If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do. We've outlined 7 tips that may help improve your overall quality of sleep and hopefully help you get back into your sleep routine.
For many people, trying to implement all these strategies can be overwhelming. But remember that it’s not all-or-nothing; you can start with small changes and work your way up toward healthier sleep habits.
1. Turn off your devices!
Exposure to screens and devices that emit blue light can be damaging depending on the time of day you're using these devices. Evidence shows that if you're using your cell phone or watching tv before bed that it actually tricks your brain into thinking it's still day time. Also, the light that is emitted from these devices actually affects the body's natural production of melatonin.
Unplug and relax without your devices for at least an hour before you head to bed. This will give your brain a chance to relax and will help improve your quality of sleep as well as improve how long it takes for you to actually fall asleep!
2. Avoid that late night snack.
Rule of thumb for eating meals at night: if it's after 7:30pm, don't do it. Snacks are one thing, but avoid junk food and full meals in particular. If you're eating a healthy snack before bed, you're most likely not ruining your sleep patterns and healthy snacks like fruit, oatmeal, or vegetables, may actually improve your sleep quality (in moderation, of course).
If you find yourself reaching for chips, ice cream, or other dessert or junk foods before bed, you may want to re-think your choice.
Eating a high-carb meal 4 hours before your desired bed time is optimal to improve sleep quality and will actually help you fall asleep faster.
3. Consistency! Go to bed at the same time each night.
If you're consistent with bed times and waking times, it can benefit your long-term quality of sleep.
Going to bed late on weekends and sleeping in on Saturdays but waking up at 6am for work on weekdays can really throw off your sleep schedule more than you think. If you consistently go to bed around the same time and wake at the same time each day, eventually, your internal clock will kick in and you'll be able to wake up in the morning without even using an alarm clock!
4. Try to limit those mid-afternoon naps.
Short, 20 minute power naps may be beneficial, but its those hour long or more afternoon naps that are really throwing off your sleep schedule.
If you rely on an afternoon nap, try shortening it to a half hour or less.
5. Exercise regularly (just not at night!)
Actively exercising and being active during the day definitely plays a part in your sleep quality and duration. Do your best to get active throughout the day, whether it's scheduling a workout or going for a walk. Just try not to partake in any intense exercise close to bedtime because it may hinder your body’s ability to effectively settle down before sleep.
6. Dim your lights.
Avoiding bright light can help you transition to bedtime and contribute to your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Try dimming your lights, or switching from your regular lights to a smaller lamp, at least half an hour before bedtime.
7. Try adjusting your vitamins and supplements.
There are supplements that you can take that may improve your quality of sleep. The most well known one is Melatonin, Melatonin helps to naturally regulate your sleep cycle, so adding this into your bedtime routine may help to improve your quality of sleep.
You may also see an improvement if you take L-Theanine or 5-HTP. L-Theanine has been shown to improve concentration and relaxation and 5-HTP may help to actually shorten the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
All of these supplements are available in a bundle in our Better Sleep Care Box.
If you're still having trouble with sleep, talk to your doctor. Your doctor is in the best position to offer advice for those with serious difficulties sleeping. Talk with your doctor if you find that your sleep problems are worsening, persisting over the long-term, affecting your health and safety (such as from excessive daytime sleepiness), or if they occur alongside other unexplained health problems.