Good sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health and happiness. But it’s not always easy to get enough of it. In fact, over 50% of Americans suffer from severe cases of sleep disorder, including chronic insomnia each year. And this is a strikingly large number considering the high importance of sleep.
In this article, we’ll share some major do’s and dont’s of better sleep and some helpful tips on improving your sleep quality so that you can enjoy better rest every night.
The DO’s of better sleep generally comprise sleeping habits and patterns that not only ensure you get a good night’s rest but also that you wake up feeling very refreshed and ready to take on the day.
1. Do Eat a Protein-Rich Dinner
You may not have heard this before, but the kind of food you eat just before bedtime can have a very significant impact on your sleep. This is particularly why food always arises when conversations about the do’s and dont’s of better sleep are being had.
Eating a protein-rich dinner is essential for better sleep as protein acts as a key macronutrient that helps you stay full longer and enables you to maintain a healthy weight.
Seeing that protein helps you feel full, it ultimately helps prevent overeating. When you eat a high-protein meal, your body slowly releases the hormone ghrelin into your bloodstream—this causes your stomach to churn and signals hunger.
The result of this is that your stomach has ample time and capacity to digest your meals faster and this allows you to go to bed feeling lighter rather than heavy.
On the other hand, protein also stimulates muscle growth (which means more lean mass), reduces inflammation in the body, and boosts immunity—all of which are important for good health overall.
Research has shown that going to bed on a full stomach can cause indigestion, gastrointestinal discomfort, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), all of which are hardly a recipe for better sleep.
As such, if you want to increase your chances of having better sleep, eating a protein-rich dinner should be your preferred choice.
2. Do Go To Bed At The Same Time Every Night
Not only is going to bed at the same time every night one of the most important things you can do for your body but so also is waking up at the same time each day. This is because it helps your body get used to wakefulness and regularity. And when your body does, it’s a lot easier for you to go through your day with bouts of energy as opposed to an irregularity in your sleeping schedule.
The body likes routine, consistency, predictability, order, and familiarity. Going through these motions will make sure that you get a good night’s sleep every single night.
If you’ve been having a very irregular sleeping pattern, you may want to plan out a more steady one. This way, your body doesn’t have to feel overly worn out during the day, and as such, you’ll feel better rested.
3. Do Take a Few Minutes to Wind Down
Before proceeding to go to bed, it’s important that you take a few minutes to wind down. This will help your body gradually ease out from the day’s activities, especially if it was a very hectic one, and be rightly positioned and prepared for a good night’s sleep. To a large extent, this can help you get better sleep.
You can wind down by taking a warm shower or bath or even reading for a few minutes. If meditating is your thing, it will surely help to try some relaxation exercises like deep breathing and stretching. You can listen to some relaxing music too, or, in other case, make it yourself.
If you had a long and stressful day, and feel some tension in your joints and muscles, you can visit a chiropractor too, to help you ease the pressure in these areas.
Write in your journal if you want! It’s a great way to get lost in thoughts without worrying about them too much. This is particularly what we should be doing anyway when we’re sleeping more soundly than ever before.
4. Do Sleep Under the Right Temperature
Research has shown that your body temperature decreases during sleep and this explains why we tend to feel really cold at night. And this can significantly disrupt your sleep and make it less satisfying for you.
To ensure you have better sleep, be sure to sleep at the right temperature. Before lying on the bed, you can set the thermostat in your room or the airconditioner so that it’s a little cooler than normal. This will ensure that when you’re asleep, your body temperature and that of the room balance out. If you don’t have a thermostat or air conditioner, you can keep the windows in your room open so cool air can come in before you go to bed.
If the room is too hot or too cold or dry or humid, it’s best you do not sleep in it. If lighting is inhibiting you from getting the temperature you want in your room, you can contact the lighting company, to relay electric problems, or an electrician to fix wiring issues where applicable.
At the end of the day, you’ll see that sleeping under the right temperature is one of the most important do’s of better sleep.
5. Do Purchase a Mattress That Suits You
A very common mistake that a lot of people make when purchasing a mattress is to go with anyone that the salesperson recommends. They fail to look into the mattress thoroughly and consider whether or not they’ll be comfortable on it.
The mattress that we sleep on, can, by and large, determine whether we get a night of very restful sleep or not. This is particularly why on your next visit to the mattress store, ensure you properly inspect the mattress before purchasing it, and consider your sleeping habits too.
If possible, to ensure you’ll be very comfortable using it, you can lie on it on your preferred sleeping side before going on to make the decision to purchase it. If you just had facial fillers, lying on your back for a minimum of 2 weeks is the preferred sleeping position. So be sure to confirm how comfortable this position will be for you on the bed before finally buying it.
Now that we have had a rundown of the essential Do’s of better sleep, it is equally important to understand what the Dont’s of better sleep are so we best know what should and shouldn’t be done to ensure we have better night rests.
The Dont’s of better sleep generally comprises sleeping habits and patterns that can significantly disrupt and affect your sleep, and consequently, leave you with heavy eyes all through the day.
1. Don’t Try to Sleep Eight Hours Every Night
It is important to note that sleep needs vary from person to person. While some people require more than eight hours of shut-eye, others may need less. So, instead of following what the generalists say about the hours of sleep that you should have, it’s important that you find what works best for you.
You amount of activities that you indulge in for a particular season of your life may require that you rest more and in order times, you may not need so much. The key is finding out how much rest you need and then setting an alarm or routine that will help ensure that you get the right amount of rest each night.
If your body isn’t getting enough rest, it will try its best to compensate by creating more energy during the day—and this can lead to fatigue when trying to fall asleep at night. And if eventually, you end up sleeping in the wrong position, you may end up with neck pain and back pain.
Sticking to the general rule for sleeping hours is one of the major dont’s of better sleep that you should be careful not to fall into.
2. Don’t Drink Too Much Before Bed
Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it makes you have to pee more often. If you wake up in the middle of the night too frequently to use the bathroom, this can disrupt your sleep cycle and shorten the number of hours you spend asleep. Ultimately, this can cause fatigue during the day.
Also, if you drink alcohol while trying to fall asleep at night, it will make it harder for your body to regulate temperature and restful sleep patterns in general, and this isn’t ideal if getting better sleep is a priority for you.
As much as you can, try not drinking any fluids prior to going into bed (or even after) because they contain caffeine which keeps us awake longer than you may need.
3. Don’t Expose Yourself to Blue Light Before Bed
Blue light is the light from electronic devices, such as computers and cell phones. It can disrupt your sleep by affecting your circadian rhythm, melatonin levels, and REM sleep.
Circadian rhythms are the body’s internal clocks that determine when you feel tired or alert during the day (for example, if you’re awake at 3 pm).
When you look at your phone screen or any other screen that will expose you to blue light before bedtime, even if they’re off, they can throw off your circadian rhythms enough to make us groggy in the morning.
Melatonin is produced by our bodies when it’s dark out (around 10 pm). When we wake up after being exposed to bright lights during the day, especially blue ones like those emitted by tablets and TVs, there’s less melatonin left in our system so we feel tired or less alert than usual until darkness falls again once more (and maybe again).
This cycle also happens every night when someone gets home from work/school. However, it doesn’t happen as strongly because people tend not to stay up all night anymore since most people now have jobs where they need some sort of early morning hours before heading to work themselves.
Generally, limiting exposure to blue light can help you get better sleep at night or even during the day if you need it.
4. Don’t Get Out of Bed Until You Feel Sleepy
It’s a common mistake to try to stay awake as long as possible before falling asleep, but doing so can actually make it harder for your body to fall asleep altogether. And this can result in shorter sleep time and can be a major cause for dozing off at work during the day or people having trouble falling asleep at night, even though they have been working in shifts or on nights where there is minimal activity around them, their minds still know what time they should be going home.
If we let ourselves drift off only when we feel tired (and not before), then our minds will know what needs to be done next, and no longer need to distract us from getting some restful shut-eye.
And there you have it: our top tips for getting better sleep.
Getting enough rest is the best thing that can happen to your body and mind. Sleep helps your body repair itself and recover from stress, so if you’re not getting enough restful hours of shut-eye each night—or if you have trouble sleeping—it could be because of something else going on within the body or mind. Practicing better habits can help you get better sleep.
Make sure that whatever time zone/city/country your bedtime falls in (if applicable) is conducive(ed). If there’s any chance that work may keep you awake at night due to deadlines or responsibilities outside of your regular duties at home (e.g., taking care of pets), then try moving those meetings earlier in the day so they don’t interfere with sleep patterns.
Get rid of any bad habits around getting ready for bed such as drinking caffeine drinks before heading off into dreamland, smoking cigarettes, eating fatty foods, drinking alcohol prior to hitting the sack, and so on.
We hope these tips will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.