12 Simple Tips for Better Sleep
12 Simple Tips for Better Sleep
Poor sleep has negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, brain, mood, emotions and many various biological functions, PLUS It can also cause the dreaded WEIGHT gain and increase RISK of disease risk.
Good sleep is incredibly important! As you may or may not know, regular exercise and a healthy diet is just as important as a great night’s sleep. Poor sleep has negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, brain, mood, emotions and many various biological functions, and it can also cause the dreaded WEIGHT gain and increase RISK of disease risk. Yikes! 😟
A GOOD night’s sleep can help you eat less, enjoy better exercise, and just be generally more healthy. If you want to increase your level of health or lose more weight, then getting a good night's sleep is a MUST.
Ever since I was young, I have been a super irregular sleeper.
I would always have trouble with getting to sleep, waking during the night, and just feeling plain old uncomfortable in my bed (you can imagine how my parents felt about little me😉)!
As I got older, I got so tired of my poor sleeping habits, that two years ago, I started researching everything out there on getting better sleep, falling asleep quickly and sleeping through the night.
Two years later, after trying pretty much everything out there, I’ve managed to discover the best tips and tricks to a fabulous good night’s sleep; they help me fall asleep fast and make it all night without waking (outside of an occasional trip to the bathroom 😊). Yup, they’re tried and proven by me!
1. Lower the Room Temperature
I think that the number one best thing you can do for your sleep is to regulate your temperature.
Your core temperature decreases, while the temperature of your hands and feet increases, which can be a tricky balance when trying to catch some shut-eye. So, try setting your thermostat to a cool temperature between 60–75°F (15–23°C).
Individual preferences will change, so it can take a bit of trial and error to find the right temperature for you.
Also, try taking a warm shower (or bath) close to bedtime, as it helps speed up the body's temperature changes. Added bonus: as you cool down after your shower, it’ll help send a signal to your brain to go to sleep.
2. "4-7-8" Breathing Method
Hold on a sec, trust me; I know that this may sound weird, and it did to me at first, but it’s a really great system.
The 4-7-8 method is a simple breathing method of breathing that gives you a sense of calmness and relaxation, which can be practiced anytime you feel anxious.
1. First, place the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth.
2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2) Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3) Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5) This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
This technique will relax you and help you fall asleep quickly!
3. Meditation, Mindfulness
Relaxation techniques before bed have actually been shown to increase sleep quality, and meditation and mindfulness are the perfect tools to calm the mind and relax the body.
Like the "4-7-8" breathing method, meditation and mindfulness a great way to give you a sense of calmness and relaxation, which’ll will help you sleep through the night (especially when you are stressed).
I actually use meditation all the time for both work and study.
Meditation can enhance melatonin levels and mindfulness may help you worry less while falling asleep.
If you’re not familiar with the practice of mindfulness, it can be an action as simple as taking a pause before answering a text or practicing gentle breathing when a worrisome thought comes into your mind.
4. Listen to Relaxing Music
If you’re not into meditation, mindfulness and 4-7-8 method (which is totally okay - these ‘hippie’ methods can be hard to get into at first), or, you’re just getting started with them and want something that you can try now, try listening to some relaxing music. In fact, I started with this while I learned the other practices.
Music will improve quality of sleep, and can even be used to improve chronic sleep disorders (MAKE sure that it is relaxing music though - no hardcore rock music please 🎵). I LOVE classical music, so I tend to listen to low key classical songs.
In any case, note that Buddhist music will especially help you. It’s created from different Buddhist chants and is a great tool for better sleep.
Lastly, if relaxing music is not available, try just blocking all noise (if possible). Try some good quality earplugs.
5. Turn Off All Electronics
I was a terrible example of this up until recently. I would always have a smartphone in my hand, no matter what time it was; Facebook, news sites, texts, the scrolling was endless.
The reason I stopped his bad habit, is, a friend told me about how the blue light emitted by electronics - phones, computers, tablets, etc. - tricks your body into thinking it's daytime, and lowers your body’s ability to fall asleep quickly, or sometimes at all (anyone else had one of the weird sleepless nights 🤔)?
Another reason to shut down is that TV, video games, using a mobile phone and of course social networking, (uh oh!) will also make it harder to stay asleep and fall asleep because it causes your mind to be distracted - this is on top of the blue light problem 😟.
So create a quiet place, stop watching TV, put away the smartphone and shut down the bright lights two hours before heading to bed.
If you need something to do in that time, I recommend reading to help you unwind. Electronic books emit blue light, so make sure that it is a physical book.
6. Visualize Things That Make You Happy
This one works wonders!
Don't lie in bed worrying about stressful things, visualize in your mind a place that makes you feel happy, peaceful and calm.
Occupying your mind with calm, happy thoughts can take your mind away from the thoughts that keep you up at night.
7. Limit Caffeine; Instead Drink a Calming Beverage
Don’t get me wrong I love coffee, but caffeine can have disastrous effects on your sleep. I recommended that you stay a from caffeine for at least five hours before bedtime.
Instead, try drinking a soothing tea. I like passionflower tea - it’s been shown to improve insomnia and sleep quality.
Make sure that you also stay away from things like chocolate, coffee, sodas and energy drinks, because they not only (usually) contain high amounts of sugar, but also sometimes contain caffeine.
8. Exercise — But Not Before Bed
Exercise is often considered beneficial to healthy sleep, though the time of the day when you exercise is super important. Exercising too late in the day may cause sleep problems, so I suggest working out early in the morning.
Also, try yoga: it encourages the practice of breathing and movement which releases the stress and tension in your body, and in turn improves sleep.
9. Adjust Your Sleep Position
Good quality also depends on your body position during sleep. Although your preference may vary, sleeping on your side instead of laying on your stomach/back seems to be linked to high-quality sleep.
So give the ‘side position’ a shot, and, if all else fails, try testing out several different positions over the course of a few days, and track what works best for you.
10. Daylight and Darkness
Light will influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates your sleep and wakefulness.
Irregular light exposure leads to disruption of circadian rhythms (remember the ‘blue light’ tip)? During the day, bright light tells you to stay alert, and at night, darkness promotes sleepiness.
Expose your body to sunlight or artificial bright light during day, and at night, shut out all the lights and try using blackout curtains to make your room is dark to increase sleepiness.
Some people have difficulty falling asleep because their thoughts keep running in circles. It might be obvious, but if you bring the stress of your job and daily life to bed with you, you’re not going to sleep well.
Keep everything that’s stressful out of your bedroom; yup, that includes work files.
You can gain control over your worries and anxieties by keeping two journals. The first one, you’ll write in during the day about things worrying you or stressing you out, as a way to work through them.
Your second journal, you’ll write in at night time. Here, write down the positive events that have happened throughout your day; this can create gratitude, happiness, and make stressful things less prominent in your mind at bedtime.
A short nap of 10 to 30 minutes if you’re really tired during the day may actually help you gain extra energy during the day (and won’t disrupt your sleep).