Alaska Sleep Education Center

How to Sleep Better: A Simple Guide

Posted by Jennifer McBride on Apr 29, 2019 7:12:00 AM

how-to-sleep-better1Everyone knows the importance of eating right and exercising to be healthy, but what about sleep? A good night’s sleep is just as important as healthy food and regular exercise. Did you know that you spend nearly one-third of your life sleeping? So you better be good at it!

Good sleep is imperative for better health. If you fall short of sleep, your energy during the day, productivity, emotional balance, and weight all get affected.

If you want to sleep better, then you are in the right place. Here’s a plain and simple guide on how to sleep better.

How can you get better sleep at night?

When you are lying wide awake at 3 am, getting a good night’s sleep might seem impossible. However, you have more control over the quality of your sleep than you know. Just like how you feel throughout your waking hours depends on what kind of sleep you have, you can find the cure for your sleep difficulties in your daily routine.

Unhealthy lifestyle choices and lifestyle habits can lead to you tossing and turning at night which inevitably impacts your mood, immune system, heart and brain health, vitality, weight, and creativity.

You can sleep better and help you feel at your peak all through the day.

  1. Know your bedtime and stick to the same schedule – Of all tips, this is the most important. Sticking to the same schedule means you sleep and wake up at the same time every day. A regular rhythm helps sync your biological clock and perform bodily functions in a smoother manner. Choose a bedtime when you feel tired naturally, so as to avoid tossing and turning. If you get enough sleep then you should be able to wake up without the sound of an alarm. If you need an alarm to wake you up, you need may need to sleep earlier.
  2. ExerciseDo not scoff off the idea that exercise has nothing to do with sleep; incorporating a daily Exercise (1)workout regime into your schedule helps you feel less sleepy and more active during the night and sleep better at night. Vigorous exercise results in better sleep but even light exercise to start with can help.
  3. Pay attention to what you eat and drink – If you go to bed when you are hungry or stuffed, you will not sleep well. Drinks that contain alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine deserve caution too. The effects of caffeine and nicotine take hours to wear off. Initially, alcohol may put you to sleep but your sleep might be disrupted in the middle of the night.
  4. Create a restful environment – To promote sound slumber you need to create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Why do you think bats convene in caves during their sleep time? So, you need a quiet, cool, and dark environment. For this, you can use an eye mask to block light, room-darkening shades, earplugs to block noise, and comfortable temperature. Additionally, you need to avoid using your phone or other light emitting devices before bed and instead indulge in calm and soothing activities like taking a bath.
  5. Invest in a good mattress – Have you ever wondered why you sleep better in a hotel room? Yes, the environment is relaxing but apart from that the quality of the bed affects sleep too. You need a good mattress,period. Do not underestimate the value of a good quality mattress. Your bed will not last forever, as they are usually made to last 8-10 years. So if your bed has bumps and lumps, it’s time to consider shopping for a new bed. You can try different bed sizes and dimensions by Mattress Insider to get the perfect bed. Finding the right mattress can improve your quality of sleep in wondrous ways! Of course, the right mattress is subjective; upgrade your bedding based on your personal preferences. According to a study, a mattress that is 28 days old reduced back stiffness by 59% shoulder pain by 60%, back pain by 57% and improved quality of sleep by 60%.
  6. Reduce irregular or long daytime siestas – Irregular or long naps during the day can negatively affect your sleep. On the other hand, short power naps are beneficial. Your internal clock tends to get confused when you sleep during the day which, in turn, affects sleep at night. A study revealed that participants felt sleepier after taking naps during the day. Another study reported that if you sleep for 30 minutes or less your brain functions are enhanced. But if you are on the other end of the spectrum where you take daytime naps and sleep well at night, then you have no worries in the world!
  7. Clear your mind and relax before bed - A pre-sleep routine that helps you relax and sleep is recommended. Relaxing techniques just prior to going to bed not only improve sleep but also treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. You can try any strategy that you like from reading a book to relaxing music to meditating to taking a hot shower and deep breathing. You can even try different methods and adopt one which works well for you.
  8. Close our your day – Two major factors that hinder your sleep are being preoccupied physically - too much alcohol, caffeine, food, etc. or being mentally preoccupied - your body is telling you to sleep but your mind has its own opinion. You’ve been there – you're physically lying down in bed but your mind is constantly thinking of the presentation that’s due the next day. Instead of counting sheep you are mentally ticking things off from your to-do list. It’s understandable, turning off your brain after a stressful, busy day is difficult. A good bedtime routine helps but you also need something that will help you sleep faster and have a productive day once you wake up. What helps is reviewing your day, making a to-do list for tasks to be completed and closing your day at a fixed time every day. Just like how offices close at a certain time, so should your brain.

Wrapping up

It’s your turn. You deserve a good night’s sleep and with this, you have a blueprint on how to accomplish it. Now you can fall asleep faster, sleep better and wake up with all the energy in the world.

Some techniques might be easier to include in your day and night schedule as compared to others. Try and test and see what works and stick to it.

It’s time to put these techniques into practice and make sleep your top priority.  The first step is to go see your doctor or give Alaska Sleep Clinic a call. 

Improve Your Sleep!  Improve Your Life!

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Topics: exercise, sleep hygiene, sleep test, snacking

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