thoughts

Quality sleep is essential for good health. However, the reality is that there are many who struggle to get the rest they need to function well throughout the day. While this may feel difficult to deal with, the reality is that there are many simple ways to improve your sleep quality naturally, and start feeling better. From eating a better diet, to cutting down on caffeine and getting more active, better sleep can often be as simple as making a few lifestyle changes.

The quality and amount of sleep you get each night can have a direct impact on how you feel each day. While it may not always feel easy to get all the sleep you need, the good news is that improving sleep quality can often be as simple as making a few lifestyle changes like improving your diet or exercising more.

If your sleep isn't improving with some lifestyle changes, you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.  Take the quiz below to find out.

SLEEP APNEA QUIZ

Topics: Sleep Tips, get better sleep, sleep health

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