10 Effective Tips To Sleep Better At Night – Discover The Facts
Do you know that a lot of people find it difficult to sleep better at night because of one thing or the other? But, it is very important to sleep at night, so that your brain and your body can relax.
A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function.
It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better, and be healthier.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep.
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.
10 Evidence-Based Tips To Sleep Better At Night
1. Don’t Drink Alcohol
Having a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
Another study found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions.
2. Don’t Eat Late In The Evening
Eating late at night may negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin.
That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.
In one study, a high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster.
Interestingly, one study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs aren’t always necessary, especially if you’re used to a low carb diet.
3. Get A Comfortable Bed, Mattress, And Pillow
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel.
Apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also affect sleep.
One study looked at the benefits of a new mattress for 28 days, revealing that it reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60%, and back stiffness by 59%. It also improved sleep quality by 60%.
Other studies point out that new bedding can enhance sleep. Additionally, poor quality bedding can lead to increased lower back pain.
The best mattress and bedding are extremely subjective. If you’re upgrading your bedding, base your choice on personal preference.
It’s recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.
If you haven’t replaced your mattress or bedding for several years, this can be a very quick although possibly expensive fix.
4. Don’t Drink Any Liquids Before Bed
Nocturia is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. It affects sleep quality and daytime energy.
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vital for your health, it’s wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try to not drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed.
You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.
5. Exercise Regularly — But Not Before Bed
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health.
It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia.
One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night.
In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18%.
Although daily exercise is key for a good night’s sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems.
This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
However, some studies show no negative effects, so it clearly depends on the individual.
6. Take A Relaxing Bath Or Shower
A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better.
Studies indicate that they can help improve overall sleep quality and help people, especially older adults, fall asleep faster.
In one study, taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and improve sleep.
7. Don’t Consume Caffeine Late In The Day
Caffeine has numerous benefits and is consumed by 90% of the U.S. population.
A single dose can enhance focus, energy, and sports performance.
However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality.
Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.
If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee.
8. Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm.
It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep.
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%.
A similar study in older adults found that 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80%.
While most research involves people with severe sleep issues, daily light exposure will most likely help you even if you experience average sleep.
Try getting daily sunlight exposure or if this is not practical invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
9. Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep.
These factors include temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement.
Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues.
In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
10. Try To Sleep And Wake At Consistent Times
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality.
One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep.
Other studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep.
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
Sleep plays a key role in your health.
One large review linked insufficient sleep to an increased risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults.
Other studies conclude that getting less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re interested in optimal health and well-being, it’s recommended that you make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above.