After tossing and turning in bed for hours and adjusting your head on the pillow to find just the right position, you still wake up feeling dull and grumpy. Unfortunately, this is something that each one of us has experienced. Yet, we can’t seem to figure out how to sleep better.
But unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, we experience this feeling way too often.
We may have gotten all our other priorities, such as work, social life, entertainment, and chores, in order, but a good night’s sleep has sadly become somewhat of an indulgence.
I think we can all agree that sleep shouldn’t be a luxury. Scientific research shows that lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can have immediate negative effects on your hormones, metabolism, exercise performance, and brain function (1).
So, if you’ve recently started a new diet or workout routine to stay fit or lose weight, you need to remember that poor sleep could result in weight gain and ruin all your efforts (2).
On the other hand, if you get a good night’s quality sleep, it will naturally help you eat less, burn more fat, and be healthier. That sounds good, right? So let’s figure out how you can get sleep right!
So How Much Sleep Is Enough?
Well, it depends. The answer to this question depends not only on your sleep habits but also on your sleep needs.
That’s correct. The amount of sleep the human body requires changes with each developmental stage. Younger children have the highest needs, and it decreases as they grow older.
The recommended sleep for adults between age 18-64 is 7 to hours of sleep every night (3). If you are over the age of 65, you only require 7 to 8 hours of sleep. However, the amount of sleep you need could be determined by your genetics as well.
If you are already getting the recommended amount but still feel deprived of sleep, that might be because your sleep lacks quality, not quantity. If that is the case, you need to sleep better, not more. This next section will give you some tips to improve sleep quality.
10 Proven Tips To Help You Sleep Better
1. Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as the circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm functions on a fixed loop by aligning itself with the sunrise and sunset.
For millions of years of evolution, humans have slept and woken up at the same time. Even your body is designed to do the same. Therefore, being consistent with the times you go to bed and wake can aid long-term sleep quality.
After a few weeks of doing this, you may not even need an alarm to wake up.
2. Change Your Exposure to Light Throughout the Day
The way your body tells whether its night or day is by the amount of light you are exposed to. So, try to control your exposure to light throughout the day in a way that your body will find familiar.
Getting natural sunlight or bright light during the day will keep your circadian rhythm healthy. As a result, you will have more energy during the day and will sleep better at night.
If getting daily sunlight exposure is not practical for you, invest in an artificial bright light bulb.
Similarly, your body is used to little light at night time. However, electronic devices like phones and computers emit large amounts of blue light, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
You can reduce exposure to nighttime blue light by wearing glasses that block it or by using apps that block blue light on your electronic devices.
Ideally, you should turn off any bright lights and stop using electronic devices at least two hours before bed.
3. Sleep in an Optimal Bedroom Environment
Your bedroom environment is also a key factor that allows you to get a good night’s sleep. Factors such as external noise and lights can affect the quality of your sleep.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external light and noise from electronic devices, ceiling fans, air conditioners, and even traffic. You can also use an eye mask and earplugs to achieve this effect.
If your bedroom is a clean, quiet, and relaxing environment for you, sleep quality will improve drastically.
4. Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Just like noise and light can negatively affect your sleep quality, body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly affect its quality.
In fact, some studies have found that bedroom temperature affects sleep quality even more than external noise (4).
It’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep when it’s too warm because increasing body temperature can increase wakefulness. Although the optimal temperature for you depends on your habits and preferences, around 70°F (20°C) is comfortable for most people.
For some people, turning on the air conditioner (AC) might do the job. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that having the AC on doesn’t really improve your sleep quality.
Unfortunately, in some cases, using an air conditioner might even negatively affect your sleep quality. Research shows that cold airflow from an AC stimulates the human body while sleeping and negatively impacts sleep quality even if the velocity of the airflow is less than an insensible level (5).
So, despite you feeling more comfortable, research suggests that using an AC might be negatively impacting your sleep. What I use instead is the OOLER sleep system. It includes a cool mesh pad that goes under your mattress and a control unit to set the cool pad to your optimal temperature.
Initially, I was skeptical about sleeping on a cooling pad, but as it turns out, it was way more comfortable than even my mattress. It also allows you to set the temperature based on when you go to bed and wake up. So, your bed is never too hot or too cold.
My favorite thing about OOLER is its warm awake feature that wakes you up without an alarm. Your body temperature goes down in the evening as your body prepares itself for sleep. The warm awake feature slightly raises your body temperature in the morning to wake you up naturally. So, you wake up feeling less groggy and more energetic.
I understand if you’re having doubts about using such a product, I did too. But if you are someone who isn’t able to get enough quality sleep, I strongly urge you to check out the OOLER sleep system.
As a reader of my blog, you’ll get a special 15% discount on the OOLER sleep system if you use the code “OOLER15” through this link.
5. Don’t Drink Any Liquids Before Bed
While staying hydrated is vital for your body to function healthily, drinking large quantities of liquids before bed might make you feel like using the bathroom in the middle of the night. Excessive urination during the night can affect rest quality and daytime energy.
If you’re someone who wakes up in the middle of the night, you know that sometimes it can be difficult to go back to bed once you’re up. Surprisingly, there’s even a term for excessive urination at night, it’s called Nocturia.
You should try to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening. Ideally, you shouldn’t be drinking any fluids at least 1-2 hours before going to bed.
If you don’t already use the bathroom right before going to bed, you should. It will greatly decrease your chances of waking in the night.
6. Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Eating your meals late at night or just before bedtime can negatively affect your sleep as it hinders the natural release of HGH and melatonin (6).
Studies have found that eating your last meal 3-4 hours before bed can help you fall asleep faster and get better sleep quality (7).
7. Don’t Exercise Before Bed
Okay, don’t get me wrong. Exercise is one of the best scientifically proven ways to improve your sleep and overall health. It can make you feel more rested and even reduce symptoms of insomnia (8).
However, working out too late in the day might do more harm than good. The stimulatory effects of exercise release hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine, increasing alertness and making it harder for you to fall asleep.
Getting a few minutes of exercise during daylight hours is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.
8. Reduce Irregular Daytime Naps
While taking a short power nap can give you a boost in energy, long and irregular naps during the day can negatively affect your sleep quality.
If you doze off for long periods of time during the day, your body’s internal clock will get confused, and you’ll have a hard time falling asleep at night.
Also, remember that napping doesn’t work for everyone. Some people end up sleepier after taking a nap during the day. But if you are used to taking regular daytime naps, you don’t need to worry.
Nevertheless, your naps should not be more than 30 minutes long. Otherwise, it will disrupt your sleep at night.
9. Don’t Drink Alcohol or Caffeine at Night
Even though a few drinks at night may make you feel sleepier, in reality, drinking alcohol late at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol is known to increase symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea (9). It also alters your body’s melatonin and HGH production at night, both of which play a crucial role in your body’s circadian rhythm (10).
Like alcohol, even caffeine consumption later in the day will disrupt your sleep at night. This is because caffeine stimulates your nervous system and prevents your body from naturally relaxing at night.
Both alcohol and caffeine stay elevated in your blood for about 6 hours after they are consumed.
So, ideally, you should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine after 3-4 pm.
10. Get a Comfortable Bed, Pillow, Mattress, and Blanket
Ever wondered why you always sleep better in a hotel?
Apart from it being a more relaxing environment, the quality of the bedding can also improve your sleep (11).
Although the best bedding and best mattress for you is extremely subjective, studies show that upgrading your bedding can reduce shoulder and back pain and significantly improve sleep quality (12).
Though this is one of the easiest ways to improve sleep quality, you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong just because they haven’t replaced their mattress or bedding for several years.
If you’re wondering whether it’s time for you to replace your mattress, it’s recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5-8 years.
So, if you think you’re ready to upgrade your mattress and drastically improve your sleep quality, I know just the right mattress for you. The Evolution 15 from Nolah Sleep is an ultra-high tech mattress packed with advanced cooling and comfort features. I’ve been using this mattress since the past year and I sleep like a baby every single night.
The mattress has cooling fibers that draw excess heat from your body to create comfortable sleep, and it also has graphite-infused AirFoam that further accelerates these cooling qualities while maintaining excellent pressure relief and comfort. They also have a 120 night trial period, so if you aren’t satisfied with the mattress, you can return it at no additional cost to you.
Here’s the icing on the cake, if you purchase the Evolution 15 from my link, you’ll get a $800 discount and 2 free pillows (Yes, you read that right). Trust me, upgrading your mattress will do wonders for your sleep, and this will be the best money you’ll ever spent.
Just like your mattress, your blanket also impacts your sleep quality more than you could imagine. Your blanket affects your body temperature while you sleep, and your body temperature is one of the most important factors that determines sleep quality. So, if your blanket makes you sweat on hot days or makes you freeze on chilly days, it probably isn’t right for you.
My years of search for the perfect blanket finally ended when I came across the chiliBLANKET. It’s a weighted blanket with in-built warming and cooling channels, and it feels like the best hug ever when you’re using it. It also has a pre-cool and pre-cool feature to make sure that your blanket is just the perfect when you climb into bed. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
So, if you haven’t upgraded your blanket in a few years and are thinking about purchasing this amazing chiliBLANKET, I’ve got good news for you! As a reader of my blog, you can avail a special 10% discount by using the code “chiliBLANKET10” through this link.
Alright, even if you follow all of these tips to sleep better tomorrow itself, you may not see results immediately. That’s because your body is going to need a couple of weeks to readjust your circadian rhythm back to normal.
So, be patient, and stick to all the tips I’ve told you about. If you do that, I promise you that you’ll sleep better within just a few weeks and feel much more energetic throughout the day.
Hacks to Fall Asleep in Just 60 Seconds
While improving the quality of your sleep requires you to follow the above tips for a few weeks, there are some amazing sleep hacks that you can use today to fall asleep faster.
1. The Military Method
- Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
- Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body
- Exhale, relaxing your chest.
- Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
- Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene.
- If this doesn’t work, try saying the words “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds.
- You should fall asleep within 60 seconds!
2. 4-7-8 Breathing Method (One Cycle)
- Let your lips part slightly and make a whooshing sound as you exhale through your mouth.
- Then close your lips and inhale silently through your nose. Count to 4 in your head.
- Then hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- After, exhale (with a whoosh sound) for 8 seconds
- Avoid being too alert at the end of each cycle. Try to practice it mindlessly.
- Complete this cycle for four full breaths. Let your body sleep if you feel relaxation coming on earlier than anticipated.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Raise your eyebrows as high as possible for 5 seconds. This will tighten your forehead muscles.
- Relax your muscles immediately and feel the tension drop. Wait 10 seconds.
- Smile widely to create tension in your cheeks. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Pause 10 seconds.
- Squint with your eyes shut. Hold 5 seconds. Relax.
- Pause 10 seconds.
- Tilt your head slightly back, so you’re comfortably looking at the ceiling. Hold 5 seconds. Relax as your neck sinks back into the pillow.
- Pause 10 seconds.
- Keep moving down the rest of the body, from your triceps to chest, thighs to feet.
- Let yourself fall asleep, even if you don’t finish tensing and relaxing the rest of your body.
We all know that sleep plays a vital role in our health, but most people underestimate just how much of a role sleep plays in our lives.
Poor quality of sleep or getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of obesity in both children and adults.
But don’t worry, all you need to do is follow these amazing sleep tips I’ve told you about, and you’ll have the best sleep you’ve had in years.