7 Tips to Improve Your Sleep

If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.

Poor sleep hygiene has negative effects which causes weight gain, negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.(source)

These simple tips will help you sleep better and be more energetic and productive during the day.

Don’t Eat Late in the Evening

Heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people. When this occurs close to bedtime, it can disrupt your sleep.

That said, the quality and type of dinner, as well as your late-night snack plays a big role at night. Try and eat lighter healthier dinners with lean meat or fish to help curb late night snacking.

If you do want a snack before bed, consider a high-carbohydrate snack like toast or crackers. These foods help trigger the release of serotonin, which helps to regulate mood, appetite and digestion and sleep.

Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion, by doing that sleep won’t be far behind.

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Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps

Many people make naps a regular part of their day. While napping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, it may be one of the culprits if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night.

Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality and it can confuse your internal clock, which could lead to a restless night.(source)

But on the other hand it can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.

Limit naps to 30 minutes in the early afternoon and avoid doing so late in the day.

Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day

A single dose of caffeine can enhance focus, energy and sports performance.

However, when consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may cause your body from naturally relaxing at night.

You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to 6–8 hours after drinking it but if you can, avoid caffeine for 2-3 hours before bedtime, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.

Similarly on the other hand, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.

Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower

Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.

Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and one favourite is by taking a relaxing bath or shower.

A hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep.(source)

Other strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, meditating, deep breathing and visualization.

Exercise Regularly

What you do during the day, several hours before bedtime, can have a big impact on your sleep. Exercise improves your overall health, and it helps physically tire your body by the time bedtime comes.

As little as 10-30 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can greatly improve your nighttime sleep quality.

Although daily exercise is key for a good night’s sleep, performing it close to bedtime may cause sleep problems. However, the effect of intense nighttime exercise on sleep differs from person to person, so find out what works best for you.

Stick to a sleep schedule

A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime.

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours.

If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times.

Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid in long-term sleep quality. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.

Sleep environment

Once you’re finished with dinner and dishes, it’s a good idea to start dimming the lights in your home.

Bright light from lamps, cell phone and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn those lights off or adjust them when possible. This way you would tell your brain that sleep is on its way, and you’ll naturally start relaxing.

Keeping your bedroom dark also keeps it cool, by blocking out heat from sunlight in the morning. More importantly, the darkness convinces your brain that it’s still night time.

Sleeping uncomfortable can also disrupt your sleep quality. Your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Some suggest that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.

Now you know why you always sleep better in a hotel.

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That said, sleep plays a key role in your health.

If you’re taking too long to fall asleep, you should consider relooking at your sleep routine and revising your bedtime habits.

The right way to sleep is different for different people and it may change for you over time. If your sleep difficulties don’t improve through good sleep hygiene, you may want to consult your physician or a sleep specialist.

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