Experts recommend 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep per night for adults to maintain optimal health. But the truth is that many of us don’t get the sleep we need on a regular basis.
Lack of sleep and poor sleep are all too common, which might not seem like a major concern, but insufficient sleep is linked to a variety of mental and physical health issues.
If you find yourself feeling exhausted in the morning more often than not, it’s time to put some tips for better sleep into practice. Read on to learn how to improve your sleep habits and your health in the process.
1. Stay in the Light During the Day
The key to developing positive sleep habits is to get your circadian rhythm as close to perfect as you can. This is your body’s internal clock, telling you when to sleep and when to be alert. If this rhythm is out of whack, you’re going to feel tired during the day and restless at night.
One of the best ways to tune this rhythm is through light. Both sunlight and bright indoor lights are signals to your brain that you should be awake.
Increasing your exposure to light during the day will help you to feel more energized throughout the day and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep come nighttime.
2. Avoid Light Exposure Before Bed
Continuing with the idea of building a healthy circadian rhythm, you should limit your exposure to light as bedtime approaches, especially blue light. This is the light emitted by electronics such as your television and cellphone.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to sit in the dark for hours before bed. The goal is to avoid tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime.
To do this, dim the lights an hour or two before bed. You should also stop watching TV and put your phone away to reduce blue light exposure.
3. Nap the Right Way
Energy levels aren’t static. Instead, we experience it in waves throughout the day, and each person’s energy wave is unique to them. That said, the afternoon slump is very much a real thing, and when this hits, it can be tempting to curl up for a nap to re-energize.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a power nap, but long, irregular naps can do serious damage to your circadian rhythm and quality of sleep. Rather than taking a long afternoon nap, rest your eyes for 30 minutes or less.
This might sound like it won’t make a difference but it will actually leave you feeling more energized and mentally sharp than a long nap would.
4. Skip the Afternoon Coffee
Who doesn’t love a big cup of coffee to start the day? Indulging in caffeine is a great way to kick your body and mind into high gear, increasing both your mental and physical performance.
With that in mind, caffeine should be avoided in the afternoon and evening hours. Caffeine stays in your bloodstream for 6-8 hours, meaning drinking an afternoon coffee can severely disrupt your sleep. If and when you enjoy a hot beverage in the afternoon, stick to decaf.
5. Create a Sleep Schedule and Stick to It
To get the most out of your time spent asleep, you need to have a sleep schedule. Humans are creatures of habit; the more regimented your sleep routine, the better you’ll sleep.
Aim to go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day. It’s okay to have a 30-minute window rather than an exact time, but anything more than that should be avoided.
Weekends shouldn’t be used as an excuse to break your sleep schedule, either. If at all possible, your schedule should stay consistent seven days a week.
6. Make Your Bedroom Sleep-Friendly
To sleep peacefully, you need to optimize your bedroom for sleep. The optimal temperature for sleep is about 65-degrees Fahrenheit. This can vary slightly from person to person but staying in the 60-degree range is ideal.
In addition, your bedroom should be as quiet and dark as possible. If you feel uncomfortable sleeping in total silence, consider investing in a sound machine or using your phone to play white noise.
Other bedroom additions such as black-out curtains and alarm clocks that don’t emit artificial light can provide further benefits.
7. Consider Sleep Supplements
If you’ve tried everything else on this list and still find it difficult to fall or stay asleep, it might be time to consider sleep supplements. Relaxation supplements such as chewable melatonin gummy vitamins can help signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep.
That said, you shouldn’t rely on supplements entirely. They should be taken in conjunction with positive sleep habits such as relaxation techniques and following a sleep schedule.
It’s also important that you consult your physician before introducing any new supplement to your routine. They’re safe for most people but aren’t for everyone. The last thing you want to do is put your health at risk in your quest for sleep at night.
Improve Your Health With These Tips for a Better Sleep
Poor sleep can have serious adverse effects on both your mental and physical health. If exhaustion is the norm for you, these tips for better sleep can help you sleep soundly and improve your quality of life in the process.
Positive sleep habits are the foundation for good health. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel after just a few nights of 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
Interested in learning more about improving your health with positive lifestyle habits? Take a look at our blog!