Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Do you struggle with the quality of sleep? Sleeping better is not just about the quantity, but also about the quality of the sleep that you get. How you feel throughout the day depends a lot on how well you sleep at night. If you are someone who has trouble getting quality sleep, follow these rules to sleep better at night.
Maintain a regular schedule
Your body has a natural sleep cycle, called circadian rhythm. Adhering to a regular sleep cycle is probably the most important factor defining your quality of sleep. Try to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday. This holds true even on the weekends. If you want to catch up on some extra sleep, do it during the day by taking a nap. It has been proven that napping has a lot of health benefits.
Limit caffeine and nicotine
Caffeine is a well known stimulant that will help you stay up. In fact, the stimulating effects of caffeine remain even ten to twelve hours after intake. While caffeine is great to consume in the morning and as a pre-workout energy booster, avoid intake after noon. Similarly, nicotine is a stimulant which can disrupt your sleep and should be avoided, especially close to bed time. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why you should quit smoking all together.
Regular exercise has been known to improve sleep quality. Even light exercise such as walking 15-20 minutes a day will help sleep better. But the effects of exercise on sleep multiply with vigorous exercise. Along with a cardio routine, try to incorporate a full body workout which will work all the major muscles of your body, exhausting you and helping you fall asleep faster at night. Regular exercise also makes you feel less sleepy and keeps you more energized throughout the day.
Workout in the morning
When you workout, your metabolism gets a boost, your body temperature rises and your body release hormones such as cortisol. These factors will interfere with your sleep if you workout too close to bedtime. It is best to move your workouts to the morning. You will feel great throughout the day and sleep much better at night. If you do have to workout at night, limit it to low impact workouts like yoga and stretching, that too at least 3 hours before sleeping.
What you eat plays a big role in how well you sleep. Eating the right foods at the right time is just as important. Eating foods containing melatonin, vitamin B6 and magnesium are known to relieve symptoms of insomnia and help you sleep better at night. Avoid big heavy meals at night, especially 3 hours before sleeping. Also avoid consumption of alcohol before sleeping as it can interfere with your sleep. In fact, limit fluid intake right before bedtime to avoid frequent wake up calls for the bathroom. For some people, eating a bedtime snack helps them sleep better. If you must eat a bedtime snack, keep it light. Try eating a turkey sandwich, a glass of milk or low fat yogurt, all known to promote better sleep. Sipping on chamomile tea can also calm you down and make you feel drowsy, helping you fall asleep. Avoid sugar-rich foods like fruits which can spike your blood glucose level and energise you, keeping you up at night.
Get some sunlight during the day
Start your day with some sunlight. It wakes you up by regulating you cortisol and melatonin levels. Spend as much time as you can during the day in sunlight. It helps you stay awake during the day and sleep better at night. Try to keep the curtains open and sit near a window if you must stay indoors. Take a break every hour and walk outside. Make use of any excuse you find to be outside.
Limit technology use
Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before sleeping. Electronics such as TV and mobile phones are major distractions that interfere with your sleep time. Light from any source will suppress melatonin and tend to keep you awake. Make sure all electronics are turned off and not just in silent or sleep mode. Train your brain to know it is time for sleep when electronics are turned off.
Wind down before bed
Your daily life keeps you busy and your mind alert all throughout the day. It is important to take a break from all your stress and wind down before going to bed. Try taking a warm before settling in. You can even try writing a journal, reading a book, deep breathing and meditation. If you can’t fall asleep due to something, it is better not to try and force it by stressing about it in bed. It is better to engage in some light activity. Try reading a book, meditating, praying or eating a light snack. This might get you a bit more tired or relaxed so you can quickly fall asleep.
Improve your sleep environment
Make sure the environment around you is conducive to sleeping. Make sure noise levels are low in your bedroom. If noise can’t be avoided, try to mask it using a fan or ear plugs. Set the right temperature in your bedroom. Somewhere between 60-72º F should keep you comfortable through the night. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and the sheets are clean. Avoid other activities like eating and watching TV in bed. None of the above factors will help if the environment that you sleep in is not good. So take extra efforts to make sure to make sure the environment is perfect for getting sound sleep.