How To Sleep Better – Sleep problems can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, especially when your circadian rhythm becomes affected. Many factors can contribute to poor sleep such as insomnia, sleep apnea, sleep paralysis, GERD, and anxiety. Unfortunately, when sleep deprivation occurs for several days, you may find yourself falling asleep at the worst possible time, such as while driving, during class or when at work. Is there any way you can learn how to sleep better at night?

How To Sleep Better
Tips On How To Sleep Better At Night

A restful sleep may be hard to achieve when you tend to toss and turn at night. This is not uncommon considering the amount of stress that we experience on a daily basis. Often our brain keeps working even while we are in bed. Not only that but our sleep habits may also be inconsistent. Poor sleep patterns not only affect our sleeping but they can also cause morning sleepiness, too. With that being said, there are several ways to sleep better every night, though it may take a while to figure out the perfect technique for you.

Stay in sync with your sleep-wake cycle

If you want to sleep better at night, make it a point to get your internal clock in sync. Your circadian rhythm (also called the sleep-wake cycle) is the internal clock that tells your body when it is time to wake up and go to sleep. The best way to restart this is to create a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at a specific time on a daily basis.

Exercise

You may scoff at the idea that exercise has anything to do with sleeping but those who incorporate a daily workout tend to feel less sleepy in the morning and sleep better at night. One study showed that regular exercise can help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea as well as insomnia because it helps you to maintain good health and promotes relaxation [1].

Reduce exposure to blue light

How to sleep better at night? Our brain can become over stimulated when we use our gadgets while in bed. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can make it difficult for us to fall asleep. If you need to check on a few emails before bed or you are using your tablet to read, make sure to use the nighttime screen setting to minimize the effects of the bright light from your gadget.

Reduced intake of caffeinated drinks

Drinking coffee or other caffeine-rich drinks close to bedtime is not recommended as this can disrupt your melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep. Since caffeine is considered a stimulant, you shouldn’t drink it close to bedtime if you have plans for sleeping. Energy drinks can also cause a disruption in both sleep cycles of NREM sleep and REM sleep [2].

Skip alcoholic drinks

Another tip to help you learn how to sleep better is to avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages before you sleep. Although alcohol can make you feel relaxed, it can increase the likelihood of sleep apnea, disrupted sleep patterns, and cause snoring during the night. Drinking alcohol may also reduce the amount of melatonin being produced by your body [3].

Expose yourself to morning light

Try to spend at least 15 minutes soaking up the morning light each day to help regulate your body’s melatonin production. The hormone melatonin helps your body differentiate between when it is time to be awake versus when it’s time to sleep. Exposing yourself to morning light and decreasing light exposure at night can help your body produce melatonin. If you want to improve your sleep, make sure to get to sleep at the same time every night [4].

Invest in a good mattress

Don’t underestimate the value of sleeping on a good mattress. Keep in mind that your bed wasn’t made to last forever, which is why, if there are lumps and bumps, you should consider shopping for a new bed. Once you find the right mattress for your needs, you can improve sleep quality in no time.

Make your bedroom conducive for sleeping

Your bedroom should be a place where you can relax and drift off to sleep easily. If your sleep environment is cluttered, too crowded or doesn’t set the right mood for rest, it will be hard to fall asleep. Revamping your space into one that induces sleep is well worth the effort, especially when it helps you to achieve deep sleep.

Meditate

If you want to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you’ll need to learn the art of relaxation. Relaxation is achieved when your mind and body are in a state of calmness, allowing you to easily power down for the day. You can play some relaxing music, diffuse essential oils or dim the lights so you will be able to focus and meditate, which can help reduce the effects of stress [5].

Create a bedtime ritual

According to the National Sleep Foundation, creating a bedtime ritual is one of the most effective ways on how to sleep better at night. This can be something as simple as powering down your gadgets at least half an hour before bedtime, playing some soft music or even reading a book. The ritual should involve habits that will make you feel calm and relaxed so that, by the time you head for bed, your mind and body will be ready for sleep.

Skip the naps

Another tip on how to sleep better is to skip nap time during the day. If you find yourself wide awake at night, it may be time to forego any afternoon naps. If you do need a power nap, take it early enough in the day so that it does not affect your sleep-wake cycle.

Do something relaxing

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, get up and go into another room. Do something relaxing such as reading a book or listening to meditative tunes until you find yourself feeling sleepy. Then, return to your bed [6].

Make a sleep diary

Do you know how many hours of sleep you get at night? Experts suggest that adults get around 7 to 9 hours of sleep but this can vary from one person to the next. Maintaining a sleep diary may help you determine if you are missing out on your much-needed sleep. Record the time you went to bed, what time you woke up, and any time you awoke and got out of bed during the night. Include in your notes how you felt the following morning. Do this for a month and then gauge your sleeping pattern. If you need to see a sleep specialist, take your diary with you.

Don’t hit the snooze button

Many of us set multiple alarms to allow extra time in bed. Although this may seem like a good practice, it can actually hurt the quality of your sleep. You may be missing out on restorative sleep which can make you feel groggy and out of sorts. Instead of hitting the snooze button, try to get up at your first alarm [7].

Take a bath

Taking a warm bath helps to increase relaxation. Why not try it on days when you feel that you are too wound up to sleep? The warm temperature and a bath bomb can help make your muscles relax to the point that you can wind down in time for sleeping.

Use visual imagery

Another technique regarding how to sleep better is to practice visual imagery or guided imagery. Visual imagery is often used in self-hypnosis. In this case, picture yourself fast asleep, starting from your head all the way to your feet. Focus on each part of your body and allow each part of your body to relax. This will set the mood for a night of relaxation and deep sleep [8].

Try melatonin supplements

Sprayable Sleep is a melatonin supplement that is applied topically about an hour before bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that cues the body to get tired. There are several supplements that you can take orally as well in the short term to establish a regular sleep pattern.

Seek snoring remedies

No matter how many relaxation techniques you try, a good sleep may still elude you if you, or your partner, snore. Determining the source of snoring is essential as it can ultimately cause greater health problems. In the short term, snoring increases the stress that comes with poor sleep. A study done by the National Sleep Foundation found that more than 90 million Americans are affected by snoring. Thirty-seven million of those are affected on a regular basis [9].

Cognitive behavioral therapy

If you want to learn how to sleep better at night and the above DIY remedies do not work, you may need to seek professional help to learn how to fall asleep. During cognitive therapy, negative thoughts are examined and challenged in order to alter unwanted behavioral patterns [10]. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to be a useful tool when dealing with insomnia caused by stress disorders or negative thoughts. By altering thoughts and subsequently negative behaviors, a person can learn valuable relaxation techniques on how to gain restorative hours of sleep.

A Last Word About How To Sleep Better
A Last Word About How To Sleep Better

There are several steps that can help you achieve a more relaxed state at night that don’t involve taking sleep medications.  However, if you find that you are still suffering from insomnia after upgrading your mattress, getting ample exercise, and developing a good sleep hygiene program, it’s time to see a doctor.

 

 

How To Sleep Better Resources:
[1]   Help Guide; How to Sleep Better, Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, Robert Segal, M.A., October 2018.
[2]   US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Sleep Quality, Sleep Patterns and Consumption of Energy Drinks and Other Caffeinated Beverages among Peruvian College Students, Sixto E. Sanchez,Claudia Martinez, Raphaelle A. Oriol, David Yanez, Benjamín Castañeda, Elena Sanchez, Bizu Gelaye, Michelle A. Williams, August 05, 2013.
[3]   Health Line; 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night.
[4]   The Sleep Doctor; How to Sleep Better: 5 Steps for Better Rest.
[5]   The Better Sleep Council; Live the Dream of Better Sleep.
[6]   National Sleep Foundation; Healthy Sleep Tips.
[7]   The New York Times; How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep, Tara Parker-Pope.
[8]   Sleep; How to Sleep Better if You’re Stressed.
[9]   National Sleep Foundation; Snoring and Sleep.
[10]   Mayo Clinic; Insomnia treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy instead of sleeping pills.

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