Reduce your exposure to light in the evening
Reduce your exposure to light in the evening.
Exposure to light can prevent the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy! Switch off all lights and screens at least an hour before bedtime.
Consider wearing blue-light blocking glasses (or just do so if you wear glasses) in the evening as well. These are really helpful as they block out artificial blue light that is emitted by screens, which can inhibit melatonin production and trick our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. One study found that people who wore blue-light blocking glasses for six weeks had significantly higher levels of the sleep hormone melatonin than those who didn’t.
Turn your bedroom into a sleep haven
There are few things better than crawling into a freshly made bed after a long day. And there are few things worse than waking up the next morning feeling like you haven’t slept at all. If you’re tired of waking up lethargic and groggy, it’s time to make sure your bedroom is set up for prime sleep conditions. Follow these guidelines to transform your bedroom into a true sleep sanctuary:
- Make sure the temperature of your room isn’t too hot or cold. A study by NASA found that 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature range for most people to get restful sleep. Experiment with what works best for you and have control over your thermostat by using portable space heaters, fans, extra blankets, etc., if necessary. This can help ensure that even if there’s a drastic change in weather outside, you’ll still be able to get a good night’s rest.
- Keep your room dark throughout the night. Even exposure to small amounts of light from an alarm clock or phone screen can affect your body’s production of melatonin (the chemical that tells your body when it’s time for sleep). You can also opt for blackout shades or an eye mask if 100% darkness isn’t possible in your current living situation
Stick to a regular schedule
Sticking to a regular schedule is one of the best ways to improve your sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you stay consistent and go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day, your body will become used to that schedule and sleep better as a result.
Even if you don’t feel tired in the morning, set an alarm for a similar time on Saturday and Sunday as you would during the week. While sleeping in feels nice, it can make it harder for you to get good sleep at night.
- It improves your sleep. Exercise affects your serotonin and endorphins, which help you feel happy and calm. Additionally, according to a study conducted by the Sleep Medicine Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, people who exercised for 20 minutes three times per week reduced their time spent lying awake by 65 percent. However, it’s important to note that people sleep best when they exercise at least six hours before bedtime;
- It can reduce stress levels. Stress is one of the main causes of poor sleep—so getting in a bit of exercise can be an effective way to decrease feelings of anxiety (which can also help you relax more easily).
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get about 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days (at least five days per week), but giving yourself just 15 minutes or so each day will still provide many benefits to your overall health and quality of sleep. When it comes to exercising at night, try doing light stretching or yoga instead; these activities will calm you down without raising your heart rate too much. This can be especially helpful if stress is keeping you up!
Get plenty of sunlight during the day
An important part of your internal clock is the light-dark cycle. Your circadian rhythm controls when you feel sleepy and when you feel awake.
Sunlight helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Light exposure during the day can help keep your circadian rhythm in sync, while darkness boosts production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Getting plenty of sunlight during the day may also improve the quality and duration of your sleep at night.
Here are tips to help increase your daily light exposure:
- Get outdoors as much as possible — especially in the morning.
- Increase your indoor light exposure by opening blinds or turning on lights if you’re indoors most of the time (for example, if you work at night).
- Spend more time around front-window tables when eating out or working at cafes.
Eat well, but not too close to bedtime
The number one thing to remember when it comes to food and sleep is this: don’t eat too close to bedtime. It’s best if you can avoid eating anything for two hours before you go to bed, but if that sounds too difficult, try your best not to eat anything for at least an hour before bed.
Things that help with sleep:
- A balanced diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein (such as meat or fish), in addition to dairy products like milk and cheese. Avoiding saturated fats—the kinds of fat found in takeout foods like pizza and burgers—will also help you get a better night’s rest.
- Avoiding spicy foods, caffeinated beverages (including coffee), alcohol, or nicotine. All four of these can disrupt your sleep by causing reflux or indigestion while you’re lying down at night
Wind down before bedtime
Sleep experts recommend setting a routine or ritual for yourself every night before bed. The goal of this pre-bedtime routine is to get you into a sleepy, relaxed state. Your routine might include brushing your teeth, washing your face, applying some moisturizer, turning off the lights in the other rooms of the house and lighting a few candles, dimming all of the lights in your bedroom and turning on an aromatherapy diffuser (lavender can help you fall asleep), reading a book for 20 minutes or listening to some soothing music.
If you aren’t used to having any kind of routine before bed, this process might feel strange at first—but over time it will become second nature and really help you out when it comes to getting enough sleep!
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Even though it may seem like a tasty nightcap or a delicious morning wake-up, alcohol and caffeine can affect the quality of your sleep. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks past noon to avoid interrupting your midnight slumber. Also, wait at least an hour after drinking before bedtime, with only 1–2 drinks as the guideline for maximum consumption in one sitting. Alcohol may make you sleepy initially, but it can disrupt deep sleep later on in the night. If you find yourself waking up early in the morning without being able to fall back asleep, this could be a sign that you’re consuming too much alcohol!
These simple steps done consistently will improve your sleep
Sleep is important, and consistency is important. These simple steps, done consistently will improve your sleep.