Getting a bad night’s sleep can leave us feeling ill-tempered and frustrated at our inability to just stay in bed and make up for the hours that we lost. Unfortunately, there’s often nothing you can do to replace a night of poor sleep, which is why avoiding having one to start with is the best approach. However, this is easier said than done, which is why knowing ways to improve your sleep can prove invaluable. To make sure you get the rest you deserve, we’re looking at 5 top tips to help you improve your sleep, every night.
1. Improve your sleep schedule
Do you go to bed at a different time every night, depending on the shows you’ve been watching, or plans that you have? If this is the case, then this is the first thing you need to remedy to achieve the perfect rest you need. Our bodies have an internal clock that means we expect to sleep at a certain time each day. If sleep times are continually disrupted your sleep is very likely to suffer as a result.
Force yourself into a strict sleep schedule with the same sleep times and wake times each day, and soon your body will get used to resting when you need to. However, make sure you don’t break this habit on the weekends as you’ll risk undoing all your hard work.
Related: How To Reset Your Body Clock
2. Create bedtime rituals
Doing the same things every night as you prepare to go to sleep can help your body unwind. It’s very likely that you already have a routine, but if your sleep has been suffering recently, it may be time to introduce new activities into your rituals to help you unwind. Taking a warm bath or shower each night can help your muscles to relax, as well as being soothing. Meditation, yoga or just some simple stretches are also good ways to relax before bed and can help to remove any built up tension from the day.
Other things you could do include reading or writing. Just make sure you avoid the use of electronics during your bedtime ritual, as the blue light emitted by these gadgets can stimulate your brain and is likely to keep you awake.
3. Pay attention to your diet
We all know that caffeine is a stimulant, likely to keep our eyes wide open until the early hours of the morning. However, it’s not the only thing that can do so, with nicotine being proven to disrupt sleep, too. Alcohol should also be avoided, as even though a glass may help you to drift off, it’s also likely to wake you up later on in the night.
You should also avoid eating a heavy meal before heading to bed, and especially avoid eating anything spicy, fried or particularly fatty. These foods can produce excess stomach acid which causes heartburn and bloating. They also take a longer time to digest which could lead to stomach cramps and discomfort.
4. Exercise to rest easy
Adding exercise to your weekly schedule has a whole host of benefits, including boosting both your physical and mental health. However, a more unexpected benefit of working out is that your sleep will improve as a result, with a study of the effect of physical activity on sleep finding that participants saw a 65% improvement in sleep quality.
Exercise can also help to alleviate mental health problems, removing or minimising side effects of these problems that could otherwise affect the quality of your sleep.
5. Improve your sleep environment
You’ll never get a good night’s sleep if your bedroom isn’t a space you can properly relax in. Your bedroom needs to be the perfect spot for recharging, which means making sure it’s dark and quiet enough to help you sleep all night long. Black-out blinds or curtains and earplugs can ensure you’re not disturbed, and keeping your room at a comfortable temperature will also help. Additionally, introducing relaxing scents, such as chamomile, bergamot or lavendar, into your room can improve your sleep. Studies show these scents can ease anxiety and insomnia, and also improve your energy the next day.
You may also need to consider whether the reason your sleep has been poor as of late is that your bed is not as comfortable as it once was. A good, supportive mattress is key to achieving good quality sleep night after night. If your mattress is eight years old or more, this could be the reason why you haven’t been getting the rest you deserve.
We hope these top tips help you to improve your sleep. Let us know what you do to make sure you sleep well in the comments section.