Good sleep is important for your health, happiness and productivity.
It’s recommended to sleep at least 7 hours each night for optimal health and well-being. But 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.
There are some lifestyle changes you can implement to help you sleep better. Sleeping better will also help you to wake up easier.
Here are 9 tips to help you sleep better by making some healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Have a wind-down routine
Our bodies aren’t meant to switch from awake to sleepy in a minute. They’re meant to gradually wind down.
You’ve been stimulated and alert all day. So it takes some time to wind down and relax, to prepare your body and brain for sleep.
Start your wind-down routine at least an hour before you go to bed. Stop using screens, dim the lights and do some relaxing activities. Such as, taking a bath, reading a book, meditate, do yoga or anything else that relaxes you.
After a while, your brain will get used to the pattern. It knows: bedtime routine = time to sleep. Which will make it easier to fall asleep.
2. Turn off screens and dim the lights an hour before going to bed
Melatonin is a hormone and plays a big role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Your melatonin levels rise in the evening to promote sleep.
Naturally, your melatonin release is similar to the day-night cycle. But artificial light interferes with this cycle negatively – especially blue light from your phone and laptop.
Your body has a harder time understanding it’s becoming night, so it releases less melatonin, thus making you less sleepy.
To increase your melatonin levels, dim the lights in the evening and turn off screens an hour before sleep.
We’re wasting our lives away on our phones and it’s not doing us any good. Do a phone detox so you can take back control over your phone and live IRL again.
3. Don’t drink alcohol the night before
Although a drink might make you feel sleepier, alcohol actually impacts the quality of your sleep.
Alcohol reduces REM sleep, leaving you to have a restless night of sleep. As you won’t get well-rested, it is harder to wake up.
At most, stick to just 1 drink a few hours before bedtime.
4. Eat better
A healthy diet increases your energy throughout the day and helps you sleep better.
Food that is generally considered unhealthy makes you feel sluggish. Its digestion strains your body, especially if you eat too close to bedtime.
You don’t have to go all out, over-the-top healthy – avoiding unhealthy food is a good start. Home-cooked meals also help.
Get a PDF with 40 dinner recipes in the Resource Center. Meal planning makes it easier to fit cooking into your lifestyle.
5. Don’t eat too close to bedtime
As mentioned in the previous point; don’t have dinner too close to bedtime, especially heavy meals.
It takes some time to digest food. It’s harder to fall asleep when your body is still actively digesting.
Eat your last meal 3-4 hours before going to bed.
6. Only use your bed for sleep
Train your brain to be asleep in bed. Especially if you have a hard time falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night.
Stop watching TV, working, internet-browsing, etc. in bed. Use your bed only for sleep (and intimate time, which can also help you fall asleep faster ;-)).
Your brain needs to make the connection that “bed means sleep”.
7. No late-afternoon naps (or later!)
20-minute power naps can be great. But avoid napping in the late afternoon or even later because it makes it harder to drift off in the afternoon.
If you have real troubles falling or staying asleep, avoid naps altogether.
8. Read 10 minutes before sleeping
A study by the University of Sussex showed that 6 minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%! That is more relaxing than a cup of tea or music.
This decrease in stress clears your mind and gets your body ready to sleep.
Reading is not only stress-reducing but has many other benefits such as improving your focus, better writing and better memory.
What are you waiting for? Pick up a book and start reading 10 minutes (or more if you get the hang of it!) tonight.
9. Hydrate during the day
Many people don’t drink enough water during the day. When you’re not well-hydrated, you will feel more tired and might get a headache.
Being hydrated doesn’t only make you feel better, it also makes your body work better and sleep better.
If you tend to forget to drink, fill up a large water bottle. Keep it with you and drink from it throughout the day.
Let’s get started with sleeping better
If you don’t yet, you should start making your sleep a priority. Not getting enough sleep negatively affects your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity and weight.
I hope these tips will help you sleep better soon!
Also, check out this post with tips on how to wake up easier and have great mornings.