Learning how to sleep better is a lifelong goal for many, especially those who struggle with insomnia, concentration issues or sluggishness throughout the day. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), sleep deprivation is an issue that affects seven to 19 percent of all U.S. adults. Moreover, those who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, asthma and depression. In order for your body to perform at its highest potential, you need at least seven hours of quality sleep per night.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of getting a better night’s rest. Easy and inexpensive sleep remedies such as drinking tea or taking a sleep-promoting supplement a few hours before bed can help you to fall asleep more easily, while maintaining a regular sleep schedule can help to regulate your body’s internal clock. Check out the 10 sleeping tips below to learn more about the different steps you can take to sleep better each night.
Tip 1) Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
When learning how to sleep properly, it is important to think about the amount of caffeine you consume throughout the day, as caffeine can greatly affect your ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly throughout the night. While caffeine is typically not harmful in small amounts, MedlinePlus recommends drinking less than 400mg of caffeine per day to reduce your chances of suffering from insomnia in the evening.
If you do consume caffeinated beverages throughout the day, cut yourself off by 2 p.m. to give the caffeine plenty of time to wear off before you go to bed at night. If you need a caffeine boost to get yourself through the afternoon, opt for a cup of green or white tea instead. You may think of tea as a natural sleep remedy, but most green or white teas contain between 15- to 45-mg of caffeine per serving. Therefore, you should avoid drinking caffeinated teas too close to your regular bedtime.
Tip 2) Cut Down on Long Naps in the Daytime
Before using natural sleep supplements to fall asleep at night, you may be able to fall asleep more easily by cutting back on daytime naps. If you do nap during the day, aim to do so between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m., and nap for no longer than 20 minutes.
Tip 3) Try to Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
If you are wondering how to sleep better at night naturally, try maintaining a regular sleep schedule by waking up and going to bed at the same time each day, even on the weekends. If you insist on sleeping in on the weekends, give yourself no more than one or two extra hours in bed, as anything longer could disrupt your body’s sleep schedule for the rest of the week.
Tip 4) Take Natural Sleep Supplements
Taking a natural sleep supplement several hours before your bedtime can help you to fall asleep more easily, as many over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are useful and non-habit forming. These sleep-promoting supplements include melatonin, valerian and chamomile. However, supplements typically take several hours to become effective, so you will need to plan accordingly.
Additionally, many sleep-promoting teas are also available for you to try, including Yogi Bedtime Herbal Tea and Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Tea. You can also experiment with other sleep-promoting remedies, such as chamomile or valerian root tea.
Tip 5) Improve Your Bedroom Environment
One of the easiest home remedies for good sleep is improving the environment you sleep in. To create the perfect sleeping environment, keep your thermostat set to a cooler temperature of between 60 and 67 degrees, and begin to dim your lights about an hour or so before your bedtime. To reduce any outside noises that could distract you from falling asleep, run a fan or use a sound conditioner.
Tip 6) Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Consuming food or excess fluids in the evening can affect your ability to sleep soundly throughout the night. While a small snack may not affect you, many studies show that consuming larger, high-fat meals near your bedtime can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Additionally, eating large meals before bed can disrupt your digestive system, and you may experience symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn.
While most sleeping tips advise against eating in the evening, consuming certain types of food later in the day can help you to sleep better at night. The best types of food for good sleep include the following:
- Complex carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat crackers or popcorn
- Almonds and walnuts
- Bananas, cherries and kiwi
- Fatty fish
Tip 7) Take Some Time to Clear Your Mind Before Bed
When you’re in bed wondering how to get to sleep when you can’t, you may start to feel anxious and begin to think about the day’s events. However, practicing mindfulness meditation before bed can help you address these thoughts before you turn out the lights. Studies show that practicing just 20 minutes of mindfulness per day can help you to relax and address any negative thoughts that may affect your ability to sleep well at night.
Tip 8) Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
One simple sleep remedy includes taking a relaxing bath or shower before bed. A hot shower can help to soothe sore muscles or a tight neck, while a calming bath filled with Epsom salts can help you unwind after a stressful day. To experience the best results, take a 20- to 30-minute bath or shower about two hours before your bedtime.
Tip 9) Exercise Regularly
If you’re wondering how to sleep better at night, incorporating regular aerobic exercise into your daily life may be just the thing you need. Some studies show that regular aerobic exercise can help to reduce symptoms of insomnia about as well as sleeping pills can. However, exercising within two hours of your bedtime can have the opposite effect on sleep, so it’s best to exercise earlier in the evening if possible.
Tip 10) Reduce Your Exposure to Blue Light in the Evening
When learning how to sleep properly, you’ll hear a great deal of information about blue light and the negative effects it has on the human body. Not only can the blue light from your cell phone screens and other electronics disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, but some studies also link blue light to chronic disease.
To reduce the negative effect that blue light may have on your ability to sleep at night, stop looking at your cell phone screen at least two hours before heading to bed. Alternatively, some light-filtering applications such as Iris, Twilight and Night Shift can help to neutralize the blue light on your electronic devices.