It’s undeniable that a well-rested night contributes highly to a productive day. Unfortunately, we know all too well that multiple things can prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of things you can do to finally achieve that much-needed shut-eye for a great day ahead. Here’s our list of tips to sleep better at night!
1. Use a comfortable mattress
Your sleeping problem may stem from something as simple as your bedding. Hence, now might be the time to invest in a quality mattress, especially if yours is sagging or causing you body pain.
Mattress technology has really evolved from the usual spring type. Nowadays, the variety of mattresses includes latex, memory foam, hybrid, gel, innerspring, and more.
2. Start exercising daily
Been putting off exercising? It can actually help promote better sleep, so no more excuses!
Just start slow at first—exercising doesn’t mean clocking in 2 kilometres of running or walking each day. If you don’t want to head outside, you can do sit-ups, squats, jump rope, and so on.
And if you’re really having a hard time sticking to an exercising habit (we’ve all been there) but you’d like to get serious at it, why not try contacting a personal trainer?
A personal trainer can help you stay on track to achieving your fitness goals by helping you develop self-discipline and keeping you motivated.
3. Lessen blue light exposure
While there are other ways to minimise our exposure to blue light from our gadgets, it might still be best to just establish a “no screen time rule” 2 hours before bed.
After all, scrolling through your phone is usually detrimental to promoting sleep, with all the news, entertainment, and information we’re getting online.
4. Take care of mental health
For many people, sleeping difficulties are the result of anxiety, stress, and such. We usually give importance to our physical health, but what about our mental health?
Take note, taking care of yourself is not something you should feel guilty about. By taking charge of your mental and emotional well-being, you’ll be able to better care for the people around you and be productive at work as well.
5. Create an evening routine
Having an evening routine helps prepare your mind and body for sleeping. There’s no formal rule on how to come up with one—feel free to be creative about it!
The idea is to craft a routine that will help you relax and wind down. Here are some tips:
- Read a book
- Light some scented candles or add essential oils to a diffuser—some oils to try include lavender, chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, and clary sage.
- Drink chamomile tea or warm milk (no caffeinated drinks such as coffee)
- Journal your thoughts—what’s bothering you, what happened today in the office, at school, at home, etc.
- Listen to relaxing music such as piano or violin, rain sounds, lullabies, etc.
- Relax in a hot bath
6. Use a comfortable mattress
Once you have a comfortable bed or mattress, it is paramount that you use it only for sleep. Dr. Candice Seti, an insomnia treatment clinician at The Insomnia Therapist, reminds that our bed should be the one thing we connect closest with sleep and sleepiness. “When we use our bed as a place to watch
TV, pay our bills, make phone calls, play with our kids, or any other sort of wakeful activities, we end up changing that connection,” she said. “Instead of looking at our bed as a cue for sleepiness, we now associate the bed with wakefulness!” Hence, it is advisable that you limit the use of your bed to sleeping. This will make your bed a string cue for sleep.
7. Do not Force Yourself to Sleep
If you cannot sleep, stop trying. As said by Kathryn Tipton, co-founder and therapist at Houston Center for Valued Living, “Spending excess time in bed not only weakens your sleep drive, but also teaches our body that the bed is a place where we lie awake and worry or feel frustrated.” Sleep must be an involuntary process, and we should simply leave our body to do its thing.
8. Take in sleep-inducing food
Not many people may know, but your diet can impact the quality and quantity of sleep you are able to get. Food with melatonin, for example, has been proven to help tremendously with getting better sleep. As affirmed by Trista Best, a dietitian at Balance One Supplements, “Eating foods that contain natural melatonin right before you are ready to attempt sleep can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.” Almonds, walnuts, and bananas are prime examples of food rich in melatonin.
You may also want to try taking in food rich in magnesium. According to Lisa Richards, nutritionist at The Candida Diet, “Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant which can help the body and mind wind down before going to sleep.” Magnesium is commonly found in avocados, nuts, and even tofu.
9. Get some Vitamins
As advised by Amy Archer, a dietitian nutritionist and author at Wellness RD, more important vitamins are the B vitamins. “Vitamin B6 is involved in many pathways in the body,” she said. It helps with cognitive function and may help with sleep. Vitamin B12 likewise helps in regulating the circadian rhythm. Examples of food containing these vitamins are spinach, bananas, milk, eggs, and fish.
Vitamin D has also been found to improve sleep. Unlike most vitamins, Vitamin D is classified as a hormone and its main source is from the sun. Hence, Vanessa Osorio, a certified sleep coach at Sleepopolis, recommends regularly spending your time outdoors. “Exposure to natural light helps keep your circadian rhythm regulated,” she said. “You can do this by sitting outside, going for walks or simply opening up the blinds or curtains to let the light shine in throughout the day.”
10. Do Breathing Exercises
Another great way to get better sleep, and relax your body a lot quicker is with some breathing exercises. “Breathing exercises are perfect for going to sleep as they are designed to clear your head and take you into a state of relaxation,” said Ben Warren, CEO and founder of Stress Reliever Club.
As recommended by Ben, the easiest breathing exercise to try would be box breathing. For this exercise, you should be lying on your back, with your eyes closed. Simply breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and hold that for 4 seconds. Repeat this for as long as you want while focusing only on your breathing.
11. Fill your room with white noise
One of the most common sleep disturbances is unwanted noise such as cars driving by and dogs barking. Sam Hildreth, a sleep content specialist at Mattress Nerd, recommends having white noise to drown out those unpleasant and disrupting sounds. “[White noise machines] like a fan or air conditioner, or even free phone apps can produce a ‘mask’ of sound to cover up the nighttime disturbances and ensure you receive your 8 hours,” she said.
12. Darken your room
It would be helpful to darken your room. Sleep is much easier when done in a clam, restful, and dark environment. “Switch off all kinds of lights, unplug phone and notebook chargers, darken your room,” said Tommy Pederson, health enthusiast and author at Vekhayn.
And that concludes our list of tips to sleep better at night! Hopefully, whatever is causing your sleeping problems are just minor issues.
However, sleeping problems could also be due to an underlying health condition, as explained by Healthline. For such problems, it’s always best to contact a professional.
You can check out our top picks for doctors in these articles: