05 Sep How to Sleep Better, and For Longer, Starting Tonight
Wondering how to wake up in the morning feeling well-rested, alert and energetic? Start by taking a look at your daily routine. The way you treat your body during the day has a direct effect on how you sleep at night. Your sleep and health go hand in hand, so if you want to know how to sleep better, it’s important to learn how to have a healthy lifestyle now.
Your Guide on How to Sleep Better
Start by Getting Up and Moving More
Regular exercise is beneficial to your overall health and wellness as it keeps your weight in check, keeps your heart strong, and relieves stress. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise can also improve sleep issues. In a study from the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal, a sample of more than 2,600 men and women found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week improved sleep quality by 65%. Study participants who regularly exercise said they felt less sleepy during the day than those with less physical activity. One study author noted that the scientific evidence points to the fact that regular exercise may serve as an alternative to sleep-inducing medications.
Working out anytime is great, but some sleep experts recommend exercising in the late afternoon. This is because a lower body temperature is key to being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. During exercise, your body temperature rises and and it can take 3-6 hours to begin to drop. You need a cooler body temperature for sleep onset, so as your temperature starts to drop a few hours after exercise, you’ll start to become sleepy and be more ready to fall asleep when bedtime comes.
Introduce Your Body to Better Nutrition and Eating Habits
Eating foods high in saturated fat can cause heartburn and interrupt your sleep cycle. If you want to start living healthy and sleeping better, reach for foods that promote sleep, like those with high levels of unsaturated omega three which increases production of melatonin. Foods such as salmon, chia seeds, and soybeans are high in omega 3, so try to incorporate them into your diet as a snack or with dinner.
A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are low, it makes it hard to stay asleep. Since you’re working on how to sleep better, integrate magnesium-rich bananas, black beans, and yogurt into your nutrition plan. Yogurt, as well as other dairy products, is also rich in calcium which helps the brain use tryptophan, which triggers sleep-inducing melatonin, so make it a bedtime snack, and you’ll be drifting into dreamland in no time.
Cut Out Caffeine and Alcohol Late in the Day
If you like to stop at Starbuck’s on your way home from work, try switching to a smoothie. The Academy of Sleep Medicine found that caffeine consumed even six hours before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep, so if you’re going to have it, try to consume it in the morning or early afternoon.
Many of us like to have a glass of beer or wine to wind down at the end of the day, and it doesn’t seem like that causes any sleep issues – at first. While alcohol does induce sleepiness and can help you fall asleep, it will interrupt your sleep cycle throughout the night. So if you’ve been having symptoms of sleep deprivation, cut out the night-cap and reach for a cup of chamomile tea instead.
Dive deeper into caffeine: “The Effects of Caffeine on an Exhausted Mind and Body.“
Make Time to Ease Your Mind
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re probably extra stressed since sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on our emotions. Not surprisingly, a survey by American Psychological Association found that getting at least 8 hours of sleep leads to less stress and in turn, better sleep.
But we all know it’s impossible to fall asleep with a lot on our minds. That’s why it’s important to take time for relaxation by reading, meditating, doing yoga or journaling – whatever it takes to make you feel at ease when you lay in bed at night.
Knowing How to Sleep Better Isn’t Everything
If you still can’t sleep despite making some of these lifestyle changes, it might be time to consider buying a new mattress. It’s not necessary for you to wake up in pain, to feel your partner move all night long, or to have to toss and turn just to get comfortable enough to sleep. A new mattress could be just what you need in order to drift into an uninterrupted night of rest.
To help you better understand exactly what type of mattress you’re looking for, check out this post: “What to Look for in a Mattress for You and Your Partner.”
A Quality Mattress for Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep is only as good as your mattress and the elements that accompany it. Explore this buying guide to learn about the importance of quality sleep and how to find the right system.