A good night of sleep plays a significant role in maintaining your health and overall well-being. Sleep well at night safeguards your physical health, mental health, safety, and quality of life.
Quantity of sleep alone does not matter. Quality of sleep is equally important. When people are unable to sleep well or their sleep experiences frequent interruptions, they might not get enough of certain stages of sleep.
Basically, how well you function the next day and how well-rested you are, depends on how well you slept the previous night, your total sleep time and how much of the various stages of sleep you get each night.
Improving your sleep patterns is not an overnight thing. The first step is to discover what might be stopping you from getting a better night’s sleep.
Happily, there are natural and easy fixes that can help in improving your sleep. Practicing the following Sleep tips will assist you to slowly resume a better pattern of sleeping. Remember that changing old patterns and developing new ones takes time and practice.
22 Proven simple Tips That Help You Sleep Better At Night
1. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Compensating your lost sleep during the weekdays, with a late wake up during weekends might seem tempting, but not the best solution. Creating a routine sleep pattern of fixed time to bed and up, could be a stepping stone towards healthy sleep.
Understanding your body’s internal clock—or Circadian Rhythm is the first and foremost to better sleep. Your body clock (also termed as circadian rhythm or your sleep/wake cycle) is a natural, internal system that is designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period.
2. Avoid Caffeine and other sleep disruptors late in the day
Caffeine is a stimulant and should be stopped 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. You should reduce the intake of caffeine, including tea, coffee, soft drinks or chocolates by afternoon.
Caffeine possesses the tendency to delay the timing of your sleep/wake cycle disrupting your sleep pattern and resulting in insomnia. These effects will minimize your total sleep time.
It also increases adrenaline (a hormone, neurotransmitter, and medication) production and temporarily makes us feel more alert by inhibiting sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Also, have a lighter dinner meal, avoiding spice in your diet. This will avoid heartburn or indigestion, giving you sound sleep (Source).
3. Exposure to Daylight
Exposure to daylight (sunlight) during the day hours and less light at night is critical for a quality sleep and healthy sleep patterns because it helps to calibrate the body’s 24-hour internal clock called the “circadian” clock.
In the present-day world, your hectic lifestyle forces you to spend more time indoors. However, the light of the bright sun still is beneficial in regulating your sleeping patterns.
When you are all set to begin the day, getting your body exposed to the light of the sun will not only facilitate alertness of your brain but will also set you in motion, and help in getting a quality sleep later in the night (Source)
4. Exercise during the day
Research has proved that people with a sedentary lifestyle, when started exercising a few times a week noticed a drastic improvement in their sleep patterns.
Basically, sitting the whole day on a lousy chair increases the tendency to decrease metabolism and increased symptoms of depression and sleepiness. Try and do some regular exercises before bed to get a night of good sleep (Source).
5. Clear your mind and relax
Adopt some relaxation strategies to calm your mind. Calm mind facilitates a night of good sleep. Shut down your eyes and start noticing your breathing.
Place a hand on your heart and start deep breathing for nearly 4 seconds. First, take a long breath out and then take a long breath in. Repeat this pattern until your brain is relaxed and heartbeat slows down. Your thoughts, anxiety, and restlessness should soon ease up as well.
Imagine visualizing the passage of air as it travels through your mouth, airways, down into your abdomen, and back out again. Monitor and survey your body for any tension, and as you breathe out, feel the restlessness, anxiety, and tension leave that part of your body. Visualize your inhaled air traveling to your forehead, neck, shoulders, arms, and then releasing the tension as you exhale (Source).
6. Avoid Blue Light Exposure
Electronic gadgets like laptops and mobile phones emit blue light. This blue light impacts the circadian rhythm, tricking the brain cells into thinking it is still daytime and reduces and suppresses the release of melatonin hormones – hormone that aids in getting good sleep and reduces both the quantity and quality of your sleep (Source).
Using gadgets before sleep stimulates brain waves that may keep you awake on the bed. Avoid using any electronic devices before bed is a good idea. Ideally, a soft massage beneath your eyes can work wonders (Source).
7. Avoid Daytime Naps
Avoid daytime naps or sleeping during the day, especially in the afternoon. For a good night sleep, sticking to a routine is important. It is advisable to stick to the same sleeping pattern i.e., go to bed every day at the same time and to wake up in the morning at the same time, even on the weekends.
Taking naps during the day for even just one circadian cycle results in alterations in more than 100 proteins in the blood. Day time naps have a negative effect on diabetes levels, immune function, and metabolism. Also, late-day naps decrease sleep drive (Source).
8. Practice Meditation or Yoga
Yoga and meditation help in calming our senses. Yogic exercises and positions promote rest and relaxation through meditation. The practice is used to get a quality sleep by many people who suffer from several sleeping disorders and insomnia. Yoga focuses on alleviating stress, anxiety and increases feelings of calmness (Source).
The below mentioned Yoga poses help sleep better;
- (Virasana) – Hero pose
- (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana) – Cat and Cow Pose
- (Balasana) – Child’s Pose
- (Viparita Karani) – Legs Up the Wall
- (Supta Jaṭhara Parivartānāsana) – Supine Spinal Twist
- (Ananda Balasana) – Happy Baby
- (Supta Baddha Konasana) – Reclining Goddess Pose
- (Savasana) – Corpse Pose
9. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol destroys the sleep pattern that wakes you up with a good morning smile. Initially, it might stimulate good sleep, but once the effects of alcohol lower, the sleep gets disrupted. It basically prevents you from having the kind of deep sleep that is necessary to feel refreshed and function well the next day.
10. Improve Your Sleeping Environment
Make sure your room temperature is maintained at the optimum – between 60°F and 75°F (16°C – 24°C) – not too cool or hot! Ensure your beddings and surroundings are conducive to a good sleeping pattern. Also, ensure that your bedroom is well ventilated.
A dark, calm, and cool environment support sound sleep. Exposure of light in your bedroom can cause an effect of day, making your sleep conscious. Make your bedroom as dark as possible, even avoiding light from cell phones or any lighting devices. Light in the dark produces melatonin that regulates sleep patterns
Make sure, no outside noise is reaching your bedroom. To create a restful sleep environment, use earplugs or a “white noise” appliance to lessen the volume of outside noise.
Use blackout shades, heavy curtains, or an eye mask to block any light. For a comfortable sleep, another important consideration is pillows and your mattress. Make sure your bedroom is equipped with very good quality and comfortable mattress and pillows.
11. Pay Attention to what and when you eat
Heavy meals in the evening interfere with the release of Human Growth Hormone and melatonin that facilitate a quality sleep at night. You should eat your last heavy meal 3 hours before going to sleep. Eating heavy meals before hitting your bed may result in disruptions to healthy sleep patterns (Source).
Also, there are some foods that help to sleep better. For example, milk contains tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance.
Other foods that may help promote sleep include buckwheat, Tuna, Artichokes, eggs, bananas, walnuts, oats, avocados, halibut, almonds, bok choy, peaches, apricots, asparagus, pumpkin, and potatoes
12. Adjust your sleep position
Your sleep position plays a major role in your sleep quality. According to the research studies, half of us are getting 6 hours of sleep or less a night, and the way you sleep could be to blame.
Different sleep positions have different benefits. For example
a. Benefits of sleeping on your back
- Best sleeping position for back pain
- Can help reduce wrinkles
- The best position for improving digestion
b. Benefits of sleeping on your side
- Reduces chances of snoring and acid reflux
- Prevents neck and back pain
- Considered the nest sleeping position during pregnancy
While it’s not always a conscious choice, being aware of how you sleep can help you understand which position assures you best sleep and which one is causing issues going on and make improvements (Source).
13. Get a comfortable Pillow, Mattress, and Bed
If your mattress and pillows are crumpled, deflated, scrunching, uneven, worn-out, and you are struggling every night to get comfortable, then it is a red flag and an indication that it is time to update. Even if your mattress and pillow are not very old, but if they are not comfortable, then they definitely need to be replaced with the new ones (Source).
14. Practice “4-7-8” breathing method
This process is also termed as “relaxing breath,” and involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.
This breathing technique helps in alleviating anxiety and in getting a quality sleep.
Here is how to practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique:
- Empty the air from your lungs
- Inhale (breathe in) slowly using your nose for a count of 4 seconds
- Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Start exhaling through your mouth with force again for a full 8 seconds, making a whoosh sound throughout
- This is 1 cycle. Now start breathing in again and repeat 4 times. Eventually, work up to 8 repetitions
This technique was proposed and developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. It is basically a variation of pranayama, an ancient yogic technique called “Pranayama” and Dr. Andrew described it as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.” It helps people relax as it replenishes oxygen in the body (Source).
15. Eliminate sleep disorder
Sleep problems can be the result of various conditions or medical problems. Hence, it is important to see your sleep specialist and discuss your sleep problems with. In case you have issues like sleep apnea, insomnia, sciatica pain, and other related sleep issues, try to address these problems.
Consult your clinician if you have sleep disorders and if they are the reason for your disrupted sleep pattern, especially if it is accompanied by respiratory problems, difficulty breathing, heavy sweating, unusual leg sensations, or by severe anxiety, depression, or unusual thoughts. Treatment and elimination of these causes may address sleep disorders and ensure a quality sleep (Source).
16. Read Something
Reading before falling asleep calms the senses, reduces your stress level and helps put your consciousness on another plane, which eventually induces sleep. While reading, your eye muscles tire and brain works hard, and it is only natural that they would need rest, resulting in your eyes shutting off and sleep taking over.
Reading before going to bed can help:
- The brain to relax and distract from daily worries and stresses that cause tension.
- Enhance your memory
- Slows down your breathing and allows your muscles to relax, leaving you feeling calmer.
- Address and combat mild mental health conditions
- Enhance cognitive function
- Reduce cortisol levels (a hormone responsible for causing anxiety and stress)
Reading something good before hitting the bed will also help you maintain and follow a perfect bedtime routine to get a good night’s sleep (Source).
17. Listen to relaxing music
Music makes you feel calm and relaxed. Good music has been found to regulate heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and make breathing gentler.
So, if you are listening to some calming tunes combining with a pleasant scent of essential oil that can elicit such a reaction, then you could supposedly get into deep slumber faster. Music with a slow rhythm of sixty to eighty beats per minute actually mimics the low end of a healthy resting heart rate.
This is beneficial to set synchronization between your brain and heartbeat to the musical beat thereby providing the best potential to make you sleepy. Another way that music may help you to drift off into the land of nod is if it is a part of your bedtime routine (Source).
18. Avoid smoking
Another research has identified smokers having restlessness, even after a full night’s sleep, in comparison to the non-smokers. Nicotine stimulates senses disturbing sleep. Smoking can also increase breathing disorders including asthma that can lead to reduced sleep (Source).
19. Avoid sleep with pets
Sleeping with pets or kids are the worst sleepers and can disrupt your sleep. In addition, pet’s furs and hairs can cause itching issues to keep you awake (Source).
20. Use bed Only to sleep
Some people are used to working or eating on the bed. Use it only for sleeping as that creates a pattern of association with your body. In case if you are awake during the night, meditate to get sleep back.
21. Take a relaxing warm bath or shower
Several scientific studies report that a warm bath or shower is a wonderful sleep remedy as it can hurtle the speed of getting into relaxing slumber by around 36%. A warm bath may increase peripheral blood flow and DPG (temperature gradient) to expedite heat loss without increasing core body temperature and thereby improving sleep onset and quality.
Secrets of A Good Sleep
The way your lifestyle evolves and unsound habits often gives you sleepless nights affecting your mind, body, creativity and well-being. However, practicing a few useful tips to enjoy good sleep, might aid you to improve the way you live your life.
Start Small! Try adopting small changes as they can influence your sleep patterns to a large extent. Do not make an attempt to achieve too much in one go. Instead, pick 1 or 2 strategies, implement them in your routine and try them consistently. When you’re ready, try adopting a new strategy. The idea is to eventually and slowly start increasing behaviors that can help you sleep while minimizing the things that are interfering with your sleep.
So, if you are exhausted of tumbling and turning at night, try the above simple tips. They will aid in getting a quality sleep in the night and make you feel rejuvenated, more energetic and productive during the day. Getting good sleep is essential to keep your mind sharp and active during the next day.