Want to Get More Sleep? Stop Doing These 6 Things

Source: healthline.com

Are you tired of tossing and turning at night, desperately wishing for a good night’s sleep? If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had your fair share of sleepless nights. The good news is that you’re not alone, and there are concrete steps you can take to improve your sleep quality. If you want to learn more about the things you might be doing that are stopping you from getting enough shut eye, read on.

Ditch the Late-Night Screen Time

Source: healthline.com

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, it’s become increasingly challenging to put our devices down, especially when it’s time to wind down for the night. Many of us find ourselves scrolling through social media, watching YouTube videos, or binge-watching the latest series on streaming platforms late into the night. However, indulging in these habits can have a significant impact on our sleep patterns.

The Science: The blue light emitted by screens, whether it’s from your smartphone, tablet, or television, affects the production of melatonin which is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. When you expose yourself to this artificial blue light, your brain gets a signal that it’s still daytime, suppressing melatonin production and making it harder to fall asleep.

Solution: Establishing a digital curfew is a practical way to improve your sleep hygiene. Set a specific time, at least an hour before bedtime, to power down all your screens. You can use this time to engage in calming activities that signal to your body that it’s time to unwind. Reading a physical book, practicing gentle yoga, or having a warm conversation with a loved one can help you transition smoothly into a peaceful night’s rest.

Moderate Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

The ritual of sipping on a cup of coffee in the morning or enjoying a glass of wine in the evening is deeply ingrained in many of our lives. However, the timing and quantity of caffeine and alcohol consumption can significantly affect our sleep quality.

The Science: Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and even some medications, can keep you awake and alert. Its effects can linger in your system for hours, making it essential to monitor your intake, particularly in the afternoon and evening. Alcohol, while initially sedating, disrupts your sleep cycles, leading to frequent awakenings and less restorative slumber.

Solution: To enhance your sleep, consider consuming caffeine primarily in the morning hours. Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunchtime to allow your body to fully metabolize. Similarly, limit alcohol intake, especially during the hours leading up to bedtime. If you choose to have a drink, do so in moderation and give your body ample time to process it before hitting the hay.

Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Source: sleepmdnyc.com

Your body thrives on routines, and your sleep patterns are no exception. When you maintain a consistent sleep schedule, you’re aligning yourself with your body’s internal clock, which can lead to more restful nights.

The Science: Your circadian rhythm, often referred to as your body’s internal clock, governs your sleep-wake cycle. When you go to bed and wake up at irregular times, you disrupt this rhythm, leading to feelings of grogginess and irritability.

Solution: Choose a bedtime and wake-up time that suits your lifestyle and stick to them as closely as possible, even on weekends. By doing this, you’ll help regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Be Aware of Your Sleep Environment

The setting in which you sleep plays a pivotal role in your ability to get quality rest. A cluttered, uncomfortable, or noisy sleep environment can negatively impact your sleep quality.

The Science: A comfortable sleep environment encourages relaxation and sends signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down and rest. Conversely, a chaotic or uncomfortable space can keep your mind active and make it harder to fall asleep.

Solution: Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows that align with your preferred sleep position. Everyone’s needs are different, so take the time to find what works best for you. To create an ideal sleep environment, keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Blackout curtains can help block out unwanted light, and a fan or white noise machine can drown out any disruptive sounds. Remember, your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep so keep it as clutter-free and inviting as possible.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are common culprits behind sleepless nights. When your mind is racing with worries, it can be challenging to relax and fall asleep peacefully. You can experience muscle contractures in your upper back and neck, and even in your jaw.

The Science: Stress and anxiety trigger the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. When cortisol levels remain elevated, it becomes more difficult to fall asleep and achieve deep, restorative sleep.

Solution: Incorporating stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine can make a significant difference. Consider practicing yoga, mindfulness meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your mind and ease your body into a state of relaxation. Another helpful strategy is to keep a journal to jot down any worries or thoughts that may be keeping you awake. By addressing your concerns on paper, you can clear your mind and create mental space for restful sleep.

Watch Your Diet Before Bed

Healthy eating and taking supplements have numerous benefits, including the impact it has on your sleep quality. What you eat in the hours leading up to bedtime can significantly impact your sleep.

The Science: Consuming heavy or spicy meals before bedtime can lead to digestive discomfort, heartburn, and disrupted sleep. When your body is working hard to digest a substantial meal, it can be challenging to relax and fall asleep easily.

Solution: Be mindful of your pre-sleep meals and snacks. Avoid large, heavy meals close to bedtime. Instead, opt for lighter, easily digestible options like a small serving of whole-grain crackers with cheese or a banana. Additionally, steer clear of spicy foods, which can trigger acid reflux and discomfort when you lie down. Many people are also recognizing the benefits of taking the right sleep supplements during the day to ensure that they get everything they need for a good night’s rest.