Good sleep is essential for good health. However, many still struggle to sleep well at night. From being unable to wind down from daily stresses, to having a lifestyle that makes it difficult to stick to a regular schedule, there can be many reasons why you may not be able to get optimal sleep at night. While this can be an issue, the good news is that there are steps that you can take to improve your sleep quality overall, and many of them are straightforward and natural. If you are looking for tips to begin improving your sleep tonight, then here are some things to try.
Create the Right Sleeping Environment
One thing that can't be underestimated when it comes to getting better sleep is the quality of your sleeping environment. Many may be sleeping in a bedroom that is actually keeping them awake without even realizing it. If your bedroom is too noisy, bright, hot or filled with allergens, then it could be preventing you from getting the rest that you need.
If your room is too noisy, then trying earplugs or noise cancelling panels can be a good move. If it is too bright, then try out room darkening curtains or blinds may be beneficial, or if that doesn't work for you, an eye mask could be helpful. For a bedroom that is too hot, turning down the thermostat shortly before going to bed can be a good move. If your bedroom is full of allergens, then doing a deep cleaning, including carpet cleaning and getting your air ducts cleaned can be a good way to make sure that your bedroom is free of dust and other allergens.
Watch Your Diet
While many may be aware that what they eat impacts their health, they may not realize that it can impact their sleeping quality, as well. This is due in part to the fact that many foods high in refined carbs and sugars can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. This means that you may experience a burst of energy, followed by exhaustion. This can lead you to feel tired during parts of the day when you should have energy, and wide awake when you should be getting ready to wind down.
One good way to make sure that your diet isn't getting in the way of your getting good sleep is to cut down on refined and processed foods, and focus your meals more on whole foods. Some great whole foods that can help improve your sleep quality include lean meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, as well as fresh produce and leafy greens.
Avoid Certain Beverages
Along with paying more attention to what you are eating, you should also begin paying more attention to what you are drinking as well. This is particularly true when it comes to caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. While coffee or another caffeinated drink can be great for waking you up in the morning and helping you to get going, it can also keep you up at night and disrupt your sleep cycles as well. This is due to the fact that caffeine is a nervous system stimulant. Additionally, it can also stay active in your system for hours after you have consumed it. So, even if you drank caffeine in the late afternoon, it could still be preventing you from falling asleep when you are ready for bed.
Alcohol can be another big disruptor to your sleep cycles. While it may be possible to fall asleep easily after drinking alcohol, because it has a negative impact on your sleep cycles, you will often not be able to stay asleep or fall into a deep, restful sleep. While a drink or two in the evening may not be majorly detrimental to your sleep, anything beyond that could make it hard for you to get the kind of rest you need to wake up feeling refreshed the next day.
Stick To a Regular Schedule
Another way to help improve your sleep at night is to stick to a regular sleeping schedule. The more that you can go to bed and wake up at the same time, the more that your body will become accustomed to this routine, and the easier it will be for you to get good quality sleep. This is also due to the fact that the body has natural rhythms, called circadian rhythms, that run on a 24 hour time frame. The more that you can live in tune with them the better you will tend to feel. However, the more that you fight against them, the more tired you are likely to feel.
Get More Exercise
Getting better sleep isn't just about what you do at night or right before bed, how much activity you get throughout the day can have a big impact on sleep quality as well. This can be particularly true when it comes to exercise levels. The more that you can burn off excess physical energy throughout the day, the easier it often is to fall asleep at night. This isn't just because you burned off extra energy, either. Working out often helps your body to produce hormones that are not only great for boosting happiness and overall mood, but that are great for getting deeper sleep, as well. When it comes to working out for better sleep, you don't need to be concerned about what kind of exercises you are doing, so long as you make time for exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Take Steps To Reduce Stress
Many may be aware that stress is bad for their overall health, but they may not realize just how bad it can be when it comes to disrupting sleep. Stress can stimulate the nervous system, and while this may be necessary in some stressful situations, it can make it much more difficult to get quality sleep at night. On the upside, there are many simple ways that you can begin reducing your stress.
Meditation, or mindfulness is one simple way to begin clearing your mind and relaxing your nervous system that you can practice right before bed, or throughout the day. To get the best results, you should aim to practice it for around 20 minutes a day. Deep breathing exercises are also great for reducing stress, and can be done in conjunction with meditation.
The Bottom Line
Good sleep is essential to feel your best. However, many still struggle to get the sleep that they need. The good news is, though, that getting better sleep doesn't need to feel impossible, and that by doing things like cleaning up your diet and practicing de-stressing techniques, you can start getting better sleep tonight.
Now you know the different habits proven to help you get a good night's sleep. You only need to do them, to realize them. Of course, most of the things on the list require discipline and consistency. Otherwise, you won't see any improvement in your sleep.
Alaska Sleep Clinic wants to help you diagnosis and properly treat your sleep issues; but we also want to educate everyone on ways to get better sleep, even if you don't have sleep apnea. Once a month, we do a segment on KTUU Channel's "Moms Everyday." Watch some of our sleep education videos below.