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10 tips for better sleep

Quality, not just quantity – that is the secret for getting good sleep. It is possible to get too much sleep, too little sleep, and sleep that just isn’t restful. That’s why it is important to know how to sleep better. So, to help you reach this goal, we’ve put together 10 tips for better sleep.

However, it isn’t all about what can help you sleep. There are several things you probably don’t realise you do that damages your sleeping pattern, such as light, noise, heat, alcohol, and caffeine.

Bedroom Environment for Good Sleep

It shouldn’t be surprising, but your sleeping environment, such as light, sounds and temperature of your bedroom, can dramatically affect your sleep quality. 

Too much light in your room – especially blue light – will make it harder to sleep, because daylight mostly includes blue light. As a result, your body associates blue light with being awake. Similarly, when it gets darker, your body starts to prepare itself for sleep. Using your phone, or watching tv, just before bed tricks the body into thinking that it is still daytime and makes it much harder to fall asleep.

Noise can also make it harder to sleep. However, it isn’t simply the presence of noise that can wake you up. The type of noise can also have an effect on the quality of your sleep. Some people can fall asleep to soft music, but sudden changes in noise, like an air conditioner unit turning on, can disturb your sleep. Additionally, your brain recognises noises that hold meaning, like people talking, a baby crying, or an alarm. This means that an inconsistently noisy environment can prevent sleep.

Furthermore, the temperature of your bedroom – especially if it is too warm – may have a negative effect on your sleep. Ensure that your room is well ventilated and you are able to keep cool, even during summer months.

A sensible layer of blankets for the time of year, ear plugs, or blackout curtains are only some of the ways in which these can be prevented.

Food That Keeps You Awake

As well as your sleeping environment, food and drinks you consume can affect your sleep too. There are certain foods that keep you awake, and drinks that feel like they are relaxing, but are actually damaging the quality of your sleep.

It has been suggested that eating before bed can cause insomnia, as the body is yet to push your last meal through the stomach into the small intestine. This could also cause heartburn and, due to a slower metabolism at night, weight gain. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you leave a 3 hour window between your last meal and going to bed.

As well as this, what you drink can also affect your sleep. Drinking alcohol or a cup of tea before bed might feel like a relaxing thing to do, but it has a negative effect on your sleep quality. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it is best used to wake you up, not relax you before bed. It also affects you for hours after you take it – caffeine can stay in your system for up to 10 hours. Furthermore, a regular alcoholic drink or two before bed will often keep you awake, even if it helped you sleep at first. If you don’t wake up, your sleep will still become a lot more shallow – you need that deep quality sleep in your life!

It isn’t all negative though! There are some things you can do to improve your sleep.

Exercise and Sleep Schedules

Although it is heavily debated what time of day is best to exercise for improved sleep quality, it is mostly agreed that some exercise is better than doing no exercise at all.

The main reasons exercise might not support a good sleep cycle is because it increases your core temperature and adrenaline levels in your body. However, both of these are temporary – unless you exercise and jump straight into bed, it is unlikely that these levels will still be high enough to truly prevent you sleeping.

In fact, if you exercise regularly and keep a good routine, your sleep may significantly improve. The body likes regularity so it can get used to when you should feel tired – this is your circadian rhythm, or body clock. Your body recognises changes in temperature, light, and other factors to start winding down.

With an irregular schedule your body doesn’t have any baseline from which to measure whether or not it is time to wake up, sleep, and so on. Sleeping at approximately the same time every night, and waking up at the same time each morning, as well as eating and exercising at regular intervals will improve the chances of your body recognising when certain actions should take place.

Sleep Aid Supplements and Natural Sleep Remedies

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body when natural light starts to diminish, signalling the body that it’s time to sleep. That is why you should avoid blue light before bed, so that the body knows it is time to start winding down. However, if this is difficult either due to reasons out of your control, it could be useful to take supplements to boost your melatonin levels.

Furthermore, too little magnesium in the body leads to excitations in the brain causing a lower quality of sleep. It is common in the elderly, but it can affect athletes too as magnesium is lost when you sweat. Therefore, a diet with a slightly higher magnesium content can be beneficial in helping to improve your sleep. Although there are artificial supplements on the market, they are known to cause an array of side effects. As a result, it is best to try natural, plant-based supplements first, which will generally be better for your body.

As you can see, there are several ways in which you can improve on the quality of your sleep, as well as your overall lifestyle. The quality of your sleep can lead to an array of other beneficial effects, such as a better metabolism, improved mood, and increased mental capacity. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can improve your sleep so that you can achieve good quality rest every time.

Primal Bite

Getting a good night’s sleep is all about the quality as well as the number of hours you rest at night.

There are various ways your sleep can be improved (or hindered), such as the environment in which you sleep, your diet, and how much exercise you do.

There are supplements you can use to improve your sleep, but it is recommended that you use natural remedies first, unless it is truly necessary.