Poor sleep can have negative effects on your physical, emotional, and mental health. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re susceptible to weight gain, reduced brain function, and increased disease risk. On the other hand, getting enough sleep can boost cognitive function, help you feel more alert, and give you more energy throughout the day. If you want to get a good night’s sleep, here are five tips to promote better sleep.
While exposure to light during the day can have positive effects on your health, nighttime light exposure can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, reducing melatonin production and delaying sleep. When exposed to blue light—the light that’s emitted from your smartphone and computer—your sleep can dramatically be affected. Either stop using screens at least two hours before bed or install a blue light blocker on your phone that can shield you from this type of light.
When consumed late in the day, caffeine can stimulate your nervous system and prevent you from naturally relaxing at night. Since caffeine can stay in your blood for six to eight hours, it’s probably not a good idea to sip on some coffee after mid-afternoon. If you’re really craving a cup of coffee, go for a decaffeinated option. Similar to caffeine, alcohol can increase symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring and disrupt sleep patterns. Because of this, try to avoid consuming alcohol before bed.
Finding 20–30 minutes every day to work out has the potential to help you fall asleep faster. Working out helps the body produce endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and improve the ability to sleep at night. Even if you have a jam-packed schedule, go for a short walk after work or try out a yoga class with a friend.
To create the most optimal sleep environment, address factors such as noise, temperature, and other external stimuli. External noise, like traffic or yelling, can cause poor sleep. Buy a white noise machine to cancel out these disruptive sounds. In addition to external noise, you’ll also want to regulate any indoor noise pollution. Repair appliances that create rattling sounds, opt for a sunrise clock instead of an alarm clock, and buy a sound-absorbing rug for your room. Regarding temperature, try to keep your room at 60–67 degrees—this is the optimal temperature for a good night’s sleep.
Whether you like to curl up with a good book before dozing off or would rather take a warm bath and practice meditation, keep your bedtime routine consistent. Relaxation techniques before bed have shown to improve sleep quality and treat insomnia. Try a few different methods over the course of a week and find a routine that works best for you.