- 23 Oct - 29 Oct, 2021
HEALTHY HABITS TO HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
- 21 Aug - 27 Aug, 2021
- health & nutrition
Some people simply sleep better. They just snuggle into bed and are out cold in a few minutes – or even a few seconds. While that's great for them, many people are always on the hunt for how to sleep better, because they either struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.
A full night's sleep is essential to our health and well-being. And while you might assume that your current sleep habits are firmly ingrained, as with any habit, there are certainly ways to change and improve them (with a little persistence, of course). So, if you regularly have trouble getting a full night of sleep – whether your issue is getting to sleep, staying asleep, or some frustrating combination – read on for how to sleep better using these science-backed and expert-approved strategies.
Stick to a consistent sleep/wake schedule
We all have busy lives, and it's often tough to get to bed at the same time every day. That said, keeping a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule is the number-one recommendation from numerous sleep experts. It's critical to keeping your circadian rhythm in sync, and should even be practiced on the weekends. This self-regulation is a major solution for how to sleep.
If your sleep schedule is currently all over the place, the best way to start working toward a consistent and healthy pattern is to wake up at the same time every single day. Your body will gradually start to adjust itself and follow suit to get sleepy at the same time every night.
Get enough daily sunlight exposure
Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Experts urge to go outside for at least 30 minutes for a daily fix of natural light. Sleep experts recommend that, if you have problems falling asleep, you should get an hour of exposure to morning sunlight and turn down the lights before bedtime.
Unplug before bed
If you want to ensure a deeper sleep and fewer racing thoughts after lights out, however, you need to power off phones, TVs, computers, and tablets at least one hour before bedtime. The blue light stimulates the brain and keeps you alert, so I ask people to try to shut their screens down early. If you must use a device at night, use blue blocker glasses to filter out some of your screens' wakefulness-inducing light waves.
Get yourself a comfortable bed
You can't sleep well if you aren't comfortable – period. Investing in a great bed ensures you're getting the comfort and support you deserve every single night.
Exercise daily, but not too close to bedtime
You know that working out is good for your overall health, but it can also improve your sleep quality, particularly if you work out in the morning, or at least earlier in the day. Evening workouts are definitely okay too, but should occur two to four hours before bedtime to give your body time to cool down before you go to sleep.
Resist napping after 3 pm
Sleep cycles are truly cycles. If you get a bad night's sleep, squeezing in a nap to take the edge off can certainly help. Unfortunately though, indulging in a nap too late in the afternoon can make it harder to fall asleep at night, and can give you insomnia. If you can't get a nap in before 3 pm, your best bet is to power through and go to bed a little earlier that night.
Turn on some white or pink noise
Light sleepers will wake up at the drop of a hat – or the sound of a spouse rolling over. Try any kind of soothing background noise, like a fan, to muffle the other sounds. You can even purchase a white noise machine, which experts use to sleep better.
Don't stay in bed if you can't sleep
This is a complicated rule rooted in psychology. If you've been in bed for more than, say, 30 minutes and can't drift off to sleep, don't lie there and stew. Counterintuitively, you're supposed to get up and do something relaxing, like reading, journaling, light stretching, or meditating (no phones or TV please!). Remaining in bed while anxious about your inability to sleep will only create negative associations between bed and sleep, which can even lead to the vicious cycle of insomnia. Your bed should be a sanctuary for sleep not a trap for tossing and turning.
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