Good sleep is a foundation for good health and a happier frame of mind. How nice if we could all be “morning people,” and wake up every day feeling refreshed, alert, and hopeful ... ready to take on the world ... What’s that? Oh, maybe that’s NOT how we feel every day?
And, we’re not alone. Forty-five percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s inaugural Sleep Health Index™. But there are some simple tips you can take to help you sleep better.
#1 - Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time, even on the weekends. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn.
One study notes that participants who have irregular sleeping patterns and go to bed late on the weekends report poor sleep. Other studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep.
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
#2 - Morning Light Exposure
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
Try getting daily sunlight exposure or — if this is not practical — invest in an artificial bright-light sunrise simulation alarm clock
ULG Sunrise Alarm Clock Wake Up Light
#3 - Avoid Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Heavy Meals in the Evening
Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
#4 - Exercise During the Day
The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality.
It may take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.
#5 - Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes your partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring.
#6-Learn Ways to Get Back to Sleep
It’s normal to wake briefly during the night, don’t need to worry too much.
- Try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises.
- If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens so as not to remind your body that it’s time to wake up.
If you are interested in optimal health and well-being, then you should make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above.