This article is written by contributing writer Dr. Brent Wells.
A good night’s sleep is really beneficial for you – but it’s not always easy to get. If you struggle with falling asleep and you’ve tried every remedy in the book (even counting sheep!), we’ve put together a list of 13 ways for you to get high-quality sleep at night. We hope these recommendations will help you create a sleep-friendly routine to get better zzz’s.
1. Take in the sunshine
One common issue with getting to bed is lighting. During the day – especially in the morning – it’s important to be exposed to sunlight. Natural light helps awaken your natural sleep-wake cycle. By taking in the sunlight every morning, you’ll be more likely to get sleepy at the right time at night. If you don’t have good natural light in your home, try creating a morning routine that involves going to the park or jogging in your neighborhood, so that you start your day with natural sunlight.
2. Block blue light
On the other hand, blue light – which comes from screens on TVs, cell phones, tablets, etc. – is proven to keep you awake at night. Try to cut your screen time about two hours before bed so that blue light doesn’t keep you up. If you have a TV in your bedroom, it’s a good idea to move it to another room. You can also invest in blue-light blocking glasses so that during the day you’re not exposed to blue light either.
Food & Drink
3. Cut caffeine, alcohol and tobacco
All three of these compounds – caffeine, alcohol and tobacco – can affect the quality of your sleep. Generally speaking, caffeine keeps you awake longer, alcohol wakes you up during the night and tobacco can keep you up and affect the quality of your breathing patterns. Be sure to watch food labels for “hidden” caffeine in your food as well. Maybe try some Turmeric Curcumin as an alternative?
4. Watch what you eat at night
Try not to eat heavy meals at nightime. A good rule of thumb is to eat at least two or three hours before bed. You can also try to make your dinnertime meal lighter than your lunch, so that you have an easier time digesting before bed. Avoiding late-night snacks is also a challenge for some. If you get the late-night munchies, go for something easy on the stomach, such as fruit or oatmeal.
5. Optimize your bedroom
Optimizing your bedroom means making it as comfortable as possible. This means keeping it at a cool temperature, blocking any distributive noises, keeping the lights down and arranging the furniture so that you feel calm. If loud sounds are keeping you up at night, invest in a white noise machine or simply add a rotator fan to your room to block excess noise.
6. Get a comfy mattress and pillow
Your mattress, pillow and bedding should be comfortable. A high-quality mattress has been shown to improve sleep for study participants. Invest in a good mattress that isn’t too soft and use a pillow that keeps your neck in a neutral position. If you’re worried about dust or mites, you can also seal your mattress to avoid any allergies or bacteria entering your bed. Be sure you’re also sleeping in an optimal position for your back to avoid pain at night.
7. Protect your bedroom
Another key to getting good sleep is to protect your bedroom. Don’t use your bed for watching TV, reading or working. Only use your bed for sleep and/or intimacy. In addition, try to keep your pets out of bed, which can affect your sleep and get bacteria in your bedsheets. Protecting your bedroom from distraction is key.
8. Stick to your sleep schedule
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can be challenging. However, it’s a good idea if you want to make getting to sleep easier. Try to stick to your sleep schedule and make few exceptions to it. For example, avoid daytime naps after 3:00 p.m., which can make you feel more awake at nighttime. In addition, if you don’t get enough sleep during the week, don’t try to make it up over the weekend. It’s better to keep to your schedule than to make up your “sleep debt.”
9. Track your sleep
Keeping a sleep log can be a great idea to find out what works better for your sleep. There are plenty of good sleep mobile apps out there that help track how much sleep you’re getting and allow you to make notes about your sleep quality. Tracking your sleep can help you understand what’s contributing to your sleeplessness, and make it easier for you to find solutions.
10. Create a bedtime routine
Your bedtime routine should get you ready for great sleep. You can exercise during the day so that your body is more tired and relaxed for sleep at night. In addition, try going to the bathroom before bed to avoid waking up because you need to go. Create a routine full of relaxing activities so that your body and mind are ready to hit the sack.
11. Find relaxing bedtime activities
Screen time isn’t the only relaxing activity. Instead, try listening to a podcast, enjoy relaxing music, read a book, meditate or journal. These activities – and more – are great ways to find relaxation at night to keep your body calm and to prepare your mind to quiet down. You can also try taking a hot bath or shower at night, which is shown to help relax your muscles for sleep.
12. Postpone your stress
If you struggle to sleep at night due to stress, find ways to postpone your thoughts until the next day. One good way of doing this is to write down a to-do list before bed, or journal what’s bothering you. By writing these things down, you’ll be more likely to empty your mind and feel ready to sleep.
13. Turn away your alarm clock
If you’re having a hard time getting to sleep, the worst thing you can do is look constantly at the clock. Face your alarm clock away from your line of vision. If you use your cell phone as an alarm, be sure to keep it out of reach so that you don’t find yourself surfing online in the middle of the night instead of sleeping. Creating this buffer will help you relax, instead of thinking about how late it already is.
We hope our 13 tips will help you get to sleep easier! If you continue to have trouble sleeping at night, you can also consider seeing a chiropractor. A chiropractic clinic – such as Better Health Chiropractor Wasilla – can help you get relaxing massage therapy and any adjustments so that your body and mind are more prepared for deep sleep.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab. He became passionate about being a chiropractor after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers.