Millions of people around the world struggle with this nuisance: a lack of sleep. Whether it be tossing and turning from insomnia, or just not getting a truly restful sleep, most of us would like to improve our sleeping habits. From your productivity to your health, getting more sleep can make all the difference in your life. If you want to feel more rested every day, check out these six doctor-recommended ways to get better sleep:
1. Cut Back On the Caffeine
This one may seem a little obvious, but most people choose to willfully ignore it. You probably know that caffeine wakes you up and makes you more alert. That’s why we’re so dependent on it in the morning! While we all love our Starbucks, it’s important to keep your caffeine consumption to a minimum if you want to improve your sleep. It’s best to limit yourself to one to two cups of coffee per day. Timing is also key when it comes to caffeine consumption and sleep. We recommend not drinking any caffeine after 5Pm, otherwise you’ll be fully awake when it’s time to go to bed.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is an excellent way to improve your sleep quality. How many of us toss and turn at night because we are worrying about a million different things? Stress is a major cause of insomnia and this is where exercise comes in. When we exercise, it releases endorphins. Endorphins decrease our stress levels, which makes us more relaxed. You don’t need to exercise immediately before bed, but getting in at least 20 minutes of moderate activity later in the afternoon can really help you get to sleep easier.
3. Change Your Sleeping Environment
Environment can seriously affect the way you sleep. If you want to improve your sleep quality, you may need to make some changes to your sleeping environment. This could be altering the temperature, whether it be making the room colder or warmer. Many people find that a certain pillow or particular blanket drastically improves their sleep quality. For example, some people use weighted blankets to improve their sleep. Things like aromatherapy can also help make your sleeping environment better by producing a calming effect in the room.
4. Avoid Alcohol
This one may be hard, but it makes a major difference. Frequent alcohol consumption can alter the body’s natural rhythms and make it more difficult to fall asleep or get a restful sleep. Doctors suggest limiting alcohol consumption to special occasions, so that it is unlikely to interfere with your body’s natural inclination to fall asleep.
5. Improve Your Diet
What we eat has a huge impact on how our body functions and this includes how we sleep. Certain foods can produce uncomfortable physical effects that make it harder to get a restful night’s sleep. For example, spicy or acidic foods can aggravate acid reflux. Having an episode of acid reflux before bedtime will make it nearly impossible to fall asleep. Before bedtime, stick to foods that do not irritate you. Also, stay away from anything high in sugar content, as excess sugar will keep you awake.
6. Stick To A Routine
Perhaps the best way to get better sleep is to stick to a schedule (as much as you can). Lying down at the same time every night will help your body become adjusted to winding down at that time. Even keeping the rest of your day on schedule will help as well. Try to eat dinner around the same time every night, so that your body digests at the same time and is ready to go to sleep.