5 Tips for Better Quality Sleep!
Do you have a lack of daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and issues with your weight?
All of these can be related to the consistent tossing and turning that everyone struggles with!
But there are simple solutions…
Making changes to your daily and bedtime routines can help control how well you sleep throughout the night!
Try out these 5 tips to find the ones that work best for you!
- Stay on top of your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Knowing how to control your body’s natural sleep and wake cycle is one of the most important ways for a better night’s sleep. If you start by having a regular sleep and wake schedule, you’ll feel so much more energetic and ready to tackle the rest of your day!
Fun fact: Your body has an internal clock! So when you go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, that internal clock will help you improve your quality of sleep!
Fact of the matter is that if you go to sleep when you aren’t really tired, you will toss and turn. If you go to sleep too late, your body’s internal alarm won’t wake you up naturally. Finding a balance is very important and it takes a little bit of time to work it out with yourself.
Did you know that sleeping in on your days off messes with your sleep schedule? Yes, it’s true. Try to avoid sleeping in on weekends. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse your body is going to feel! Let’s be honest, we all have those late Friday nights whether it’s a movie night or a night out in the city. So if you do decide to have that kind of night, try to switch it up the next day and take a nap rather than sleep in. Do yourself this favor or else it will take your sleep and wake cycle off course.
Now that we’re on the subject of naps, here are two words you should keep in mind: Smart Napping. What that means is that you should limit your naps to only 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon. Why? Napping is an amazing way to make up for lost sleep, but if you have your difficulties of falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night, then napping can be your worst enemy.
Lastly do not give into the food coma after dinner! Having a long day, you sometimes want to come home, eat, and pass out way before your bedtime. This is something that disturbs your sleep and wake cycle. Try to avoid this or else you’ll find yourself waking up at 3 AM not being able to fall back asleep. Do something slightly active such as calling a friend to chat with until you need to go to sleep, or doing your laundry, cleaning your room, etc. - anything to keep you from giving in to the food tiredness.
- Controlling the light you take in.
There is a natural hormone every person has that’s called melatonin and it helps you to either stay alert or fall asleep. Simply said: When it’s dark your brain creates more melatonin making you sleepy and when it’s light it makes less making you more alert. This is where you can try shifting the way you expose yourself to the light.
- When it is time to rise and shine, try to reveal yourself to the bright sunlight. The light on your face will help you wake up!
- When you’re taking daily lunch breaks, try to spend them outside. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break and getting that Vitamin D in the middle of your busy day.
- If possible try to open some blinds or stay as close to the window as you possibly can while working to receive that natural sunlight!
- If the last option isn’t possible, try to use a light therapy box. This mimics sunlight and can be used to keep you sharp during the dark, short winter days.
Nighttime Routines are more about avoiding the following:
- Bright screens before bedtime (blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially unsettling to the eye).
- Instead of turning on the Netflix and watching your shows until the end of time, try listening to classical music or a good audio book! Reason being that most shows are stimulating rather than calming. That is not what you need right before going to bed.
- Reading with devices that have backlight.
- Leaving any lights on in the room! Cover all of your devices, shut the blinds and prep a nice dark room to have a peaceful night of sleep.
- If you ever end up waking up during the night leave all the lights off to be able to fall back asleep. If you need to walk around somewhere to reposition think about plugging in a nightlight that has a very dim light.
- Exercise during the day
If you’re already a practicing exerciser then that’s great! You are one step ahead of the game.
Studies show that people who exercise consistently, sleep better throughout the night and aren’t as sleepy throughout the day. Not only do you get a better night’s sleep but exercise also helps with symptoms of:
- Sleep apnea
- Increases your time in deep sleep
No matter how intensely you exercise, exercising improves sleep quality.
Of course, this is one of those things that takes a little bit of time to feel the full sleep promoting effects from a consistent exercising routine. Whether it is walking for 10 minutes a day or doing Bootcamp for 45 minutes a day, you need to form a habit and the effects will come!
But timing of exercise is everything! Why? When you exercise you increase the body’s level of a hormone called cortisol. If you experience an increase in cortisol right before your bedtime, it will cause you to be hyper.
The recommendation is to try exercising at least 3 - 4 hours before you are about to, as they say “Hit the Hay.”
Best times to exercise are in the mornings or early afternoon if your schedule allows it. But if your schedule does not then good exercises to do in evening are more calming ones such as stretching or yoga.
Try these out and you’ll see your sleep pattern improve!
- Choose a healthy diet!
We don’t realize it but our daily eating habits play a big role in how well we sleep, especially before bedtime.
Some important things to keep in mind are these:
- Limit your caffeine and nicotine intake. A lot of people don’t know it but caffeine can be in your system 10-12 hours before you decide to go to sleep. No wonder some of us breathe coffee in the mornings!
- Try to avoid having big meals in the evening. Having a big meal before bed can really affect your sleep cycle. So try to avoid any large, fatty meals.
- Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages before bed. Some of us like to have that glass of wine or gin and tonic before you hit the sack but in reality it interferes with your sleep cycle once you pass out.
- Minimize your liquids. What is meant by this is when you drink too much before bed you will be bound to take more bathroom breaks aka less sleep.
- So what about the term “midnight snacks?” Some people fall asleep after eating a light snack before bedtime, others not so much. But if you do end up eating a snack try going with something on the lighter side.
- Relax and take a breather.
Stress, worry, anger from your daily responsibilities?
Take some of these steps towards helping control the amount of worry that goes through your mind at night.
Here are some ways of doing this:
- If it involves: family, school, or work you need to learn about this thing called stress management. If you take control and manage to organize your time efficiently, then life will be more calming and stress free. Be positive and don’t let life get to you!
- This next tip leads to overstimulation. If your brain is working a thousand miles an hour during the day it’s hard to slow it down once you get home. Focus on one thing at a time during your long day. Don’t let your mind wander off to different tasks, texts, phone calls, etc. and your brain will thank you!
- Some other relaxation methods to consider doing throughout your day:
- Take deep breathes when you feel stress coming
- Try doing a few minimal muscle stretches (hands, head, feet, etc.)
- Think about your happy place
- Some nightly routines that can help you relax before bedtime include:
- Reading (with not too bright of a light)
- Taking a bath with some sort of relaxing soap or incense
- Listening to calming music to help you fall asleep
- Again try a few minimal stretches to take away the tension
- Take up a relaxing hobby
- Listen to audio books
- Prepare for the next day
Feel free to let us know if these tips help you to get a better night's sleep and help you to sleep through the night! The QOL team wishes you sweet dreams!