If you’re finding it difficult to get a good night’s rest, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep. Following these six tips can help you change your unhealthy habits and create a routine that promotes quality sleep.
1. Turn Off Your Phone and TV
Although it can be tempting to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite TV show or see what your friends are up to on social media, spending too much time on electronic devices before bed can wreak havoc on your sleep quality. Studies have shown that electronics emit blue light, which blocks your body’s melatonin production and interferes with its ability to fall asleep. Melatonin is a hormone that’s responsible for promoting restful sleep and is therefore essential for getting a good night’s rest. Try reaching for a book or crossword puzzle if you’re in need of some entertainment before bed.
2. Sleep Naked
It may sound strange, but sleeping naked is actually a great way to fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. Your body is wired to lower its temperature at night to aid in falling asleep, so sleeping naked can speed up this process by lowering your temperature more quickly.
Additionally, a recent study discovered that one of the most important factors in achieving a good night’s rest is the temperature of your bedroom. Many people wake up in the middle of the night because they’re overheating. Therefore, sleeping naked is a great way to stay cool and enjoy an uninterrupted night of sleep. In addition to these advantages, some other benefits of sleeping naked are an increase in male fertility, improvement in skin health and a reduction in anxiety and stress.
3. Avoid Caffeine
Although caffeine has been shown to increase focus and energy, it’s best not to consume it late in the day. Caffeine blocks melatonin production, which can prevent your body from winding down and preparing for sleep. One study found that consuming caffeine six hours before bed decreased sleep time by one hour, as it can stay in the blood for six to eight hours. Therefore, it’s best to stay away from caffeine about six hours before bedtime. If you’re craving a cup of coffee at night, opt for decaffeinated instead.
4. Don’t Eat a Heavy Meal Before Bed
Eating a heavy meal before bed can disrupt your sleep, as your body increases its metabolism to aid in digestion. Additionally, consuming heavy foods without giving your body time to digest can cause acid reflux or heartburn, which are common reasons why people wake up in the middle of the night. Even if you don’t normally suffer from indigestion after eating a large meal during the day, lying down after eating a big meal at night can cause digestive discomfort. If you have a case of the late-night munchies, go for a lighter snack, such as nuts or yogurt.
5. Stick to a Consistent Bedtime
Because your brain is wired to wind down a few hours before bed, it’s best to stick to a consistent bedtime. This will train your brain to naturally feel tired when it’s getting close to bedtime and begin to wake up when it’s close to morning. You may find that after sleeping and waking at consistent times, you won’t even need to set an alarm anymore because your body’s circadian rhythm will take over.
6. Avoid Vigorous Exercise
Although exercising regularly can help you sleep better at night, performing it too late can actually do the opposite. Exercising at night has been shown to increase your body temperature, heart rate and adrenaline levels, therefore making it harder for your body to wind down and fall asleep. If you opt for light exercise, it’s best to finish at least two hours before bed to prevent sleep interference.
If you’ve been having trouble getting quality sleep lately, swapping out your existing habits with these six helpful tips can help you get the good night’s sleep you need.