Alaska Sleep Education Center

Improve Your Health with Better Sleep

Posted by Kevin Faber on Apr 30, 2021 3:47:00 AM

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Even though good sleep is necessary for good health, there are still many who struggle to get adequate amounts of rest on a regular basis. While today's busy lifestyle may make it difficult to get enough downtime, the good news is that there are things you can do to improve your sleep quality and quantity. If you are looking for some ways to start getting better sleep tonight, then here are some things to try. 


Eat a Healthy Diet

What you eat throughout the day can have a significant impact on all other areas of your health, including your sleep quality. Foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs can cause problems not only with your energy levels throughout the day, but with your sleep quality at night as well. 

This is because foods high in sugar and refined carbs tend to cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. This means that you will experience a rush of energy, followed by feelings of exhaustion. When this happens frequently, it can cause you to feel tired during times when you should be awake, and wide awake when it is time to go to bed. 

To avoid sleep issues related to your diet, it can be a good idea to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Not only should you be eating plenty of produce, but it can also be a good idea to make sure that you are eating enough lean proteins, as well as healthy fats whether you get them from a guardian booth or somewhere else. 


Cut Out the Caffeine

Something else you need to consider when it comes to your diet is the kinds of beverages you consume. Even though you may not realize it, your caffeine intake could be negatively impacting your ability to fall asleep at night. While caffeine can be great for getting you going in the mornings, because it is a nervous system stimulant, it can also keep you wide awake at night as well. 

While a cup of coffee in the morning may not keep you awake at night, the reality is that caffeine can stay active in your system for several hours after it is consumed. To avoid having sleep problems due to caffeine, it can be beneficial to limit your drinks to the morning and early afternoon, and to drink smaller amounts if possible. 


Watch Your Alcohol Intake

Another beverage that can prevent you from getting the sleep you need is alcohol. While it may not necessarily be difficult to fall asleep when you drink alcohol, it can disrupt your sleep cycles. So, while you may be able to fall asleep, you may struggle to stay asleep throughout the night. An occasional drink or two before bed may not cause major issues. However, drinking significantly more than that can lead to poor quality sleep. 


Get Plenty of Exercise

When it comes to the quality of rest that you get at night, the activities you do during the day can play a big role. Exercise can not only be great for staying in shape and feeling energized, but it can also be helpful for improving sleep quality as well. This is in part because it helps burn off excess energy, and also because it helps balance out hormones that impact your sleep. 

When it comes to exercise, the good news is that you have a lot of options. Whether you enjoy weight lifting or power walking there are many different forms of movement that can be great for getting better sleep. What is key to seeing results is making sure that you are consistent. To get the best results, plan to stay active for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. 


Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Comfortable

One major culprit behind poor sleep is an uncomfortable bedroom. Whether you have a poor quality bed, or your bedroom is too hot, bright or noisy, there can be many ways that your sleeping environment can prevent you from getting deep sleep. 

To deal with noise in your bedroom, earplugs or noise cancelling panels can be good options. If you have too much light coming into your bedroom, then room darkening blinds or curtains could be helpful. If your room is too hot, then using a fan or air conditioner can help, as can turning down the heat before you go to bed.


Find Ways To Reduce Stress

A big sleep disruptor that many struggle with is stress. Even though most may be aware that stress is unpleasant, they may not understand just how big of an impact it can have on their health, and on their sleep in particular. 

While it may not be possible to avoid stress altogether, there are ways that you can help manage and reduce it when you are dealing with stressful situations. One great way to help combat stress is mindfulness. Mindfulness, which is also often referred to as meditation, can be helpful for calming the mind and your nervous system.

Over time, you can not only help increase your feelings of calm in general, but you can also help improve your mind's resilience to stress. Beyond helping day to day life to be less stressful, you can also improve your focus, memory, and ability to fall into a deep and restful sleep, as well. 


Start a Relaxing Ritual

Something else that can be great for getting in gear to go to bed is starting a relaxing bedtime ritual. Whether you choose to do something like read a book, journal, or do gentle stretches finding a calming activity that you enjoy and doing it each night can be a great way not just to calm down and unwind, but also to signal to your brain that it is time for bed, as well. 

However, when coming up with activities to use to unwind, it can be a good idea to avoid anything that involves a screen, like watching TV or scrolling through social media feeds on your phone. While these may seem like relaxing, passive activities the reality is that screens emit a light that signals to your brain it is time to wake up. This can make it difficult to fall asleep, even if you are tired. By avoiding screens for the last couple of hours before bed, you can help avoid this issue. 


Final Thoughts

Good sleep is important for good health. However, that doesn't mean that it is always easy to sleep well. The upside is that there are many simple things you can do to begin improving your sleep quality, from eating a better diet to starting a calming nighttime ritual. 

Learn more about good sleep habits, a.k.a. sleep hygiene, by downloading our free e-book.  Just click below or feel free to call any of Alaska Sleep Clinic's four labs in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna and Wasilla.

Sleep Hygiene ebook

Topics: sleep habits, sleep hygiene

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