Top 10 Habits for Better Sleep
Like any skill, sleep improves with good habits. And the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
So, with sleep being the most important determinant of our physical and mental performance and overall wellbeing, here are 10 habits that will help you sleep better.
1. Establish consistent sleep and wake times.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule—even on weekends—maintains the timing of the body's internal clock and can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily.
2. Reduce your caffeine intake.
Caffeine consumption can make you fall asleep later, sleep less hours overall, and make your sleep feel less satisfying. It can also reduce the amount of deep, slow-wave sleep you get, which is a critical stage of sleep for feeling refreshed the next day.
3. Avoid using electronic devices close to bedtime.
The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day.
4. Exercise regularly.
Recent research indicates that exercise decreases sleep complaints and insomnia in patients. The effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appear to be similar to those of sleeping pills.
5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
It’s best to stop eating about three hours before going to bed so that digestion doesn't interfere with your sleep, but leaves a small enough window before sleep that you won’t go to bed feeling hungry.
6. Wind down before bedtime.
Winding down at night can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, lower heart rate, and help establish the proper mindset for better sleep.
7. Slip into your sleepwear 30+ minutes before bed.
Dawning your sleepwear at least 30 minutes before getting in to bed gives your body and mind the queue that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
8. Create a comfortable sleep environment.
Studies have shown people simply sleep better when their bedroom is optimized for light and noise levels, temperature, and comfort. And since sleep quality and duration are directly tied to other aspects of human health, a bedroom environment that promotes sleep can also improve how you feel while you're awake.
9. Take a warm bath or shower before bed.
Health News Research suggests a warm bath or shower an hour or two before bedtime can help you unwind and fall asleep faster. Why? It will help lower your core temperature, and that's a circadian sleep signal.
10. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
Since alcohol can reduce REM sleep and cause sleep disruptions, people who drink before bed often experience insomnia symptoms and feel excessively sleepy.