People do a lot of efforts for staying fit and eating healthy. But they forget about one of the most important activities in our daily routine. Most people overlook sleep hygiene.
Sleep is the rehabilitation period for your mind and muscles. A good sleep hygiene plays a vital role in metal as well as physical growth. A disturbed sleep routine can cause fatigue, lack of attention, and weight gain (1). On the other hand, better sleep can help in dieting, exercise performance and better brain functioning (2).
So, don’t be a person who overlooks sleep. Work and plan a routine that leads to a better sleep at night.
We have compiled a list of 35 proven tips and tricks that you can include in your daily routine to encourage better sleep in the later part of the day.
1. Adjust your body clock for better sleep.
It is very crucial to maintain your sleep and wake up time especially during weekends and on holidays. As you wake up and sleep at a set time each day. Your body and brain become aware of the sleep routine and as bedtime comes close, your brain starts to wind down until you go to sleep.
Get a complete sleep and try to wakeup naturally without anyone waking you up or getting up by an alarm clock.
2. Avoid Caffeine and its hidden sources.
Coffee and tea are the most popular sources of caffeine. They are consumed by a great number of the earthly population in breakfast as a get starter for the daily routine. But note that caffeine is the biggest enemy of sleep. So, do avoid caffeine in the afternoon and most notably in the evening.
Some foods that contain caffeine are chocolate, cola, red bull, coffee flavored ice cream, black tea, green tea, and monsters original. Even some pain relief pills, and weight loss medications also contain caffeine, so it is advised to read the medication label for better understanding.
3. Do not take longer naps during daytime.
Taking a quick snooze is beneficial and rejuvenating on a tiring day. Taking long naps can simply destroy your sleep routine. So, stick to 20 to 30 minutes nap in the daytime to avoid sleeplessness at night.
As you get sleepy on a low energy afternoon, divert your mind from sleep with a quick outdoor walk, play video games, or start a conversation with your spouse or kids.
4. Get some bright light exposure in the day.
As you wake up in the morning, it is a great practice to get a 10 to 30 minutes sunlight exposure. Bright light tells your brain to get active and ready for the day. Sunlight exposure not only helps you to stay healthy and energetic in day, it also improves your sleep quality and sleep duration at night.
For people who are struggling with sleeplessness, the sunlight or artificial bright light exposure during the day also results in faster transition to sleep. It helps to fall asleep faster. If sitting under sunlight is not possible, you can get bright light devices to cope up with this issue.
5. Avoid contact with blue light in the evening.
Getting bright light during day is very beneficial but on the other hand light exposure in evening can disturb your sleep timings. The reason is bright light exposure in the evening tricks your brain to think that it is still day. So, the brain does not wind down and once the sleep time arrives you will have difficulty in falling asleep.
Note that if you are using an artificial source of bright light, get the bright light session in the afternoon or in morning. Do not get bright light exposure close to bedtime.
6. Get Rid of alcohol and its sources.
Having a beer can at night may help you in falling asleep faster. However, it is not a good option when it comes to the overall sleep performance. It affects the production of sleep hormones in your body. Daily consumption of alcohol is a major cause of sleep apnea, snoring, and a disturbed sleep pattern.
Another thing is that fluid intake close to bedtime results in frequent visits to the bathroom as the night proceeds.
7. Make you bedroom heaven for a good sleep.
It is extremely important to create a bedroom environment that encourages sleep. There can be a number of things that you can do in the room to setup a soothing and sleepy room environment.
Be conscious about external noises. They prevent you from falling asleep quickly. They can also disrupt your sleep in the form of unwanted wakeups during the night. Do not let any external light disturb you as you sleep be it the light coming from a side way lamp post or light beams from a car across the street. You can use sleeping headphones and sleep mask to get rid of external noises and the unwanted lights that can disturb your sleep.
Keep your bedroom clean, comfy and relaxing. Use a good quality mattress or a mattress topper if you have an old mattress. Beautify your room with curtains, pretty bedsheets, and inspiring wall paint. Make your room a place that pleases mood and makes you happy.
8. Don’t eat dinner close to bedtime.
Dinner as it is the last meal of the day. It is directly connected with your sleep. Eating dinner close to bedtime, activates your metabolism. As digestion is a chemical process that break food into energy in your stomach, the digestion process increases temperature of your body that can prevent you from getting a good quality sleep.
On the other hand, as you have just had dinner, you will feel heavy and bloated in bed that will make falling to sleep quite difficult. It is greatly practiced to eat dinner 2 to 3 hours before bedtime for a better sleep performance (3).
9. Use melatonin-based sleeping aids if needed but with caution.
We highly advice to take doctor’s prescription before using any sleep supplement. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that is responsible for drowsiness. When melatonin in your body reaches a certain capacity, it tells your brain to wind down, relax, and go to bed.
Although there are many sleep aid supplements out there but melatonin-based sleeping pills are very popular among masses. It is a front-line treatment for insomnia, and it helps people to fall asleep faster.
See the most popular melatonin sleep supplements online.
Please remember that taking sleeping pills for long time can become a habit. Sleeping pills are a short-term solution for sleeplessness. It gives you time to adjust your sleeping habits and make better changes in your routine that encourages sleep.
10. Consider vitamins and natural supplement for better sleep.
Take your vitamins and make some natural sleep aids a part of your routine.
Vitamin D helps in better sleep overall. Iron deficiency may lead to restless leg syndrome that is people move their legs while on bed that can make it hard for them to fall asleep.
Ginkgo biloba is a relaxation and stress reduction herb that can be used as a natural sleep aid. Valerian root helps in improving sleep quality especially in the later cycles of your sleep. Magnesium, amino acid and glycine can be used to improve relaxation. You can also try Lavender as it is a natural herb that induces calmness and satisfactory feelings to get better sleep.
Note that you should take these supplements one at a time and do consult with a sleep practitioner before using them. Remember these supplements are not some kind of magic pills. They can only work with an overall sleep improvement strategy.
See the best sleep vitamins that you can buy online.
11. Set a cool and comfy bedroom temperature.
The comforting room temperature may differ from person to person. Generally, people get the best out of sleep in a cool room, approximately at 20° C or 18° C. It is also important to keep the room well ventilated so that you can have adequate air flow within the room.
Human body temperature and room temperature plays a vital role in falling asleep faster, getting better sleep, and discourage wakefulness. However, a room that is too cool or too hot can either way effect your sleep. So, experiment with different room temperatures until you find the most suitable one for you.
12. Wind down and relax in the evening.
Relaxing and winding down are the most effective sleep technique out there. A calm and relaxed mind is best to fall asleep quicker and get an uninterrupted good quality sleep.
You can practice pre-sleep activities that helps you clear your mind and relax. These activities can be listening to some soft music, reading a novel, deep breathing, meditation, listening to some standup comics or visualizing positive scenarios with your imagination. Test different activities and see what works for you the most.
13. Get rid of your alarm clock.
When we fall on bed and can’t sleep, our mind directs us to take a sneak peek several times on the clock just to see what the time is and how much time it’s been since we are trying to sleep.
This activity keeps your mind occupied on time and how much time you have till the wakeup time. All this can keep you awake. It is best to move the alarm clock out of your sight, in the drawer or just turn it off.
14. Avoid blue light of mobile and laptop screens.
As we discussed in previous headlines how light exposure is essential for sleep as it directs brain to identify whether it is the time to sleep or not, another thing that everyone should know is that blue light that are emitted from mobile, tv, or laptop screens also affects your sleep timings.
It is greatly recommended to get rid of devices that emit blue light or there are some methods that you can use to get rid of blue light emission. Wear special glasses that block blue light, get an eye care app for your smartphone and laptop, quit watching television 2 hours before bedtime.
See here the top-notch blue light blocking glasses online.
15. Sleep with a pillow between legs if suffering from backpain.
Lower back pain is the most common problem in our generation as most of us are doing office jobs that require long hours of sitting in an uncomfortable posture.
Lower back pain can affect our sleep in the worst way. A mild pain in back is enough to shatter the most restful part of sleep (REM sleep). So, it is wise to put a pillow between legs to support your hips and reduce stress on the lower back.
16. Reserve bed for only sleep and Sex.
Go to bed when it’s time for sleep. Performing task on the bed may affect your road to drowsiness. Make your bed a place for relaxation and pleasure. Don’t use laptop or do any office work while on bed. It is best to keep your work to the office desk. Try to wind down as you go to bed.
It is recommended to get out of bed as soon as you wake up and go to bed when you feel sleepy. Save your bed only for sleep and sex. Do not sit and watch tv or use social media as you lay down in your bed. Perform these activities in your home office or in the lounge.
17. Take rejuvenating bath before bed.
A calm and relaxed body is the best resource that inspires sleep. After a tiring day, taking a relaxing bath helps to wind down and encourages quality sleep. A bath before bed, revitalizes your metabolism and it relaxes your conscious. Keep it as a to-do task in your pre-bed routine and see yourself how this activity enhances your sleep quality.
18. Properly cover your mattress with bedsheet.
As the time passes, your mattress becomes a colony of molds, yeast, dust mites and other micro bacterial organisms. They cause allergies, sneezes, and itchiness if they come in contact with your body or get into the nose. These allergies make it difficult to fall asleep. So, it is extremely important to cover the mattress, pillows or mattress topper properly with bed sheet.
19. Do exercise regularly, not close to bedtime.
Getting your body active with regular exercises is very crucial for your physical health. It also helps in getting a good night sleep. The reason is that when you exercise in the afternoon, your body exert energy and as the sleep time arrives you become tired. This tiredness helps in dozing off.
However, do not perform any intensive exercises close to bed as the burst of energy can disturb your sleep routine. Complete any high intensity exercises 3 – 4 hours before bedtime.
20. Choose a pillow that is comfortable and supportive.
Choose your pillow wisely. A pillow that is not supportive may result in stiffness and cramps on neck and shoulders. Each person has its own preferences, a pillow that suits me – may not suit you. Generally, a pillow should be not too soft or not too hard. It should be of medium size and of medium firmness as it can support your neck when you sleep on the back.
Never compromise on the pillow. If a pillow is not giving you comfort, and support change it immediately.
21. Dim lights to winddown before bed.
Dim the lights of your house 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. A low light environment is ideal to instill sleep in your body. The dim lighting tells our body that the sun had gone down, and the sleep time is approaching. So, it is best to prepare and wind down for a good night sleep.
22. Listen to white noises while trying to sleep.
Loud and high pitch noises may distract your sleep. Contrary to this, white noises can help you sleep faster, and better. It is a pain in the neck, when you are trying to sleep, and the neighbor’s dog just starts to howl. For another instance parents of a toddler may encounter these issues the most. As they usually get a very disturbed sleep, all credit to the young angel sleeping in the crib.
To resolve the issue, get rid of all the noises as we have discussed in previous points. Also use a soothing white noise coming from a fan or a white noise machine to sleep well.
Checkout the latest and greatest white noise machines online.
23. Don’t take a lot of fluid before bed.
We all know that staying hydrated is very good for our health. But not before sleep as it affects your sleep and may also cause discomfort as you sleep.
The liquid in take may differ from person to person. This may sound weird but do not take any fluid 2 hours before bed. Consuming a lot of water results in excessive urination and you may have to go washroom several times.
These frequent wakeups will abolish your sleep cycles and you may feel tired and fatigued in the day. It is also best to use washroom before going to bed so that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of night.
24. Watch out for what you eat at night.
What you eat close to bedtime or even in dinner can affect your sleep. It is most likely to get a bloated stomach and digestive discomforts if you eat heavy and spicy meals at night.
Do not eat late at night. Eat your dinner 2 to 3 hours before going to bed and try to eat a moderate and light meal that is easy to digest. If you feel hungry before bed take a banana or some honey with bread.
25. Let go of smoking in the evening.
Smoking is not at all good for health. It is a sleep demon that just don’t let you take a good night sleep. The reason is that cigarettes and other tobacco sources have nicotine in an excessive amount. It does same damage as caffeine does to your sleep.
Nicotine not only keep your eyes wide open as you try to sleep, it makes the insomnia condition even worse.
26. Sleep in light comfortable clothing.
Getting all relaxed is quite important for a good night sleep. Sleep wearing cloths that are comfortable, not too tight, and are breathable to encourage sleep. It is a good choice to get a cotton night suit or wear a half sleeves t-shirt with a breathable trouser. Try to avoid clothes that are made from silk or nylon as they do not inspire ventilation and you may feel hotter at night. You can also sleep all naked if it makes you comfortable and advances you in a better mood for sleep.
27. Do not eat a sugary desert close to bed.
Eating sugar at night enhances the blood sugar in your body. Sugar is a form of energy. When we eat sugar, the energy is transferred into our body. The excessive energy keeps us alert and may give a difficult time as we try to sleep.
28. Keep pets out of bed or even bedroom.
Pets especially cats and dogs love to be with their owners that is why they convey sadness whenever their owner is going out. Pets just love to sleep with their owner, it makes them feel secure and loved. However, it is not a good option if you are a light sleeper. The pets while sleeping tends to switch positions a lot that may wake you up in the middle of night. So, it is best to keep pets out of bed so that you can enjoy an uninterrupted sleep.
29. Do not force if you can’t sleep.
Your body recovers from daily stress as you sleep. You can not get a good night sleep with an engaged mind. If you can’t sleep 15 to 20 minutes after going to bed. Get out of the bed and try some relaxing activities until you feel sleepy.
30. Get relax and take sleep time tea.
I know that we have told you not to take tea or coffee in the evening. However, there are some special tea leaves that can help you sleep better and faster. They keep your senses calm and help induce sleep in your eyes just like sandman. Take chamomile tea and other herbal tea leaves that do not have caffeine in them.
31. Do not do any brain intensive task after dinner.
After eating dinner, the next task that one should focus on is to calm down and get ready for bedtime. Just leave any hectic discussion or any complicated task for the working hours. It is best to just turn off the work switch for the day and if got a lot to do, pass them onto the next day’s to-do list.
32. Light stretching, or meditation is good before bed.
When you are about to go for bed, do a 10-minutes stretching or go under a calming meditation posture. It will help you clear your mind from any negativity that is bothering you. From personal experience, mindful breathing has done wonders for me. Just try it out with some soothing white noises that will make you feel close to nature.
33. Make a gratitude list, each day.
One of the key issues with us is that we want to feel competitive and accomplished each day. We humans are very focused on things that we don’t have and want to have. This expression makes us feel dissatisfied and may lead to sleepless nights. Just be thankful to God. End your day with a pleasant prayer. Write all the things that you have and all the thing that you feel accomplished about before going to bed.
34. Maintain a sleep diary for better sleep analysis.
This a slight professional approach that one can use to monitor sleep. Maintain a sleep diary. It is not that much hard. Just take a notepad and monitor the exact time when you go to bed, the time you wake up, and also guess duration that it takes you to fall asleep. Construct a routine that encourage better sleep. Monitor your sleep activities and see whether the routine is helping or not. If not, make some slight changes until you get your sleep schedule fixed.
If you do not want to monitor sleep manually, you can opt for a sleep tracker that will monitor your sleep and organize data into graphs, charts, and tables to give you a better understanding.
35. Visit a sleep practitioner for help.
Don’t overlook your sleep hygiene. If you are facing sleeping issues for about a month or more, then it is most important to get some help from a sleep practitioner. He will address all your issues and check if you are suffering from some sort of sleep disorder.
Some medications given for anxiety and depression can promote sleeplessness. Do tell your sleep consultant about the medications that you are taking.
All these tips may seem overwhelming. You have gone through all 35 tips. Now just make a sleep plan of 5 to 7 sleep activities. Practice them for a week or two and if they do not give you expected results replace them with some new activities and practice again.
Keep moving forward towards a balanced sleep hygiene, until you find the most suitable sleep plan for you.