15 Tips to help improve Sleep Quality
A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.
For both adults and children, it can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk
A good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier.
Both sleep quality and quantity has declined in the last 10 years due to stress and lifestyle factors. Many people regularly get poor sleep. If you want to optimise your health or lose weight, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are 15 Tips to help improve Sleep Quality
1. Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm.
It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep.
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. If you have average sleep, daily light exposure will most likely help improve it.
You can achieve this by getting daily sunlight exposure or, if this is not practical, invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but night time light exposure has the opposite effect, due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep.
Blue light is emitted in large amounts from electronic devices like smartphones and computers.
There are several methods you can use to reduce night time blue light exposure. These include:
- Wear glasses that block blue light
- Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
- Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
3. Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if large amounts are consumed in the late afternoon or evening
A single dose of it can enhance focus, energy and sports performance, however, when consumed late in the day, the stimulation of your nervous system may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
Caffeine can stay elevated in the blood for 6–8 hours. Consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed can significantly worsen sleep quality Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not
4. Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps
While short “power naps” have been proven beneficial (maximum 20 minutes), long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal body clock, meaning you may struggle to sleep at night.
5. Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid in sleep quality in the long-term.
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in a habit of waking up and going to bed at a similar time each day and night. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
6. Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that signals your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed.
A melatonin supplement is an extremely popular aid to fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. It may be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster.
A melatonin supplement is an easy way to improve sleep quality and fall asleep faster. Take 1–5 mg, 30–60 minutes before heading to bed.
7. Don’t Drink Alcohol
Drinking a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
8. Optimise Your Bedroom Environment
To optimise your bedroom environment, try to minimise external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, cool, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place. Avoid having a television in the bedroom.
9. Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also impact sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or when on vacation, it can be very hard to get a good night’s sleep when it’s too warm.
Around 20°C, seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, although it always depends on your preferences and what you’re used to.
10. Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Late-night eating may negatively impact both sleep quality and the natural release of growth hormone and melatonin. Allowing 2 to 3 hours to eat before bed.
11. Relax and Clear Your Mind in the Evening
Relaxation techniques before bed help improve sleep quality and are are a great technique to help treat insomnia.
There are many strategies you could try, including listening to relaxing music, reading a book, deep breathing and visualization. A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better. It can improve sleep quality and help people fall asleep faster.
Test different methods and find what works best for you.
12. Rule Out a Sleep Disorder
An underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems.
One common issue is sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing. People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. This condition may be more common that you think. Other common medically diagnosed issues include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in shift workers.
If you’ve always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to speak to a doctor about it.
13. Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and Pillow
Your bed, mattress and pillow can impact sleep quality, joint pain and back pain. It is recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.
14. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health.
It can enhance all aspects of sleep, and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia.
Although daily exercise is key for a good night’s sleep, performing it too late in the day may also cause problems falling asleep for some people.
This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine or adrenaline.
15. Don’t Drink Any Liquids Before Bed
Nocturia is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. It affects sleep quality and daytime energy.
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vitally important, it is wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try not to drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed.
You should also make sure to use the bathroom right before going to bed, which may decrease your chances of waking in the night.
Take Home Message……
Sleep plays a key role in your health. Insufficient sleep & quality of sleep increases risk of obesity.
Studies have shown less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you are interested in optimal health and well-being, then you should make sleep a top priority in your life.