Sleep is vital for overall health and wellness, but the majority of us don’t get nearly enough of it. It can impact everything from stress to weight gain, yet more than 75% of Americans struggle with restless nights. Fortunately, it’s possible to learn how to improve sleep.
There are numerous products, practices, and more that claim to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. So many, in fact, that the number might keep you up at night. In this article, we’ll give you simple, actionable tips to improve your sleep that are supported by science.
Here’s your guide to making sure you catch all of your z’s.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
The human body is a complex machine, and one of its features is an intricate system of several sophisticated internal clocks. These clocks are called circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms are 24-hour internal cycles that direct your metabolism and sleep patterns as well as influence blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and much more. In fact, a lack of quality sleep has even been linked to obesity and depression.
Don’t worry, though, you can learn how to improve your sleep. When you do, you’ll be able to enjoy all of its benefits. Making proper sleep a priority may even strengthen your immune system, increase your focus, and overall just make you feel better.
How to Improve Sleep & Snooze Like a Pro
Sleep is a crucial part of living a wholly well life. Nevertheless, there are still nights where we just can’t fall asleep in spite of our warm milk and uncanny ability to count sheep.
Luckily, there are several effective ways to strengthen your slumber.
Stay Away from Caffeine Later in the Day
Caffeine is a valuable tool. It can get you through a morning of mundane, boring work and it can give you the power to conquer a vigorous workout. Caffeine does this by giving you a boost of energy while inhibiting sleepiness at the same time.
The half-life of caffeine is around 5 hours. This means that you’ll still have half of your espresso in your system 5 hours after you’ve taken your last sip. If you had that espresso at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, it’s likely that you’ll be full of energy when bedtime hits.
In order to better your sleep, it’s recommended to stay away from caffeine after 2 pm.
Increase Physical Activity
Increasing daily activity is a tried and true way to improve sleep. More exercise and physical activity will leave you feeling tired and worn out at the end of the day. Thus, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
However, the relationship between physical activity and sleep is far more complex than that, and researchers haven’t yet been able to identify the mechanism that explains the relationship.
Although the link between activity and sleep is not fully understood, scientists know that exercise helps relieve stress and promotes deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Wake Up & Go to Sleep at the Same Time Each Day
If there’s one thing your body loves, it’s consistency. Especially when it comes to your sleep schedule. Waking up and going to sleep around the same time each day allows your body to establish a regular sleeping pattern.
Diverging from that pattern will result in a less-than-adequate night’s sleep. This is why you can get up at 6 am every morning and still feel like crap on Monday after a weekend of sleeping in. Your body absolutely loves its sleep schedule.
In fact, a 2017 Harvard study found that college students with regular sleeping patterns actually performed better academically than those with irregular sleeping patterns.
Get Your Bedroom Ready for Sleep
When you're looking at how to improve sleep, take a look in your bedroom. Your bedroom environment plays a significant role in your overall quality of sleep.
Light, noise, and temperature all impact your ability to wake up rested and recharged. Light and noise stimulate your brain and can trick it into thinking it’s time to be awake. Additionally, keeping your bedroom between 60° and 67°F can help your body cool off and relax.
Find a Way to Relax in the Evening
At the end of a long, stressful day, it’s hard to decompress. As your thoughts run rampant in your mind, you’ll also find it difficult to fall asleep.
To remedy this, look for ways to calm down and relax in the hours before your head hits the pillow. Warm showers, meditation, and reading a good book are all great strategies for unwinding at the end of the day.
Be a Bedtime Champion & Improve Your Sleep
Regularly getting proper sleep is essential for living a healthy life, but it can be hard to get those 7 to 9 hours per night. Fortunately, there are several proven ways to improve your sleep.
Having a set bedtime, staying away from caffeine late in the day, and regularly exercising are just a few of the many ways to significantly boost your bedtime experience.
What are some of your favorite ways to have a good night’s sleep? Leave a comment and let us know!