Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene and get the most out of your slumber.
How To Sleep Better Every Night
Not getting enough sleep can make anyone at any age irritable, forgetful, and of course, very tired. Does your aging parent have trouble sleeping? Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night? Changes in our sleeping patterns are completely normal as we age. However, waking up tired every day, or experiencing symptoms of insomnia is not normal (1). In this blog, we are discussing 10 sleeping tips to help you sleep better and hopefully help you wake up feeling restful and energized in the morning.
1. Set a regular bedtime routine
Everybody usually has a set morning routine that looks something like brushing their teeth, washing their faces, making breakfast, and drinking coffee. But, do you have a bedtime routine set in place? If you don’t know what this is, it is similar to your morning routine except it is the steps you do an hour before bed to let your body know, it is almost time for bed. Bedtime routines help you and your body unwind and ready for bedtime (2). Not everybody’s bedtime routine is the same. Your bedtime routine should be personalized for you. Make it a habit to do relaxing activities that help you unwind and clear your mind from a busy day. Some examples include journaling or reading your favorite book.
By sticking to your routine, your body will start to associate the routine with sleep, and eventually, you’ll fall asleep faster and easier.
2. Turn off lights, electronic devices, and phones before bedtime
An hour or two before getting into bed, turn off all screens and lights to naturally produce melatonin in the brain (3). Melatonin lets our bodies know it is time for sleep. You might notice that when you are on your tablet or scrolling on your phone, it can be hard to get sleepy. That is because the screen blue light signals your brain to stay awake.
It is important that you establish a cut-off time for electronics use before bed and stick to it. If you need an alarm clock, try using a traditional one instead of your phone alarm so you’re not tempted to scroll through social media before falling asleep.
3. Make your bedroom your sleep zone
Make sure to only get into bed for sleep. Your bedroom should not be the same place you watch TV or browse social media (4). This means no devices in bed or watching TV in bed.
If you find yourself tossing and turning for more than 5 minutes, you should get up and read or do another calming activity until you are ready for sleep. Try to limit activities in your bedroom and only get into bed at nighttime for sleep. This will condition your brain to know that when you’re in bed, it’s time to sleep.
4. Don’t drink alcohol or fluids close to bedtime
Trips to the bathroom can disrupt your sleepiness. Avoid drinking alcohol or any fluids (including coffee) before or close to your bedtime. In order to feel well-rested in the morning, it is important to have 100% uninterrupted sleep.
Plus, alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and act as natural stimulants, so you’re more likely to feel wired instead of tired after consuming them. If you are thirsty before bed, drink a glass of water and keep a cup or water bottle on your nightstand to avoid getting up in the middle of the night.
5. Listen to relaxing music, guided meditation, or sleep sounds
Lullabies are not just for babies. In fact, adults of all ages can benefit from listening to music to fall asleep. According to a study, adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before sleeping reported better quality sleep beginning on the first night.
Consider listening to guided meditations- they do a great job at helping us focus on our breathing and can help quiet the mind to reduce sleep troubles. Similar to music, sleep sounds such as rain, ocean waves, or white noise can be sleep-inducing to some people. Try out these options to see what works best for you. These days, there are plenty of options available online or for download.
6. Read before bedtime
Ever noticed yourself getting sleepy while reading in bed or in your couch? This is because the movements of our eyes moving back and forth to read the pages make our eyes tired and heavy. When you notice yourself tossing and turning in bed and your mind racing, try getting up from bed and picking up a book to help you get sleepy.
Reading has been known to help clear your mind from the day’s stresses and challenges. It is important to note that you should not read from your tablet. The blue light that screens give off slows down and/or stops the production of melatonin. Once you feel yourself getting sleepy, get into bed.
7. Exercise during the day
Moderate to vigorous exercise can help improve sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and decreasing the amount of time that you lie awake in bed during the night (5). Examples of moderate exercises include: walking fast, cleaning windows or vacuuming, and bicycling lightly. Vigorous exercises include hiking, jogging, shoveling, or bicycling fast. Try doing one of these exercises for at least 30 minutes a day for better quality sleep.
Plus, regular exercise will help improve your overall health and well-being, making it easier for you to stick to good sleep habits.
8. Eat less sugary foods during the day
Food can also affect the way we sleep. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and fries can cause a sleepless night and can actually pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep (1).
Try to eat balanced, healthy meals full of vegetables and fruits to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. Avoid eating large meals right before bedtime as this can lead to indigestion and make it harder to fall asleep.
9. Spend more time in the sun
Get out more! Our bodies know the difference between night and day from the sunlight. Bright sunlight also helps regulate melatonin and your sleep-wake cycles (1). If warm enough, you can drink your coffee in the morning outside, walk your dog in the morning versus the nighttime, or eat breakfast by a sunny window.
10. Manage your stress
This is easier said than done. There is no specific cure to help you de-stress. Everybody is different and what relaxes and alleviates your stress you may not help others. There are many activities you can do to calm your stress during the day from meditation breaks to coloring in the evening or taking a warm bath before bed. It is up to you to find out what helps your body and mind.
Managing your stress during the day can help tremendously with falling asleep faster at night. Your bed should not be the place to think about the day’s challenges, but rather the place where you can let go of everything that is bothering you and recharge for the next day.
Therefore, you should avoid overthinking and worrying about things before bed. If you find yourself in this position, try to write down your thoughts or talk them through with a friend so that you can clear your head and relax. As mentioned before, creating a bedtime routine will help signal your body that it is time for sleep. Activities that could help with stress include reading, stretching, or deep breathing exercises.
It is also important to make sure your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool. Avoid watching television or working on the computer in bed as these activities can be stimulating and keep you awake. Establishing good sleep hygiene habits will help ensure you get the most out of your sleep!
Good Sleep Hygiene = Better Health Outcomes
The importance of good sleep quality cannot be understated – it is essential for your overall health and well-being. Poor sleep has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Therefore, it’s important for people to make sure they are getting the best quality of sleep possible.
The tips above are just a few of the ways you can improve your sleep hygiene and get better quality sleep. By focusing on improving your sleep habits, you can help ensure that you’re getting the most out of your slumber and improving your overall health.
Promoting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being. By following the tips in this blog post, you can help improve the quality of your sleep and get the most out of your slumber!
If you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep, be sure to consult with your doctor – they may be able to recommend additional steps or treatments that can help you sleep better. Don’t forget to create your bedtime routine. Calming activities can help promote relaxation and prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep. Good luck and sweet dreams!
If you or a loved one are looking for senior care in the Midwest, please reach out to one of our intake specialists to discuss options.