Better sleep at night is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Research reveals that poor sleep has unexpected negative effects on your hormones, workout performance, and brain function.
It can also cause one to gain weight and also can increase disease risk in both adults and children.
On the contrary, better sleep at night enables you to eat less, exercise more, and be healthier.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has decreased. Lots of people regularly get poor sleep.
If you want to be in good health or lose weight, having a good night sleep is one of the most significant things you can do.
Here are 9 evidence-based tips to have better sleep at night.
1. Stop consuming caffeine late in the day
Caffeine has many benefits and is highly consumed by 90% of the U.S. population.
A single dose can enhance focus, energy, and sports performance.
However, when it is consumed late in the day, caffeine starts stimulating your nervous system and may cease your body from naturally having a quality sleep.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed considerably worsened sleep quality.
Caffeine can stay in your blood for 6–8 hours. Thus, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or having trouble sleeping.
If you want a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Caffeine can considerably worsen sleep quality, especially if you consume large amounts in the late afternoon or evening.
2. Irregular or long daytime naps
Even though short power naps are helpful, but long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep quality.
Sleeping in the daytime confuses your internal clock, meaning that you may not be able to have a better sleep at night.
Evidently, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking naps in the daytime.
Another study finds that while napping for 30 minutes or less can improve daytime brain function, longer naps can start harming health and sleep quality.
However, some studies indicate that those who are regularly taking daytime naps don’t encounter poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you don’t have to worry. The effects of napping aren’t the same for everyone.
Longer naps in the daytime can impair sleep quality. If you struggle to sleep at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
3. Exercise regularly affects your sleep quality
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep quality and health. It can improve all aspects of sleep and has been used to lessen symptoms of insomnia.
However, going for a daily walk won’t just trim you down, it will also keep you up less often at night. Exercise increases the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin, Dr. Carlson says.
A study in the Journal Sleep demonstrates that postmenopausal women who exercised regularly for about three-and-a-half hours a week had an easier time sleeping than women who exercised less often.
Just watch the timing of your workouts. Exercising too close to bedtime can also be stimulating. Carlson says a morning time workout is perfect. “Exposing yourself to bright daylight first thing in the morning will help the natural circadian rhythm,” she says.
Regular exercise during daylight hours is consuming best ways to guarantee a better sleep at night.
4. Eat—but not too much
A grumbling stomach can be distracting enough to not let you have a better sleep, but so can an excessively full belly. Avoid consuming a big meal within two to three hours of bedtime. If you feel hungry right before bed, have a small healthy snack (such as an apple with a slice of cheese or a few whole-wheat crackers) to satisfy you until morning.
As demonstrated in one study, a high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster and increased the sleep quality.
Interestingly, also another study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs aren’t always necessary, especially if you crave a low carb diet.
Having a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disturbance. However, certain kinds of meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help you having a better sleep at night.
5. Have a timetable and try sleep rituals
When you were a kid and your mom read you a story and tucked you into bed every other night, this soothing ritual helped lull you to sleep. Even you become an adult, a set of bedtime rituals can have a similar effect.
Your body’s circadian rhythm works on a set loop, synchronize itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality.
One study pointed out that participants who had irregular sleeping habits and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep.
Other studies have noted that irregular sleep patterns can distort your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep.
If it’s hard for you to get better sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at consistent times.
Try to have a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at the same time every day.
6. Take care of your bedroom atmosphere
Many people think that the bedroom atmosphere and its setup are key factors in having a better sleep at night. These factors include noise, external lights, temperature, and furniture arrangement.
Several studies found that outside disturbance, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues.
In one study on the bedroom atmosphere of women, around 50% of participants noticed enhanced sleep quality when noise and light lessened.
To optimize your bedroom atmosphere, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Try to make your bedroom a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
Take care of your bedroom atmosphere by eradicating external light and noise to get better sleep.
7. Relax and clear your mind in the evening
The bills are unpaid and your to-do list is a mile long. Daytime worries can bubble to the surface at night.
“Stress is a stimulus. It activates the fight-or-flight hormones that work against sleep,” Dr. Carlson says. Have time to wind down before bed. “Learning some form of relaxation response can promote better sleep at night and can also reduce daytime anxiety.”
To relax, try techniques like listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualization.
Relaxation techniques before bedtime, including hot baths and meditation, may help you fall asleep.
8. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Exposure to light during the day has a positive effect, but evening light exposure has the opposite effect. This is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, fooling your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which helps you relax and get a better sleep at night.
Blue light — which electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit in large amounts — is the worst in this regard.
There are various popular methods you can use to reduce night time blue light exposure. These include:
- Wear glasses that block blue light.
- Install any application that blocks blue light on your smartphone. You can find them in your app store or play store both.
- Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
Blue light fools your body into believing that it’s still daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening.
9. Increase bright light exposure during the day
Your body has a natural clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body, and hormones, enabling you stay awake and instructing your body when it’s time to sleep.
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This enhances daytime energy, as well as night time sleep quality and duration.
In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure enhanced sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%.
A similar study in older adults demonstrated that 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80%.
While most research contains people with serious sleep issues, daily light exposure will most likely help you even if you experience average sleep.
Try getting daily sunlight exposure or — if this is not practical — invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
Day time sunlight or artificial bright light can enhance sleep quality and duration, especially if you have serious sleep issues or insomnia.
The bottom line
Having a better Sleep at night plays a key role in your health.
One large review associated inadequate sleep with an increased risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults.
Other studies conclude that getting less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re eager to have optimal health and well-being, it’s recommended that you make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above