A good night's sleep is crucial for optimal function and your well-being. Sleep can improve your memory (since most long-term memory is consolidated during sleep) and improve your immunity. It's also important for lowering your blood pressure and can greatly improve your mood. A night of good sleep is not just a luxury, it is a necessity for your physical and mental health.
If you regularly toss around in your bed and turn around and stare at the ceiling while struggling to fall asleep, you are not alone. In fact, according to various studies and estimates, around 30% of the adult population have trouble falling asleep. Insomnia is a common problem, especially among older adults, and can be attributed to lifestyle factors. Some people may turn to sleeping pills to cure their insomnia, but these drugs have been linked with a number of harmful effects. Here are some natural tips that can help you sleep better at night.
Avoid caffeine in the evening
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee and tea that can keep your brain awake. Coffee consumption is particularly popular in America, where 64% of adults are said to drink it almost every day. No wonder insomnia is epidemic in the US. Around 40% of Americans say they didn't get enough sleep at night.
While a cup of coffee should be a must for your everyday life, experts recommend avoiding caffeine intake at least 7 hours before bedtime. This would mean skipping that evening cup of coffee if you want a good night's sleep. You don't have to give up your coffee consumption entirely. Just make sure that the time you choose doesn't interfere with your sleep.
Invest in comfortable beds and blankets
A comfortable bed is an absolute must if you want to sleep well. You could try anything you want, but like the princess who had a pea under her mattress, an uncomfortable bed makes falling asleep very difficult. This is why investing in a comfortable mattress and blanket is essential for a good night's sleep. A cozy blanket can make all the difference, and weighted options are now available designed to improve sleep. Weighted blankets have previously been marketed for people with ADHD, autism, anxiety, and insomnia and have been found to significantly improve sleep. Now they are becoming an increasingly popular choice for anyone who wants a stress-free, comfortable night's sleep.
Exercise is an excellent way to improve the quality of your sleep. When physical activity tires you out, significantly reduces stress levels, and improves mood, it will be easier to fall asleep after a day of exercise. While there is still some debate about what time of day is best to exercise, there is general consensus that exercise should be avoided for at least two hours before bedtime. This is because exercise can sometimes overstimulate your brain, making it very difficult to fall asleep. Physical activity is also said to increase the effectiveness of the sleep hormone melatonin. With all of the good evidence pointing to the many benefits of exercise for a good night's sleep, it would be a good idea to try it out.
Avoid screens before bed
While you may be tempted to browse Instagram or check your text messages before bed, this is a really bad idea. The National Sleep Foundation has warned against using screens of any kind before bed because they emit blue light. Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone, and this can affect the quality of sleep. A screen detox starting 2-3 hours before bed will improve your sleep significantly. You can also try installing apps that block blue light on your smartphone.
Avoid heavy meals near bedtime
Snacking at night can affect your sleep. It is recommended that you avoid eating heavy meals near bedtime, as a heavy stomach can cause problems falling asleep. Problems like indigestion and heartburn due to acid reflux can make nighttime sleep uncomfortable. Late evening meals are also linked to obesity and other health problems. Therefore, avoid heavy meals before bed. Your last meal of the day should be at least 2-3 hours before bed.
Healthy adults require around 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep is important for the health of our body. Sleeping less than recommended can lead to problems like diabetes, obesity, depression, and low immunity. The tips above can help you fall asleep faster and also improve the quality of sleep you get every night. If you're still having trouble falling asleep, see your doctor as you may have an underlying health problem (like sleep apnea, GERD, or restless leg syndrome) that can interfere with your sleep.