We all have nights where sleep just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Whether you’re anxious about a big meeting the next day or you drank too much coffee too close to bedtime, poor sleep is a common occurrence.
Rather than resigning yourself to being tired all the time, why not take the time to learn the secret to getting good sleep each and every night?
The secret to a good night sleep is not some miracle drug or radical new therapy. In fact, getting a good night sleep is easier than you might imagine. Keep reading to learn why good sleep is important for your health and to receive some healthy tips for sleeping better starting tonight.
Understanding Why Good Sleep is Important
If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, you may remember feeling groggy and out of sorts in the morning.
Though many people think of sleep deprivation as a chronic issue, the truth is that a single night of poor sleep can have an impact on your daytime function. If poor sleep becomes the norm, the effects on your health and wellness can be significant.
But why exactly is good sleep important?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at the negative effects of one night of poor sleep:
- It becomes harder for you to think clearly, to make decisions, and to multi-task.
- Your body will produce more cortisol, a stress hormone.
- The hormones that control hunger and satiety may become imbalanced, leading to cravings.
- Your insulin production and insulin sensitivity changes, resulting in a rise in blood pressure.
- The immune system may become impaired, putting you at risk for viruses and infections.
- You’ll have trouble with working memory which can make you more prone to errors.
- Concentrating on tasks at work or school will be more difficult.
- Your brain will be less able to regulate emotion,and you may experience depression or anxiety.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sleep deprivation occurs when you don’t get enough sleep to feel awake and alert. This means that a single night where you don’t sleep well constitutes sleep deprivation. If you fail to get a good night sleep several times a month or multiple times a week, the negative effects can become compounded.
The consequences of poor sleep are very clear, but what is less clear is the secret to good sleep.
Let’s look at the 10 tips for better sleep that you can start implementing right away.
10 Ways to Sleep Better Every Night
While there may not be some magical formula for how to get a good night sleep, making certain changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you sleep better. Here are 10 healthy tips for sleeping better than you can start putting onto action tonight:
- Get your daily dose of sunlight. Exposing yourself to bright, natural light during the day supports your natural circadian rhythm that tells your body when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight has been shown to improve daytime energy and boost sleep quality and duration at night.
- Don’t eat heavy meals at night. Eating a meal too close to bedtime can impact the release of melatonin which might negatively impact your sleep/wake cycle.
- Limit screen time in the evening. Electronic devices like laptops, smartphones, and televisions emit blue light that can impact your circadian rhythm in a way that detracts from the benefits of natural light during the day. Blue light exposure in the evening might make it harder for you to fall asleep or to sleep deeply.
- Stop drinking caffeine earlier in the day. There’s nothing wrong with starting your day with a cup of coffee, but if you’re still drinking caffeinated beverages well into the evening, it might be impacting your sleep so try to cut it off at 3pm.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Your circadian rhythm functions in a loop, so being consistent with your sleep and waking times can improve the quality of your sleep and make it easier for you to fall asleep when bedtime rolls around.
- Optimize your bedroom for sleep. Turning your bedroom into a haven for sleep can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. The key to good sleep is to keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet so you might need to use blackout curtains and a white noise machine.
- Take a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the body’s sleep/wake cycle. If you have trouble falling asleep, studies show that taking melatonin supplements might help you fall asleep faster without the negative side effects of sleep drugs.
- Engage in a relaxing activity before bed. In addition to limiting screen time in the evening, you should also add a relaxing activity to your bedtime routine. Take a hot bath, read a book, or spend some time meditating to relax your body and mind in preparation for sleep.
- Time your workout properly. Regular exercise is a recipe for good sleep and for good health in general but avoid exercising right before bed because it might keep you awake. When you exercise in the morning or during the day, it could reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep, and you could gain more than 40 minutes of extra sleep.
- Buy a better mattress. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, the quality of your mattress and pillows could be the barrier to getting a good night sleep. A new mattress could relieve pain and stiffness to enhance sleep quality by as much as 60%.
The benefits of good sleep are undeniable. Unfortunately, you may not be able to change your sleeping habits overnight. If you take to heart the 10 tips for better sleep you’ve received here, however, you can start making positive changes that will increase your chances of getting good sleep more regularly.