Even though quality sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, many still struggle to get the rest they need on a daily basis. The good news is, though, that getting better sleep doesn't have to be difficult. There can be many simple ways to not only get more sleep, but to get better quality sleep as well. If you are looking for ways to improve the sleep that you get, here are some things to try out.
Eat a Sleep Promoting Diet
When it comes to getting good sleep it isn't just what you do at night that matters, but what you do during the day that can impact your sleep as well. This can be particularly true when it comes to your diet. What some don't realize is that many of their favorite foods could actually be sabotaging their sleep at night. Two of the biggest culprits behind poor sleep are often sugar and refined carbs. This is because these are both foods that can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. When this happens, your energy levels will tank, leaving you exhausted when you should be full of energy. As a result, your sleep cycles will often be disrupted as well.
To avoid being kept up at night by your diet, it can be beneficial to cut out junk foods that are high in carbs and sugar. At the same time, it can be helpful to begin introducing more healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Additionally, if you struggle to get enough healthy foods into your diet it can be a good idea to try supplements as well. However, because there are so many supplements available, doing your research and reading thrive reviews before you make a purchase can be a good idea.
Cut Out Big Sleep Disruptors
Besides what you eat, what you drink can have a big impact on how well you sleep, too. This is especially true when it comes to caffeine. Even though a cup of coffee can be a great way to wake up early in the morning, if you drink caffeinated drinks too late in the day, it can keep you awake at night, too. This is due in part to the fact that caffeine stimulates your nervous system, and can stay active in your system for up to several hours after you have ingested it. To avoid being kept awake by caffeine, it can be helpful to limit the amount of caffeinated drinks you consume in a day, and to drink them during the earlier hours of the day, too.
Another big disruptor of sleep is alcohol. Many may enjoy a drink or two in the evening to wind down. However, the reality is that while it may initially help you calm down it can also disrupt your sleep cycles, and cause you to wake up frequently during the night. A few drinks on occasion may not do serious harm to your sleep, but regular drinking may make it difficult for you to get quality sleep long term.
Start an Exercise Regimen
Something else that can be great for improving sleep quality is a solid exercise regimen. Working out can be helpful for promoting good sleep for a few different reasons. One of them is that it can help burn off extra energy that can keep you awake at night, as well as reduce symptoms of things like anxiety and depression, which can interfere with sleep quality. Beyond that, regular exercise can help boost the production of hormones that help you sleep at night.
Additionally, the kind of exercise you do isn't always as important as the fact that you work out regularly. Whether you enjoy a brisk walk, running, or yoga, staying physically active for at least 20 minutes a day can be highly beneficial for promoting a good night's sleep.
Learn To De-Stress
Most are aware that stress is unpleasant, but they may not realize how big of a sleep disruptor it can be. When you experience stress, whether it is physical or emotional, it triggers the stress response within your body. This means that your body will then release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, which can make your heart pump harder, and cause you to be alert. While this may be a normal stress response, it can be highly detrimental when you are trying to sleep. By learning some effective de-stressing techniques, though, it can be possible to reduce stress hormones in your body and get better sleep.
One of the best things you can do to reduce your stress response and calm your nervous system quickly is to do some deep breathing exercises. There are a variety of different breathing exercises that you can try, but often simply focusing on inhaling deeply for a few seconds, pausing, and then exhaling slowly can be enough to help you calm down quickly.
Another great way to help reduce stress and start sleeping better is to practice mindfulness, or meditation. Mindfulness can be a great way to give yourself a break from your daily worries and clear your mind. Beyond that, there is some evidence that suggests that regular meditation can not only help calm your nervous system, but also improve your mental clarity and strengthen your brain's resistance to stress overall. To get the best results, practicing meditation for at least 20 minutes a day is ideal. However, if you are not able to practice for that long when you are first starting out, starting with 5 or 10 minute intervals and building your way up.
Start a Bedtime Ritual
Something else that can be helpful when trying to get better sleep is having a bedtime ritual. When you pick a relaxing activity to practice regularly before bed, it can help signal to your brain and body that it is time to rest, which can make it easier for you to fall into a deep and restful sleep. A bedtime ritual can be especially powerful when you pick a calming activity that you enjoy.
Journaling, reading a book, and gentle stretches can all be great examples of calming activities that can help you get in the right mindset for bed. While some may think that scrolling through social media feeds on their phone or watching TV can be good options before bed, the reality is that these activities can actually keep you up later, so opting for something that doesn't involve a screen can be ideal.
The Bottom Line
Good sleep is a huge part of maintaining good health. That being said, many suffer from either a lack of sleep, or poor sleep quality. The good news is, though, that there can be many simple ways to improve the quantity and quality of sleep you get and start feeling healthier today.
In all honesty, there are many reasons to have a sleep study done, especially if you or your loved ones are suffering as a result. Treatments for sleep disorders have a high rate of success for patients willing to take the leap in getting diagnosed. Within a short time of getting treatment, many patients find themselves feeling more alert and invigorated during the day and report an amazing change in the quality of their life.
The Alaska Sleep Clinic specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of sleep disorders. If you live in Alaska and are ready to get your sleep disorder under control, sign up for a sleep study today by clicking the link below and take the first step towards more fulfilling sleep.