How to Sleep Better at Night: 10 Tips That Actually Work

There is a misconception that sleep is ‘for the weak’ and pulling an ‘all-nighter’ to finish an assignment is part of life. In reality, sleep is actually just as crucial for the body as exercise and maintaining a healthy diet. A lack of sleep can have serious negative effects. For example, hormones, weight, energy levels, brain function, and your immune system all depend on you getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night. Every time you compromise sleep, you put yourself at a greater risk for becoming ill or otherwise negatively impacted. Many people wonder if they are actually getting enough sleep, and most likely are not.

On average, adults 18 and over need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. You would think that because so much depends on maintaining a good sleep schedule, sleep would be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Unfortunately, sleep is often neglected in place of projects, socializing, and anything else ‘more exciting’. Enough with compromising. We have compiled the 10 best tips for getting an overall better night’s sleep.

1. Get to know your sleep-wake cycle

Your body has an inner clock (Circadian Rhythm), and it is imperative that you tap into it. You will feel so much more refreshed when you are getting the same amount of sleep each night. This is accomplished by establishing a bedtime, yes, even on weekends. Your body is able to set its internal clock and optimize your sleep experience.

2.Limit light exposure at bedtime

Many people struggle with this step. Between cellphones, laptops, and television, we are surrounded by light that can be quite damaging to our sleep schedule. It is recommended that you avoid bright screens 1-2 hours before attempting to go to bed. The blue light emitted is detrimental to falling asleep, and not to mention enticing. People may also fall asleep with the television, and this isn’t great either. The light from a television suppresses melatonin and causes distraction. If you’re one of those people who needs background noise to sleep, try setting a sleep timer of the television so it automatically turns off.

3. Maintain a healthy diet

This tip is fairly obvious. A healthy diet is crucial to every facet of your life, but especially sleep. To better enhance your sleep experience, you should avoid drinking caffeine later in the day. Caffeine can stay in your system 10-12 hours after drinking it, so make sure 2 that your caffeine fix happens earlier in the day. As well, eating big meals late at night can pose a challenge to falling asleep. Sleeping with a full stomach can be uncomfortable and slow down your body’s digestion process leading to weight gain. Cutting down on sugars and refined carbs as much as possible is another important asset. Be cognizant of what you are eating and when to achieve better sleep.

4. Exercise during the day

Exercise, like sleep, is crucial and should be done daily. Believe it or not, participating in some sort of exercise every day directly leads to better sleep. This could be as simple as going on a 10 minute walk every day or as vigorous starting a YouTube workout series. It is recommended, however, that more vigorous exercise be completed at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. Regular exercise limits the symptoms of insomnia and leaves you feeling better. The later in the day you exercise, the more elevated your heart rate and stimulated your hormones are. This can lead to increased difficulty in falling asleep.

5. Learn how to fall back asleep

Many people experience waking up at some point in the night, but learning how to coax yourself back to sleep crucial. The most important thing is to stay out of your head. The moment you become stressed about not being able to fall asleep, this triggers the more active parts of your brain into waking. Visualization techniques as a means to relax can be very helpful in these situations. You cannot let yourself get into a brainstorming session, but focus as much as you can on relaxing as a means to fall back asleep.

6. Calm down the mind

With sleep, so much can be mind over matter. Creating a bedroom environment that promotes rest is crucial. There are a variety of breathing techniques that can help calm you down and encourage rest. Keeping the noise level down as much as possible helps eliminate distraction and create a sense of calm. Administering a bedtime ritual may help in relaxing and calming the mind.

7. Keep your room cool

Since your body temperature falls while you are asleep, maintaining a cool room (60°-68°F) is necessary. A cooler room helps you stay asleep, and assists your body in the cool down process. If your bedroom is too hot, this could lead to being woken up in the middle of the night and feeling restless.

8. Limit your daytime naps

Let’s be realistic, some days are difficult and a nap can melt those troubles away. If you are a daytime napper, 30 minutes seems to be the sweet spot. These naps can actually improve brain function and focus, but any longer and it has the opposite effect. This is because sleeping during the day can disrupt your sleep rhythm and make it even more difficult to fall asleep at night. Trying your best to cut out irregular and long naps during the day is crucial to achieving the best night sleep.

9. Wind down outside of the bedroom

If you are struggling with sleeping, try going into a different room to unwind before laying in bed. This separation is good for your brain to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. Often people will do work or watch television in bed, and this is counterproductive as well. Your mind should associate getting into bed with being time to fall asleep. The more you do in your bed, the increasingly more challenging it becomes for your brain to recognize it as a place of rest.

10. Amplify your sleep environment

Like the princess and the pea, maybe there’s a problem with your mattress that is keeping you awake at night. Believe it or not, there is a life expectancy on mattresses of 9-10 years, so it may be time to part ways. You make compromises throughout the day, don’t let a comfortable sleep be another one. Make sure your covers are comfortable and sheets are soft. If you prefer having multiple pillows, find yourself more pillows! Be particular. Sleep is important to every other facet of your life, so it should be as enjoyable as possible.

Sleep helps us accomplish every task we need to throughout the day. Without proper sleep, we become irritable and unhealthy (mentally and physically). So the next time you think pulling an all-nighter or running on less than the recommended amount of sleep is okay, reconsider. It is important to note that if you feel like you have tried everything and are still struggling with sleeping, you may consider looking into a sleep specialist. Sleep is crucial, so stop compromising it.

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Natalia Korsakova

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