10 Essential Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep | Stephen Coleclough
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10 Essential Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

10 Essential Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is a crucial part of staying fit and healthy.

It is considered important because the body uses the time you spend sleeping to perform many essential tasks including waste removal, rebuilding muscle tissue, and the balancing of hormone levels.

Failure to get enough sleep can also lead to some devastating consequences.

It can affect your mood, make it harder to lose weight, worsen cognitive performance, and cause various other negative impacts to your health.

If you fail to get sufficient sleep for many years, it can eventually increase the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.

To help you improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep, this article will share 10 essential tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

They are easy to implement and can dramatically improve your health.

#1 – Improve your sleep environment

The first tip for getting a better night’s sleep is to make some adjustments to your sleep environment.

These changes are designed to help you feel more comfortable in your bed.

They include:

  • Use thick curtains to cut down on external lights
  • Use air conditioning or fans to obtain a comfortable room temperature (around 20 degrees is ideal for most people)
  • Purchase a high quality mattress
  • Take steps to reduce the amount of sound entering your bedroom
  • Regularly wash your sheets and make your bed
  • Remove objects that emit artificial light, like alarm clocks
  • Keep your room clean 

#2 – Don’t drink alcohol before bed

Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol can help them get a better night’s sleep.

The reality is, although alcohol may help some people get to sleep, it may cause you to have a less restful sleep.

Several studies have shown that alcohol consumption can contribute to sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep.

#3 – Increase exposure to bright light during the day

The human body has an internal time-keeping clock called the circadian rhythm.

It is controlled by the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain.

When outside factors like the amount of visible light changes, the hypothalamus will release hormones that tell the body it is time for sleep.

The opposite happens in the morning, with the hypothalamus changing the levels of hormones it produces to help the body stay wide awake.

If you fail to get enough light exposure during the day, your circadian rhythm may become out of whack.

To avoid this occurring, be sure to obtain adequate light exposure by spending time outside every day.

The effectiveness of increasing bright light exposure is backed up by research, with one study finding that increasing exposure to bright light could improve sleep efficiency by 80%.

#4 – Be consistent about when you go to sleep and wake up

Researchers have also found that irregular sleep patterns can disrupt a person’s circadian rhythm and cause disrupted sleep.

To avoid this occurring, form a habit where you always go to bed and wake at a certain time.

#5 – Get plenty of exercise

Exercise has been scientifically proven to increase the quality and duration of sleep.

One study found that exercising regularly halved the amount of time it took to get asleep.

Multiple studies have also confirmed that exercise can reduce the symptoms of insomnia.

However, if you choose to exercise, do so well before your bed time as working out can  trigger the release of hormones that make you more alert.

#6 – Avoid using electronic devices before bed

While exposure to bright light during the day is beneficial for your circadian rhythm, it should be avoided at night.

That means limiting exposure to to televisions, mobile phones, tablets, computers, and other electronic devices in the hours before going to bed.

It’s also important to understand that the nature of the light produced by these devices is different to sunlight, with electronic devices producing more “blue light”.

Blue light is high on the light spectrum, with a very short wavelength and high level of energy.

Exposure to this kind of light can disrupt your circadian rhythm even faster than natural light.

Some steps you can take to prevent blue light from disrupting your sleep include:

  • Avoid using electronic devices at least two hours before your bed time
  • Purchase glasses that block blue light
  • Use apps on your electronic devices that reduce the blue light they emit (some devices like the Apple iMac will have a low blue light feature built into the operating system)

#7 – Take a melatonin supplement

Melatonin is one of the hormones that tells the brain when it is time to sleep.

If you are experiencing insomnia or disrupted sleep, you could try taking a melatonin supplement to help you drift off.

Melatonin supplements can also be useful when traveling and trying to adjust to a new time zone.

A variety of other supplements have also been scientifically proven to help with relaxation and sleep including:

  • Lavender
  • Magnesium
  • Valerian Root
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Glycine 

#8 – Don’t consume caffeine close to your bedtime

This one should be a no-brainer but it may be worth repeating.

Caffeine is a useful substance that actually provides has some health benefits.

However, the alertness that caffeine provides can interfere with your ability to get to sleep.

Because caffeine can stay in your system for between 6 to 8 hours, avoid having caffeinated beverages after 3pm if you struggle to get to sleep. 

You should also avoid strong sources of caffeine like energy drinks.

#9 – Don’t eat late at night

Researchers have discovered that late night eating can interfere with the release of hormones that promote sleep, including melatonin and HGH.

This particularly true for high-carb snacks like cookies, ice cream, chocolate and cake (which people often eat as a late night snack).

Avoid snacking to see if it has a positive effect on the quality of your sleep.

#10 – Perform some relaxation techniques before bed

It can often be difficult to calm down after a frantic day at work or school, which makes it much more difficult to get to sleep.

Fortunately, there are a range of relaxation techniques you can use to calm your mind and prepare for sleep.

The best techniques include:

  • Meditating
  • Reading a book
  • Having a massage
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Practicing deep breathing

I hope you found the tips in 10 Essential Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep useful!

Do you have any tips that you would like to include?

Leave a comment below.

Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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