Getting quality sleep is essential for overall health, well-being, and productivity. Poor sleep can have a serious and lasting impact on our physical and mental health, leaving us feeling cranky, sluggish, and drained of energy. It can also negatively affect our memory, concentration, creativity, problem-solving abilities, emotional regulation, and decision-making skills. Studies have linked poor sleep to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression symptoms, and anxiety levels. So, if you have trouble sleeping, here is what you can do.
Sleep plays an important role in regulating our emotions, too; lack of quality sleep increases irritability while impairing our ability to focus on positive thoughts leading to increased levels of stress and depression symptoms. It helps us stay resilient when facing adversity or challenging times in life by providing much-needed breaks for our minds, so we are better able to cope with life circumstances.
And while most people are aware of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, many have difficulty falling and staying asleep regularly. So, what can we do to get better quality sleep? Here are some helpful tips:
Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays, will help your body’s internal clock regulate your sleeping patterns. Having an established routine that you follow before bedtime can also be beneficial. However, this is often easier said than done. In today’s world, where our lives are busier than ever and the temptation of watching one more show or scrolling through social media until late at night is ubiquitous, it can be difficult to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Establishing realistic goals that you make an effort to achieve every day is key. Even if you can’t manage to stick with your routine every day, any amount of consistency can make a difference in the long run.
Reduce Exposure to Blue Light
Blue light, which is emitted from electronic devices like phones and computers, can disrupt our circadian rhythms by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us fall asleep. To reduce exposure to this type of light before bedtime, try to limit your usage of electronic devices at least an hour or two before you go to sleep. If you need to use them in the evening, try wearing blue-light-blocking glasses, which can help filter out some of the detrimental effects of this type of light. You can enable the “night mode” setting on your smartphone or tablet to reduce the amount of blue light emitted.
Take Time to Unwind
Although it’s important to establish a regular sleep schedule and limit exposure to blue light, it is also essential to create an environment where you can relax. Taking time before bed for activities such as reading or meditating can help you transition into sleep mode more easily. Other ideas include taking a warm bath or shower, using lavender oil on your pillowcase, or drinking some herbal tea. You may also try CBD gummies to aid sleep and when taken as recommended, they can help you achieve a night of more restful sleep. Anything that helps you feel relaxed and brings down your stress levels can help improve the quality of your sleep. Experiment with different techniques and find out what works best for you.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Late at Night
Both caffeine and alcohol are stimulants that can interrupt our sleep cycle if consumed too close to bedtime. Caffeine is known for its ability to increase alertness and mental clarity, but it can also increase anxiety levels and make it harder to fall asleep. Similarly, while alcohol can help us relax and induce sleepiness at first, its effects are short-lived, and it can lead to frequent awakenings in the middle of the night. So try to avoid having these beverages too close to your bedtime. And if you do end up drinking coffee or alcohol, make sure to also drink a glass of water for every drink you have to make sure you stay hydrated. This will also prevent any morning headaches.
Regular physical activity is important for our overall health, but it can also help with sleep. Exercise can reduce stress levels and increase the time we spend in deep sleep. Even just a few minutes of aerobic exercise can significantly improve sleep quality. When planning your workouts, it’s best to avoid exercising too close to bedtime as this can lead to an increase in body temperature, which may make falling asleep more difficult. Aim to do light stretches or yoga poses at least an hour before bedtime so that your body has enough time to relax afterward. Also, try to stick with the same exercise routine to ensure consistency.
Try to Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary
Creating an ideal sleep environment can make falling asleep easier. Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet, as these are all important factors contributing to a peaceful night’s sleep. Invest in blackout curtains if necessary, or even use an eye mask if needed. Many people also find that using a white noise machine or a fan can help mask any outside sounds that could potentially disrupt sleep. If possible, try to remove all electronics from your room and focus on making it a place of relaxation and comfort. This will help your body recognize when it’s time for bed and assist you in achieving quality sleep.
Seek Help if Necessary
If you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep despite trying the strategies we mentioned, consider talking to your doctor. They can help you identify any underlying issues that are causing difficulty sleeping and suggest potential treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or medications. These could help you reset your sleep schedule and improve the quality of your sleep. And the best part is most of these treatments don’t require too much effort or time. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance—remember, a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall well-being and should never be taken for granted.
Remember that everyone’s experience with sleep is different, and it may take some time to figure out what works best for you. However, these tips can serve as a great starting point for improving the quality of your sleep and achieving better overall health. With a few changes to your routine, lifestyle, and environment, you can be well on your way to achieving the quality of sleep that you deserve.