It is common knowledge that each adult should aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night. However, some people might be unfamiliar with how to improve sleep quality. Consider implementing these practical suggestions to help your body consistently get a good night’s sleep.
Maximize light intake during the day
According to Healthline.com, light intake during the day plays an important role in maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. This, in turn, regulates your body, brain and hormones to signal to your body when to stay awake and when to fall asleep. Increasing your exposure to bright light during the day will improve your sleep quality and length.
Minimize blue light intake in the evening
It’s a good idea to unplug from social media and other electronic devices 2 hours before bed. This is because the blue light emitted from these devices can signal your circadian rhythm to stay awake rather than fall asleep. Healthline.com suggests downloading blue light-blocking apps to your phone, laptop and other devices.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a set bedtime and wake time each day. Though many people like to sleep in on the weekends, this can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm and result in lower quality sleep.
Relax before bed
According to the National Sleep Foundation, doing a relaxing activity before bed can help your mind and body wind down for sleep. Taking a bath, journaling and meditating are just three calming habits to try.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake
Per Healthline.com, it’s important to cut off your caffeine intake at least six hours before bed. This is because caffeine has a 6-hour stimulation period that starts from the moment you drink a caffeinated beverage. Alcohol is another beverage to limit. According to Webmd.com, alcohol can make you fall asleep faster, but it reduces REM sleep.
Exercise each day
The National Sleep Foundation recommends exercising each day. Physical activity reduces stress and increases endorphins. This, in turn, will help you stay awake during the day and feel sleepy at bedtime. Try to avoid exercising within 2 hours of bedtime, however, as this could trigger your body to stay awake for longer at night.
Create a dark, quiet environment
Minimize noises in your room as much as possible. Consider purchasing a white noise maker or use a white noise app to help mask road noise or other environmental noises beyond your control. It is also important to make your room dark as possible, to signal to your body that it’s time to rest. The National Sleep Foundation suggests using black- out curtains and an eye mask.
Optimize your room temperature
The best temperature for quality sleep is somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, per the National Sleep Foundation. Use a fan or set your air conditioning system this temperature each night to enjoy deeper sleep.
Use your bed only for sleeping
The Mayo Clinic recommends using your bed for only sleep. This will condition your body to associate this physical place with that one activity. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, the Mayo Clinic recommends you leave your bed and go do something relaxing for a while until you feel sleepy.
Equipped with these simple strategies, you’re well on your way to getting a better night’s sleep on a regular basis.