The quality of your sleep has a significant impact on your health and all aspects of your life. It can affect relationships, productivity, exercise habits, mood, metabolism, hormone production, and spiritual practice. Learning how to improve sleep quality is one of the best things you can do to become healthier, happier, and more successful in your endeavors. Here are our top tips to help you sleep well.
1. Avoid Caffeine in the Late Afternoon
When we don’t sleep well, we often experience a dip in energy after lunch, and it is a natural reaction to reach for a caffeinated beverage. However, consuming caffeine in the afternoon can affect your quality of sleep that night. It can also cause insomnia and prevent you from falling asleep at an appropriate time.
Caffeine remains in your system for many hours after consumption. Along with its stimulating effects, it causes an increase in stress hormones, which can result in anxious feelings when you are trying to relax into sleep.
2. Do Not Exercise Before Bed
You may have learned that exercise can benefit sleep if you have researched how to improve sleep quality. While regular exercise does help, it is not beneficial to do a vigorous workout before bed. Exercise stimulates the body, increases circulation and release of toxins, none of which help induce sleep. If you feel the need to exercise in the evening, ensure it is a few hours before bedtime. Or, try a relaxing yoga sequence instead.
3. Limit Naps
Power naps can help us to get through a particularly tiring day, but they can also disrupt nighttime sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try eliminating your daytime snooze, especially during the afternoon.
4. Improve Your Sleep Environment
The environment where you sleep can have a big effect on your sleep quality. Elements like temperature, noise, light, and comfort can make a difference. Ensure that your room is not too warm or too cold. 60-67 degrees is the ideal temperature. If noise is an issue, for example, a snoring co-sleeper, get some earplugs or move somewhere else to sleep, if possible.
Use blackout blinds if light leaks into your room from an outside source like a streetlamp. Finally, your mattress and pillows need to be comfortable and supportive. Sleep experts recommend you change your mattress every ten years.
5. Wind Down with a Bedtime Ritual
A key point in learning how to improve sleep quality is practicing a soothing bedtime routine. Choose things that help you feel relaxed and calm, such as reading, a warm bath with lavender essential oil, meditation, soft music, or a hot caffeine-free drink. Begin your sleep ritual at the same time each night – this helps train your brain to expect sleep and to regulate your body clock.
Avoid using computers and smartphones at least an hour before bed, as the blue light they emit disrupts melatonin production. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your body when the sun goes down to help you fall asleep. You can try taking a melatonin supplement during your bedtime ritual if you have an especially hard time sleeping.