A good night’s sleep is essential for optimum functioning and your well-being. Sleep can improve your memory (as most long-term memory is consolidated while you sleep), and can improve your immunity. It’s also vital for lowering your blood pressure and can significantly boost your mood. A night of good sleep is not just a luxury, but a necessity for your physical and mental health.
If you regularly find yourself tossing and turning in your bed, and staring at the ceiling as you struggle to fall asleep, you’re not alone. In fact, according to various studies and estimates, around 30% of the adult population has trouble falling asleep. Insomnia is a prevalent issue especially in older adults and can be attributed to lifestyle factors. Some people might turn to sleep pills to cure their insomnia, but these drugs are associated with a number of harmful effects. Here are some natural tips that can help you get better sleep at night.
Avoid Caffeine in the Evening
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee and tea that can keep your brain awake. Coffee consumption is popular, especially in America, where 64% of adults are said to drink it almost daily. No wonder insomnia is in epidemic proportions in the United States, with around 40% of Americans reporting they don’t get adequate sleep at night.
While having a cup of coffee might be absolutely essential to your daily routine, experts recommend avoiding caffeine intake at least for 7 hours before you go to bed. This would mean you should skip that evening cup of coffee if you want a good night’s rest. You don’t need to ditch your coffee intake altogether. Just make sure that the time you choose to have it doesn’t disrupt your night’s sleep.
Invest in Comfortable Bed and Blankets
Having a comfortable bed is an absolute must if you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep. You could try all you want, but like the princess who had a pea under her mattress, an uncomfortable bed makes the process of falling asleep much harder. That is why investing in a comfortable mattress and blanket essential for a peaceful sleep. A cozy blanket can make all the difference, and now weighted options are available that are said to improve sleep. Weighted blankets were previously marketed for people with ADHD, autism, anxiety, and insomnia and were found to significantly improve sleep. Now they’re becoming an increasingly popular choice for anyone who wants a stress-free cozy night’s sleep.
Exercise is an excellent way to improve the quality of your sleep. As physical activity tires you out, and also significantly lowers stress and improves mood, falling asleep becomes easier after a day of workout. While there’s still some debate about which time of the day is best for exercise, there is a general consensus that exercise should be avoided at least two hours before you go to bed. This is because exercise can sometimes over-stimulate your brain, making falling asleep a lot harder. Physical activity is also said to boost the effectiveness of the sleep hormone melatonin. With all the good evidence pointing towards the many benefits of exercise for good sleep, it would be a good idea to try it out.
Avoid Screens Before Bedtime
While you might be tempted to browse through Instagram or check your text messages before going to bed, it’s actually a really bad idea. The National Sleep Foundation has warned against using any form of screens before bedtime as they emit blue light. Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone, and this can interfere with the quality of sleep. A screen detox beginning 2-3 hours before you go to bed will significantly improve your sleep. You can also try installing blue-light-blocking apps on your smartphone.
Avoid Heavy Meals Near Bedtime
Night-time snacking might be hindering your sleep. It is recommended that no heavy meals should be consumed near bedtime as a heavy stomach can cause trouble falling asleep. Problems such as indigestion and heartburn due to acid reflux can make a nighttime sleep uncomfortable. Also, late-night meals are linked with obesity and other health problems. So try to avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Your last meal of the day should be at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.
Healthy adults need around 7-9 hours of sleep daily, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep is important for our body’s health, and getting less than recommended sleep can cause problems like diabetes, obesity, depression, and low immunity. The tips mentioned above can help you fall asleep faster, and will also improve the quality of sleep you get every night. If you still have trouble falling asleep, consult your doctor as you might have an underlying health issue (like sleep apnea, GERD, or restless leg syndrome) that can be disrupting your sleep.