Are you tired of tossing and turning every night? Is your sleep pattern affecting your productivity during the day? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re not alone. A report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that 1 in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep. Health experts say adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. The right amount of sleep is critical to our mental and physical health.
What’s more, poor sleep has adverse effects on your hormones and brain function. This can cause excessive weight gain and increase disease risk in both children and adults. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try these tips to help improve your sleep.
1. Reduce Your Blue Light Exposure at Night
The sun is our primary source of blue light. Blue light regulates your circadian rhythm – which tells you when to sleep. While blue light from sunlight is essential, blue light is also found in many LED-based gadgets. A helpful blog from Block Blue Light Australia mentions that the blue light produced by these gadgets can harm your sleep. Many people love to use their phones, laptops, or even watch TV before bedtime. If you fall under this group, this habit can contribute to your inability to sleep properly. So what’s the solution? Try and limit your screen time during the evening before you sleep.
2. Avoid Caffeine in the Afternoon
Ninety percent of the U.S. population consumes caffeine every day. Caffeine has immense benefits to your body, such as increased focus, energy, and a boost in sports performance. But, there’s just one problem with caffeine: consuming it in the afternoon. When you take in large amounts of caffeine late in the day, it stimulates your nervous system: this stops your body from relaxing at night. A study by the National Library of Medicine shows that consuming caffeine 5-6 hours before bed can lead to poor sleep quality. This is because caffeine stays elevated in your blood for 6-8 hours. That said, avoid drinking your cup of Joe after 3-4 p.m.
3. Set a Sleep Schedule
Your ideal sleep time should not exceed eight hours. Health experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for a healthy adult. Remember, you don’t need more than eight hours of sleep to achieve this goal. That said, ensure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If you don’t work during the weekends, ensure the difference in your sleep schedule doesn’t exceed one hour. Why is this so? When you have a fixed sleep schedule, it reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Also, if you don’t sleep within 15 minutes after getting in bed, leave your room and do something relaxing. Read a book or listen to calming music.
4. Control Your Room Environment
Your room also determines your sleep quality. Start by changing your beddings. Go for soft beddings that feel comfortable to the touch. They will help maintain a cool temperature during the night. Next, keep loud noise to a minimum; this is a critical part of building a sleep-enhancing bedroom. If you cannot eliminate noise in your surrounding room environment, use a fan to drown them out. Additionally, you can use headphones or earplugs to keep noise at bay. This ensures you have a good night’s sleep with minimal interruption.
5. Start Exercising
Pay close attention to your physical activity levels as it can improve your quality of sleep. Include 30-40 minutes of physical activity in your schedule. This not only gives you a post-exercise glow but also improves your sleep quality. What’s more, exercise helps improve your cognitive abilities and reduces your risk of contracting diseases such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Depression and anxiety
Note: Should you choose to exercise before bed, keep the exercises light and not too vigorous.
6. Practice Yoga
Yoga and mindfulness exercises can be great solutions to help improve your sleep quality. Just as dieting and fitness go hand-in-hand, sleep and mindfulness are also tied together. Exercises such as meditation help to increase mental focus, reduce stress, and manage sleep-based problems. A growing body of research shows that mindfulness is a critical tool when dealing with sleep disturbance issues. You can try mindfulness exercises at home or enroll in a yoga center in your local area.
In addition to these steps, ensure you see a doctor if your sleep issue deteriorates. Sometimes, your sleep problem can be caused by an underlying problem such as stress or anxiety. Your doctor can help identify and treat any underlying conditions you may have. Finally, limit your screen time a few hours before bedtime, and if you cannot do so, don’t forget to use anti-blue-light devices.