We have all heard that regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for one’s health and well being. However, there’s another component that’s as important as those two, and that’s sleep. Here are our evidence-based tips for better sleep at night:
Have Sunlight Exposure During the Day
Your body has a circadian rhythm that works as a natural time-keeping clock that keeps you awake and tells your body when it is time to sleep.
Natural sunlight during the day keeps the circadian rhythm healthy. If you can’t get sunlight during the day, any bright light can work as well.
Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can significantly improve sleep quality and duration.
Cut Back Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Being exposed to light during the day is beneficial. But, being exposed to light during the evening has the opposite effect.
The light keeps you awake, and if you want to sleep better, you should cut back blue light exposure during the evening. The blue light which electronic devices emit keeps you from falling asleep.
It’s best to turn off any bright lights 2 hours before going to bed.
Or you can wear glasses that block blue light or use an app that blocks blue light on your laptop or computer.
Avoid Long Daytime Naps
Short power naps can increase your energy and productivity during the day, but long daytime naps can negatively affect your nighttime sleep.
Long naps during the day can confuse your internal clock, leaving it to struggle to sleep at night.
In case you have problems sleeping at night, stop napping or make your naps shorter.
Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions according to sunrise and sunset. Irregular sleep patterns may disrupt your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep.
If you struggle with sleep, try to be consistent with your sleep and waking times. It may take time for your body to get used to it, but there can be long-term sleep quality improvements.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that signals your brain when it’s time to sleep.
In one study, people took 2 mg of melatonin before bed and they had improved sleep quality and energy the next day. They also reported they started falling asleep faster.
Melatonin is also useful in fighting jet lag when you travel to a new time zone. It helps your body’s circadian rhythm to go back to normal.
Since melatonin may alter brain chemistry, you should definitely check with your doctor before using it.
Pay Attention to Your Bedroom Environment
Temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement in your bedroom are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep.
Numerous studies suggest that external noise, often from traffic, can affect your sleep greatly, it can even lead to long-term health issues.
In one study on the bedroom environment in which participated only women, around 50% of them had improved sleep quality when noise and light were reduced.
So, your bedroom needs to be a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
Avoid Eating Late in the Evening
Snacking late at night can negatively affect sleep quality and the natural release of melatonin.
In one study, a high carb meal which the participants ate 4 hours before bed helped them fall asleep faster.
Interestingly, another study found out that a low carb diet can lead to improved sleep. However, they pointed out that carbs aren’t always necessary, especially if you’re not used to eating them a lot.