Getting a good night of quality sleep is just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Many studies have proven that inadequate sleep has significant adverse effects on your brain function, exercise performance, or hormones. It may also lead to an increased risk of disease and weight gain in children and adults.
However, when you can get a good night’s rest, it helps you exercise better, eat less, and lead an overall healthier life.
In the past few years, sleep quantity and quality has gone down. Today, there are far too many people who are not getting plenty of sleep. If you are ready to optimize your health or if your goal is to lose weight, making sure you get a good night’s rest is the most important thing you can do. Along with adequate sleep, adding Activated You supplements to your routine is also a smart move. Keep reading for more tips about how you can get better sleep and improve your overall health and well-being.
Increase Your Exposure to Bright Light During the Day
Did you know you have your own “clock” inside your body? It is called the circadian rhythm. It can affect your hormones, body, and brain. It helps you remain awake and tells your body when it is time to go to sleep.
Bright light during the day and natural sunlight will help keep your circadian rhythm healthy. When you expose yourself to plenty of natural light, it will improve your energy during the day and help you sleep longer and better at night.
If you have insomnia, exposure to bright light during the day can be especially beneficial. It can also reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep by up to 83%.
Reduce Blue Light You're Exposed to During the Evening
When you are exposed to light during the day, it is a good thing. However, exposure to light at night can be detrimental to your ability to get a good night’s rest. This is also due to your circadian rhythm. It tricks your brain into believing that it is still daytime. This will reduce your hormones, such as melatonin, which will help you relax, settle down, and get a better night’s rest.
Blue light, which is emitted by computers and smartphones, is also damaging to your ability to sleep well. The good news is, there are a few tips you can use to reduce your exposure to blue light at night. For example, you can wear glasses that will block blue light, download an app to help reduce blue light, and stop watching TV for about two hours before you go to bed.
Avoid Drinking Caffeine Later in the Day
Did you know that 90% of the population in the U.S. consumes caffeine daily? It also offers several benefits. Just one dose can help to improve your energy, focus, and performance in certain sports. However, if you consume caffeine later in the day, it will stimulate your nervous system and could keep your body from relaxing when you lay down to sleep at night. In fact, according to one study, drinking caffeine approximately six hours before going to bed worsened a person’s sleep quality significantly.
Levels of caffeine may remain in your blood for about six to eight hours. This means that if you drink large amounts of coffee after three or four in the afternoon, it can impact your ability to get a good night’s rest. If you crave coffee later in the day, it is best to choose a decaffeinated option.
Reduce Long or Irregular Daytime Naps
Even though shorter power naps can be beneficial, taking irregular or long naps during the day may negatively impact your sleep. When you go to sleep during the day, it will confuse your internal clock, which means you will struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep at night.
Go to Bed and Get Up at the Same Time Each Day
Your circadian rhythm operates on a constant loop. It aligns itself with the sun coming up and going down. If you remain consistent with your sleep and wake cycles, it will help your overall sleep quality.
For example, some studies show individuals who operate on irregular sleeping patterns, going to bed later on weekends, had much lower sleep quality. Other studies have shown that an irregular sleep pattern may change your circadian rhythm along with the levels of melatonin that your body produces. This is what is responsible for telling your brain it is time to go to sleep.
If you have struggled with going to sleep or staying asleep, it is a good idea to try waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. After a few weeks, your body will be into this new routine, and you probably will not require an alarm.
Melatonin is considered the primary sleep hormone that lets your brain know when you need to relax and go to bed. Many people take melatonin supplements to help them get a higher quality of sleep. Something else that makes melatonin appealing is that there are no withdrawal effects related to melatonin. Melatonin can be purchased at any drug store and should be taken about 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
If you choose to take a melatonin supplement, make sure, to begin with, a lower dose to determine your tolerance and then increase the amount as needed. Because melatonin may impact the chemistry of your brain, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before you start using it.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol
If you have a few drinks at night, you may be sabotaging your ability to get a good night’s rest. Alcohol is linked to things like snoring and sleep apnea. It can also cause a disruption to your normal sleep patterns. As time passes, it could impact your body’s natural production of melatonin, which also affects your circadian rhythm.
Get Better Sleep with These Tips
If your goal is to get to sleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night, you should begin by implementing the tips found here. Each of these is backed by science and proven to help people get better sleep and to sleep longer than they would normally.
While this is true, everyone is unique. This means you may need to use a process of trial and error to see which tips work best for your specific needs. By doing this, you can find a sleep routine that works for you and, over time, improve your health and well-being.
Most know that good sleep is important, however, they may not realize how many things they are doing that are secretly sabotaging their sleep. By finding ways to reduce stress, as well as practicing better sleep hygiene, you can start reducing stress and improving your sleep quality today.
Starting with the tips above can lead you to healthier sleep patterns; and a sleep diary or journal can keep track of changed habits. Quite often patients have a sleep study without adequate information into their nightly habits and get diagnosed with Insufficient Sleep Syndrome, which is basically having terrible sleep as a result of voluntary (albeit unintentional) behaviors that impact their sleep negatively.
If you start to notice a negative pattern that could be corrected by your own choices, make changes after a week and see how your next week goes. If there is a vast improvement to your sleep, you may be able to correct the behavior yourself and avoid having an unnecessary sleep study.
A sleep study may still be the best choice though the type of sleep study varies by a patient’s symptoms. Healthcare providers will monitor your sleep either in a lab or at your home using portable home sleep apnea testing equipment.
If you live in Alaska and are ready to take back your sleep, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic and receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep educator who can help you determine if a sleep study is right for you.