Getting good sleep is extremely important for your overall health. Here are some tips to help you sleep better at night.
1. Avoid blue light at night.
Did you know that light is what makes your body produce melatonin, the hormone that tells your body when it's time to sleep? Blue light, which is a particular type of light produced by the sun, suppresses melatonin production. But our electronic devices also produce lots of blue light which is why a lot of people are finding it harder and harder to go to sleep at night.
So if you are like most people and you watch TV before going to bed or you spend a lot of time on your phone, try turning that stuff off a few hours before bedtime. It can be hard to get into that kind of routine but it's worth it in the long run. You'll start falling asleep easier and faster.
Some people can't bring themselves to part with their devices though so if that's the case, you might want to consider installing a program that will decrease the amount of blue light your device emits at night. Some newer devices automatically do this but if yours doesn't, you can install something like Flux.io.
If you live in an area where light pollution is a problem you might try buying some blackout curtains or using a sleep mask.
2. Make sure your bedroom isn't too hot or too cold.
People also overlook the role of heat when it comes to sleep. But if your body temperature is too hot or too cold, you won't sleep very well. Your bedroom should be slightly cool. You want to lower your core body temperature but you don't want to be cold or uncomfortable.
3. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol is a depressant and at first, it seems to help people fall asleep. But the effect wears off after a few days and will have a negative impact on your quality of sleep. It's best to avoid it after dinner.
4. Don't drink caffeine in the evening.
Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain which increases alertness. This is the opposite of what you need when you're trying to fall asleep. It's best to avoid consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime since it can stay in your system for a while
5. Maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
Most people function best when they have a regular, set schedule. If you wake up and go to sleep around the same time every day this can help your body and mind stay on track. It can be tempting to sleep in on the weekends when you don't have anything important to do, but in the long run, it'll just mess up your circadian rhythm and you'll regret it.
6. Avoid doing other activities in the bedroom.
You should try to use the bedroom for sleeping. It might be tempting to spend extra time in bed reading or watching TV, but that just confuses your subconscious mind when you're in there. But if you only use that room for sleeping then the message is pretty clear and you'll go to sleep much easier because you won't be tempted to do other things.
7. Try a magnesium supplement.
Most people don't usually have a magnesium deficiency but a lack of it can cause abnormal neuronal excitations that cause impaired sleep. So taking a magnesium supplement or adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet could help you sleep better.
8. Try a melatonin supplement.
If you've tried all these tips and you're still struggling to go to sleep, then it might be worth trying a melatonin supplement. It can be taken orally and you can buy it over-the-counter without a prescription. It can help with insomnia, reduce sleep latency, and improve sleep quality. It's also been known to fight jet lag in travelers. And it's important to note that based on research it doesn't seem to affect the body's own production of melatonin.
It's somewhat controversial because of the lack of studies and research, but many people swear by the scent of lavender. Many people say they find it very relaxing and they say it helps promote sleep. If you've tried everything else and nothing has worked, buying a lavender scented oil or candle to put in your room at night certainly couldn't hurt.
Examine.com. Ten tips for better sleep. Accessed at https://examine.com/nutrition/ten-tips-for-better-sleep on Sept. 14, 2018.
Healthline.com. 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better At Night. Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better on Sept. 14, 2018.