Many things can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Social media, Netflix, a book you can’t put down, noise from outside or the other room, and the list goes on. Not getting a restful slumber every night can be bad for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s just as important as exercising and eating a balanced diet. It’s no surprise that prolonged sleep issues are linked to a wide range of chronic diseases, including depression, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
So if you find yourself tossing and turning at night or consider yourself an insomniac, think before you pop that sleeping pill or melatonin tablet. There are many simple and natural ways you can improve your sleeping habit and, more importantly, your sleep quality.
1. Keep the curtains drawn during the day
It is true that humans, much like animals, have a natural time-keeping clock. It’s called the circadian rhythm, and you should pay attention to it. If you’re working during the day, let the natural light in so you get a decent amount of exposure to bright light during the day. Doing so keeps you awake and gives you a cue when it’s time to sleep.
2. Reduce exposure to blue light at night
Watching TV or using your smartphone 2 hours before bedtime not only provides distractions. The blue light these devices emit can keep you up way past bedtime. The best thing you can do is switch off these devices before bedtime or set them to “night mode” to reduce your exposure to bright blue light.
3. Avoid caffeine past 4:00 pm
Caffeine can be a great stimulant if you need to focus on work and stay awake during the day, but once the clock strikes four in the afternoon, there’s no use getting another cup, even if it’s a latte. Make sure to schedule your last cup of coffee six hours before bedtime to avoid unnecessarily stimulating your nervous system.
4. Reduce daytime naps to 30mins/day
Naps are amazing, and they can help you give that necessary jolt when you need to have your game face on at work or school. But too much napping can be bad for your overall sleep pattern. The best time to nap is after lunch or the middle of your day. Keep your power naps down to a minimum, or at least 30 minutes. To make sure you don’t over-nap, you can set the alarm or have a coworker or companion wake you up after 30 minutes.
5. Stick to a wake/sleep schedule
Modern life has significantly altered our sleeping patterns. And, of course, for many people in mid-day or graveyard shifts, they are left with no choice but to put their circadian rhythms on mute. Regardless, it’s important to still have some semblance of routine. Set a realistic wake/sleep schedule that aligns with your work/school schedule and lifestyle and try to stick to it as much as possible.
6. Try herbal remedies
While melatonin can be a magic bullet for sleep issues, regular consumption can increase your tolerance and alter your brain’s chemicals. Take melatonin only on your worst days, and seek other natural remedies that don’t have side effects instead. These can include chamomile tea, lemongrass tea, lavender supplements, gingko biloba tea or supplements, and the like. These alternatives help with relaxation, promoting better sleep.
7. Avoid alcohol and nicotine
Alcohol and cigarettes act as both stimulants and depressants, leading to irregular mood and sleep patterns. If you’re aiming for a good night’s rest on the daily, reduce your consumption of these drugs or ditch them altogether. On top of messing up with your sleep, overconsumption of alcohol and nicotine increases your risk of developing serious chronic conditions.
8. Maintain ideal bedroom temperature
According to The Sleep Foundation, the best bedroom temperature to get a restful slumber is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). If you don’t have a thermostat in your bedroom yet, get one ASAP, as it can do wonders for your sleep and overall well-being.
9. Set up a relaxing sleeping environment
Your bedroom is your personal sanctuary or escape from the stresses of life. As such, keep anything that can trigger negative emotions and activity out. This includes your laptop, TV, tablet, smartphone (if you can), or anything that would remind you of work, school, or anything stressful. You must keep your bedroom clean and peaceful, so invest in a high-quality mattress, soothing room scents, and mood lighting. If you’re on the lookout for mattresses for sale, go for the ones with the memory foam, as it helps prevent uncomfortable back pains and awkward sleeping positions.
Follow these tips to start enjoying the best sleep of your life and noticing changes in your mood, health, and productivity.