Are you tired of feeling sleep-deprived or exhausted throughout the day? Do you toss and turn for long periods of time before falling asleep? Well, you are not alone. According to a new study in the Centers for Disease, more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. We’ll discuss ways to help you sleep better, have more energy and be more productive throughout the day.

How can I get Better Sleep?

Many people don’t realize how much your daytime habits and lifestyle choices contribute to restless nights. Loss of sleep can adversely affect your immune system, creativity, vitality, memory, mood, weight, and overall health. Altering just a few things in your daily life could help you sleep better at night and improve how you feel during the day. 

Tip 1: Pay attention to your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

One of the most important changes you can make to sleep better is to get in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). You will wake up feeling more refreshed and energized if you keep to your natural sleep-wake schedule. Even if you get the same amount of sleep but at different times or if you alter your sleep schedule just by an hour or two, you feel a difference.  

  • It’s important to go to sleep and wake up at the same time. This also includes the weekends. By doing this, actually helps set your internal clock and will increase your quality of sleep. If you set a bedtime when you normally start to feel tired, it will prevent tossing and turning. If you are waking up before your alarm, chances are you are getting enough sleep. If you are constantly relying on your alarm clock, you may need to change your bedtime. If you have a late-night, opt for a nap the next day instead of sleeping. This will keep you on a healthy sleep schedule.
  • Take naps earlier in the day. Napping can be a great way to catch up on your sleep. However, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping will only make things worse. If you are going to take a nap, make sure it is earlier in the day and for only 15-20 minutes.
  • Fight the urge to go to sleep earlier than normal. If you start to feel drowsy in the evening long before your bedtime, you’ll want to get up and move around. Whether it’s doing the dishes, taking a walk, or folding laundry, you will be able to keep to your schedule. This will prevent you from possibly waking later in the night and having trouble getting back to sleep.

Tip 2: Control Your Light Exposure

Melatonin naturally occurs in your body and it’s controlled by light exposure. This hormone is responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. More melatonin is secreted when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light causing you to be more alert. Here are a few tips to help control your body’s exposure to light.

  • Be sure to get more light in the morning closest to when you wake up. For example, have breakfast by a sunny window or your morning coffee outside. The light will help your body to wake up and ready to tackle the day. 
  • Spend time outside while it’s light. It’s a good idea to take work breaks outside throughout the day-eat outside, take a walk, exercise, etc. 
  • Create as much natural light as possible in your workspace. Whether at work or home, open the blinds and curtains or move your desk next to a window. 
  • Use a light therapy box if needed. A light therapy box simulates sunshine and is helpful through the winter or on more overcast days.
  • Avoid any screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime. Your TV, phone, tablet, or computer can be disruptive to your sleep. You can minimize any issues by not using backlit devices, turning the brightness down, using devices with smaller screens and light-altering software. 

Tip 3: Exercise daily at least 3 hours before bedtime

Those who exercise regularly tend to sleep better at night and have more energy during the day. Studies also have shown regular exercise improves sleep apnea symptoms and can increase the time you spend in a deep restorative sleep.

  • The more strenuous your exercise routine, the more sleep benefits. However, even 10 minutes of light exercise each day will improve your quality of sleep.
  • It is important to be patient once you start an exercise routine. It can take several months to experience the sleep-promoting effects of regular exercise. For even better sleep, time your exercise right and try to finish your workouts within 3 hours of your normal bedtime. Usually, people find the earlier their workouts, the less it will interfere with their sleep. However, low impact or relaxing exercises in the evening can help promote a better night’s sleep.

Tip 4: Be aware of your daytime eating and drinking habits

What you eat and drink during the day plays a large role in how well you sleep at night. This is even more true the closer you get to bedtime. 

  • Avoid eating large meals at night. It’s better to have dinner earlier in the evening and try to avoid heavy, spicy, or rich foods several hours before bed. If you need a snack before bed, try eating half a turkey sandwich, a small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal, yogurt, or a banana.
  • Limit your nicotine and caffeine use. Since nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, they both can cause sleep problems. It is best to avoid using these stimulants in the evening. Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it. 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol in the evening. While a drink before bed can help you relax, it can also interfere with your sleep cycle. 
  • Lower your intake of sugar and refined carbs. Eating large amounts of sugar and refined carbs can trigger sleeplessness at night and can also keep you from falling into a deep sleep. It’s important to avoid eating refined carbs like white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day.
  • Avoid consuming large amounts of liquids before bed. Consuming large amounts of fluids before bed may result in frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

Tip 5: Create a sleep-promoting environment for bedtime

If you are often unable to get to sleep quickly and wake regularly throughout the night, it might be time to try something new. It’s important to develop a relaxing bedtime routine to help you prepare your mind and body for sleep.

  • Practice a relaxation technique. Try taking a warm bath, dimming the lights, and listening to an audiobook or soothing music. 
  • Create a sleep-promoting environment. Other things to try would be sleeping in a dark room, not using electronics before bedtime, keeping the room cool, and using your room for only sleep and sex will help you unwind and sleep better.

Want Better Sleep? Get Sleep Treatment In Coeur d’Alene

We live in a world where we try to take on too much, don’t get enough sleep, and rely on caffeine to get us through the day. By using some of these sleep techniques, you will find it will be easier to fall asleep and also sleep better. If you feel like you have tried everything and nothing seems to be helping you sleep, you may need to rely on a sleep professional. Just Breathe DDS can help you find out the root cause of your inability to get good sleep. For more information or to set up a free consultation, Call Just Breathe DDS, a sleep treatment practice in Coeur d’Alene Idaho today at (208) 500-3030. 

 

References

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html

https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/biology-of-sleep-circadian-rhythms-sleep-stages.htm

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-carbs.htm