How do you feel when you wake up in the morning after a restless night?
By ‘restless’ we mean an average night-in, where you tossed and turned for hours and got about 2 hours of REM sleep.
You likely wake up in the morning with a headache, feeling groggy and in a daze.
It’s the worst feeling but it happens to all of us sometimes.
You may not even realize that your hormones, daily performance and brain function could be suffering without adequate sleep at night.
Our nation's work-hard-play-hard mentality pressures us to work longer and get ahead faster where 6 to 8 hours of sleep may not be on our list of priorities.
While our busy lives may normalize it, struggling to fall asleep every day is not normal!
Tips on Better Sleep
Everyone's sleep schedule is different and varies based on our habits, jobs, and overall daily lives.
Whether your sleep schedule is in the morning, afternoon or at night, these tips will help you get a good night's (or day's) rest:
Limit Your Caffeine
Caffeine does what it’s supposed to do during the workday; enhances our focus, energy and performance.
Contrarily, when consumed later in the day, caffeinated beverages can stimulate your nervous system and keep your body from naturally relaxing for up to 8 hours.
Drinking caffeine after 3 or 4p.m. is not a good idea, especially if you struggle falling asleep at night. If you crave coffee or tea after this time, switch to decaf!
Alcohol is proven to increase disrupted sleep patterns, alter your nighttime melatonin production and circadian rhythm.
Having a couple glasses of wine before bed may seem like the solution to your insomnia, however, the quality of sleep that you’re getting isn’t adequate, and is contributing to your restlessness. This explains why we feel so tired after a night of drinking.
Decrease Your Blue Light Exposure at Night
Just like natural light is great for your circadian rhythm during the day, blue light exposure is bad for it at night.
When you’re scrolling through your phone at night, you’re essentially tricking your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime and reducing hormones like melatonin, which allow your body to relax into a deeper sleep.
Here are a few ways to reduce nighttime blue light exposure:
Wear blue light glasses to block out the luminosity,
Install an app on your smartphone or use the “Night Shift” mode on your Apple iPhone settings,
Turn off any bright lights and stop watching television 2 hours before bed.
Daily Exercise – Not Before Bed!
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep and overall health.
Not only does it enhance your quality of sleep, but it reduces symptoms of insomnia, making it easier to fall asleep faster and better.
Staying healthy requires daily exercise, but training too late in the day may contribute to your insomnia because of the stimulatory effects of exercise.
Enhance Your Bedroom Environment
Keeping your environment clean and comfortable contributes to your mood and ability to get good sleep at night.
Things like bedroom furniture, noise, lighting and temperature all affect your atmosphere.
Just like a great mattress can enhance your sleep, a poor one can lead to lower back pain and such, making it tough for you to get comfortable while resting.
Here’s a few other things you can do to enhance your bedroom setting:
Minimize the noise and lighting,
Space out your furniture so you have enough room to move around without feeling claustrophobic,
Keep it tidy and free of clutter,
Keep the temperature at a cool level (between 65 and 70 degrees is ideal)
Relaxing Pre-Sleep Routine
Having a nightly routine can help you feel relaxed, accomplished and put-together before bedtime, which, ultimately, contributes to a better night’s rest.
Consider putting these relaxing techniques in your nightly routine:
Listen to relaxing music,
Read a book,
Take a hot bath/shower,
Practice deep breathing, meditating or visualizing.
Consistent Sleep/Wake Up Routine
Your body has a routine that aligns itself with the sunrise and sunset.
Irregular sleeping patterns throw your body’s rhythm off, where your body doesn’t even know when it’s supposed to be asleep or awake.
Staying consistent with the times you go to bed and wake up can improve your sleep quality by keeping your internal rhythm on track.
Reduce Irregular Naps
Power naps (that are 30-minutes or less) are proven to be beneficial and can enhance your daytime brain function.
However, long, irregular naps can affect your sleep at night because you’re confusing your internal clock by letting it rest when it doesn’t need to.
Keep in mind that this tip varies by individual.
For example, if you usually take a 2-hour nap at 3 p.m. for the past 5 years, then your body is likely used to napping daily, and can sleep through the night when it’s time to go to bed.
The opposite is more likely to happen to an individual that rarely naps.
No Late-Night Eating
If you’re a late-night snacker, then this one tip is for you!
Eating late at night affects your sleep quality because it alters your ability to release melatonin and human growth hormones (hGh).
These hormones are released during your sleep and essential to muscle growth and repair. They also affect your brain and can help your body build muscle mass, boost your metabolism, burn fat, enhance your skin and more.
How to Get Better Sleep at Night
There are many factors, some that you may have never thought of, contributing to your ability to get good sleep at night.
Next time you find yourself struggling to fall asleep for more than a couple nights in a row, try out our tips and let us know what you think!