If you’re like many Americans, falling and staying asleep every night may be somewhat of an Odyssey. Studies have shown that 68% of Americans struggle with falling asleep at least once a night, while 27% experience restlessness most nights.
A poor night’s sleep can affect everything from your cognitive to your physical health and is a surefire way to lower your overall quality of life. But if you struggle to count sheep every night, what can you do?
Keep reading to learn about ten easy ways to improve your sleep quality.
- Get More Light During the Day
Most people have heard about their body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock. Its job is to regulate your body, brain, and hormones, and helps tell you when it’s time to go to sleep.
When you get enough sunlight exposure during the day, your body has no problem knowing when it’s time for bed. You have more energy during the day, as well as better sleep at night.
Problems start to occur when you don’t see the sun or bright lights enough during the day. You put yourself at an increased risk of developing insomnia, as well as experiencing restless nights.
Make sure that you get your daily dose of bright lights, whether from the sun or a special light, to ensure that you sleep soundly at night.
- Stay Away From Blue Light at Night
While bright lights are good during the day, they’re bad at night. Blue light in particular can impact your ability to fall and stay asleep.
Blue light tricks your brain into believing that it’s daytime, and therefore not bedtime. Your body then fails to produce the melatonin it needs to lull you to sleep, leading to restless nights spent tossing and turning.
All of the electronic devices, including your phone, TV, and computer, emit blue light. If you use them before bed, try switching them off for at least an hour before trying to sleep.
Instead of scrolling on Reddit or watching a TV show right before bed, consider reading a book. Reading is a great, blue-light-free way to tire out your eyes (provided the book in question isn’t an eBook).
- Be Aware of the Effects of Caffeine
Are you a coffee addict? If you are, quitting might be out of the question, but you should at the very least be aware of how caffeine might be affecting your body.
Studies have shown that caffeine can stay in some people’s bodies for six to eight hours. That means that if you have a cup at 5 PM before dinner, you might end up feeling the effects of it until after midnight.
Avoid drinking coffee late in the day, and if you can’t help yourself, switch to decaf. You won’t notice a difference in taste, but you might suddenly find it easier to sleep at night.
Remember that certain types of tea are also caffeinated.
- Nap on a Schedule
For many people, naps are more than just a way to recharge—they’re a way of life. While one is asking you to give up your beloved afternoon snooze, try your best to stick to a napping schedule whenever possible.
Napping for long periods of time at irregular intervals messes with your circadian rhythm. This can lead to problems with sleep later on at night.
If you need to nap, try to limit it to no more than 30 minutes. This is enough time to rest and recharge for a bit, but not enough to affect your sleep at night.
Experts also say that the best time to nap is right after lunch. If it’s nearing 4 PM and you feel tempted to lie down, try your best to resist. Waiting until night to sleep might leave you to feel better rested the next day.
- Be Consistent With Your Sleep Schedule
Your body’s circadian rhythm runs on a schedule, and when you disrupt that schedule, sleep problems can occur.
If you go to bed at 10 PM one night and 1 AM the following night, your body might struggle to know when it should actually begin preparing for sleep. You might feel tired early on, or you might not feel tired at all until later in the night.
By sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, you help relay to your body when it’s time to begin the wind-down process. If you struggle with getting out of bed, set an alarm each morning to get you up. You might find that you don’t need it after a couple of weeks.
- Consider Taking a Supplement
If you’ve tried everything and can’t seem to stick to a healthy sleep schedule, consider turning to supplements for health. Melatonin chews are one popular option that many people take that can lead to a drastic difference in sleep quality.
As mentioned, melatonin is the hormone in charge of your sleep and wake schedule. When you take it in the form of a supplement, you help tell your body when it needs to sleep.
To begin taking melatonin, take between 1-5 mg around a half hour before you go to sleep.
Depending on which country you live in, you may need a prescription. Regardless of whether or not you need one, remember to talk to your doctor before you begin taking it.
- Avoid Alcohol
If you’re like many people, the weekend is a time to rest in the day and drink alcohol at night. While alcohol is a depressant that can make you drowsy, it can still have a negative effect on your sleep.
Studies have shown that alcohol can lead to many negative sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea, snoring, and irregular sleep patterns. It also switches up your body’s production of melatonin, which can affect your sleep schedule days after the party ends.
If you do drink alcohol, try not to do it close to when you go to bed. Remember to also stay hydrated as you drink to prevent the effects of alcohol from lingering for too long.
- Sleep in the Right Environment
While some people may be able to fall asleep anywhere, most would agree that the environment you sleep in plays an important role when it comes to falling asleep.
As mentioned, the room you sleep in should not have any bright lights. It should also be quiet, with both outside and inside noise kept to a minimum.
Experts have also found that keeping an alarm clock next to your bed can have a negative impact on your sleep. Doing so encourages you to look at it throughout the night, which means restless nights spent checking the time every 30 minutes.
- Set the Temperature
Another important environmental factor that determines your sleep quality is the temperature of the room you’re sleeping in.
Many people can struggle to fall asleep in warmer environments, especially if there’s a lack of airflow. If your room feels like a sauna or the Sahara Desert, crack a window, turn on a fan, or buy an air conditioner.
Most people find that the ideal bedroom temperature is somewhere around 70 degrees. Setting your thermostat around there should help you get a dreamy night’s sleep.
Just remember that some people have different preferences when it comes to temperature. 70 degrees may seem like a recipe for sweat to some, while others might consider it to be freezing.
- Try to Clear Your Mind
In our chaotic modern lives, stress and anxiety are everywhere, especially in 2020. Problems and stressors from the day can make their way into your bedroom and mind, preventing you from falling asleep.
If you consider yourself to be stressed, do whatever it takes to relax for a bit before bed. Studies have shown that high levels of stress and anxiety can make falling asleep tricky.
For some people, this means lighting some candles and taking a shower or bath. Others spend time using different skincare products or meditating. Whatever it is for you, make sure to make time for unwinding at the end of every day.
Don’t Let Your Sleep Quality Suffer
If a lack of sleep has held you in its clutches for as long as you can remember, know that there is an escape route. By following the tips laid out in this guide, you’ll be able to improve your sleep quality and get the good night’s rest you crave in no time.
Do you now have a better idea of how to improve sleep quality? If you do, remember to check out some of our other posts for more guides and tips on how to live your healthiest and happiest life.