I’m sure you know how important sleep is. But sleeping for 7 or 8 hours a night is not enough – you have to get quality deep sleep.
What do I mean by quality sleep? It’s simply, falling asleep quickly and not getting up in the middle of the night (uninterrupted sleep).
Sleep interruptions can reduce your sleep-time by hours. May be you’ve tried fall asleep in the middle of the night but thoughts started crossing the mind – “What time is the meeting tomorrow? I have to do laundry…Have I paid the electricity bill?” And before you know it, light is coming through the window.
Poor sleeping habits don’t just make you wake up with headaches and feeling tired – they can cause weight gain, increase stress and cause other health problems.
Now, you don’t have to shut your eyes and hope to fall asleep the next time you lose sleep. Here are 20 ways to get quality sleep every night.
How to get the best sleep every night
#1 Practice relaxation techniques
A study conducted by Harvard University found that doing relaxation exercises like yoga can increase sleep duration and help you fall asleep fast.
Don’t worry if yoga is not your thing. Stretching or deep breathing can also help you sleep better. Anybody can practice deep breathing without effort. So do the deep breathing technique below, every time you get in bed.
To begin – sit upright, cross your legs and close your eyes then start breathing through your nose.
Inhale for a count of three – hold your breath for a count of two, and then exhale, counting out for four. Repeat this cycle for 10 minutes. If the 3 – 4 count is low for you, increase the breathing lengths to 5 in and 7 out.
Try this tonight and let me know if you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep deeply.
#2 Keep the bedroom cold
Did you know that your body temperature has an impact on how well you sleep? And did you further know that the room temperature affects the quality of sleep?
You’ll sleep better in a cold room than in a hot one. Use a thermostat to regulate the room temperatures – set it at 65 degrees. If you don’t have one – use a fan, or use a light blanket, or sleep naked.
Lastly, avoid doing anything that will raise your body temperatures before you sleep. If you’re feeling warm take a cold shower.
#3 Avoid all stimulants
Stay away from cigarettes, alcohol and caffeinated drinks in the evening.
You probably know that drinking tea and coffee reduces quality of sleep. But you also have to check beverage labels, some of them (especially energy booster) contain caffeine.
And while alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it may disrupt sleep in the middle of the night.
#4 Keep your bedroom dark
Light interferes with sleep so keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
You see, the brain releases the hormone melatonin when it’s dark and this makes us sleepy. But light makes the body produce less melatonin – making us alert.
First, block any light from outside – buy curtains that completely block light or use thick sheets to cover the window. Second, turn off all electronic devices and don’t use LED bulbs in the bedroom because they glow when switched off.
#5 Turn off all gadgets 30 minutes before bed
The blue light emitted by gadgets like the TV, phones and laptops can reduce the quality of your sleep.
In fact, researchers found that this blue light reduces production of melatonin at twice rate than other lights do. Surprisingly, red light has no effect on sleep. So you can replace LED lights with red bulbs.
Checking email and chatting with friends while in bed will reduce the quality of your sleep. Turn off the TV and stop using the phone 30 minutes before you sleep.
In fact, phones emit radiation which hinders deep sleep so keep them away from the bed. Use a real alarm clock instead of the phone. Keep the laptop away from the bed as well.
#6 Avoid confrontational situations
Arguments and stressful situations raise cortisol levels. And cortisol makes it hard to fall asleep and get deep sleep.
In fact, any situation that evokes emotion can affect sleep. You’ll notice that it takes longer to fall asleep immediately after watching an exciting or scary movie – another reason to turn off the TV early.
To get the best sleep you have to get in bed in a relaxed mood.
#7 Exercise regularly
Scientists have not been able to clearly explain why exercise improves quality of sleep. But we can all agree that more exercise equals better sleep.
A US National Sleep Foundation’s study found that people who exercised vigorously reported sleeping deeply twice as those who didn’t.
So the intensity of your workouts will affect how well you sleep. A full body workout will give you better sleep than a 20-minute walk.
The researchers also discovered that the time you exercise affects sleep. Exercising right before you sleep raises body temperatures and reduces quality of sleep. It takes about six hours for the body to cool down after exercise. So avoid exercising at night.
#8 Make your bedroom quiet
Noise is a big problem for folks who live in the city. It’s hard to sleep with city traffic, noisy neighbors, dogs barking, and so on.
Use white noise to block the noise from outside (white noise will help you sleep better). Buy a machine that generates white noise or use a fan. Alternatively, you can wear earplugs.
#9 Use sleep-friendly scents
Some scents can make you relax and sleep better. Light a scented candle 20 minutes before you get in bed.
This study by Wheeling Jesuit University found that participants slept deeper when they used the scent of Jasmine.
Other scents that have been known to aid sleep include: sandalwood, bergamot and lavender. All these scents can be bought in liquid form. Just add a few drops of any of them to water and sprinkle it on your beddings before you sleep.
#10 Avoid big meals before bedtime
A full stomach will make you feel restless throughout the night. Avoiding eating right before you sleep – it will not only help you sleep better, but it’ll also make it easy for you to manage weight.
Try not to eat past 8 p.m. Note that spicy and acidic food can cause heartburn and stomach upsets.
#11 Invest in a good bed
We spend one third of our lives in our beds. So it’s only right we make them as comfortable as possible.
Having a cozy mattress, soft sheets and a good pillow can give you quality deep sleep.
If your beddings are not comfy, start saving and buy new ones.
#12 Establish a sleeping pattern
Most folks sleep when they’re sleepy and get up when they have to. This approach throws off the body makes it hard to sleep deeply.
Try to go to bed and wake up the same time, every day. Sticking to your sleeping pattern will help you sleep better than you would if you slept the same hours but different times.
Try to avoid sleeping in even on the weekends.
#13 Remove clutter and distractions from the bedroom
You should use the bedroom for two things only – sleep and sexual activities.
An untidy bedroom can reduce the quality of sleep. A study conducted in 2015 found that there’s a direct link between clutter and sleeping disorder.
Go ahead today and organize your bedroom – collect any clothes or books scattered around, and most importantly – get rid of the TV.
And I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that sex improves sleep. It increases levels of oxytocin in the body – a hormone which hinders the release of cortisol.
#14 Banish pets from the bedroom
Pets are not deep sleepers and chances are they’ll disrupt your sleep. So keep the bedroom to yourself and let your cat sleep somewhere else.
Mayo clinic conduct a study on sleep disorders and found that 60 percent of their patients allowed pets to sleep with them. And half of them reported lack of quality sleep due to the pets.
#15 Avoid naps
Taking naps is great way to reenergize the body and make up for lost sleep. But if falling asleep is a problem for you – taking naps during the day will make you lose sleep at night.
If you have to sleep during the day – take short naps for 20 – 30 minutes in morning hours.
#16 Control water intake at night
Not drinking enough water can make you wake up in the middle of the night due to thirst. But drinking too much water can have you rushing to the bathroom at midnight.
Learn to drink just the right amount of water to avoid these two situations.
#17 Track Sleep With Apps
You can use the Fitbit app to track your sleep. You’ll be able to track your sleeping habits, set sleeping goals, analyze historic sleeping data and so on.
Even though I said no gadgets are allowed in the bedroom – make an exception for this. I only recommend this because I’ve read reviews of people saying that this app has improved the quality of their sleep. So it may be worth to give it a shot.
#18 Reduce stress in your life
Stress is one of the major causes of insomnia and poor quality sleep. In fact, it works both ways because quality sleep can reduce stress. So apply the tips in this article to sleep better and the tips below to get rid of stress.
Try meditation – start with short meditation sessions (5-10 minutes)
Seek social support – spend time with family and friends
Delegate duties – having too much on your plate can increase stress level.
#19 Overcome snoring
Snoring affects the quality of your sleep and those around you. But most people don’t even know they snore – and they still wouldn’t believe it if someone told them so. Well, don’t be quick to deny it…it’s estimated that half of the world snores.
In fact, many snore themselves out of a deep sleep. Anyway, here are a few tricks you can use to combat snoring:
Reduce alcohol intake and cigarette smoking
Don’t sleep on your back
Lose weight if you’re overweight
You can also attend snoring therapies. And surgery is recommended for extreme cases.
#20 Observe your sleeping habits
I would recommend you keep a journal for this one. Keep record of what works and what doesn’t. Then use that journal to determine what makes you sleep better and apply it every night.
In short – stick to what works for you.
I’ve learned a lot about sleep since I started digging into this top. And I’ve applied some of these tips and they’re already working for me.
So don’t ignore this information and think to yourself – “I already knew this…I know that” – instead, put it into action. Even if one tip doesn’t work, try another. I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you.
Now, do me a favor, once you try these tips come back to this article and let me know if you’re sleeping better.
And if you have other tips that have helped you sleep better – share them in the comments section.
Don’t forget to share this article with family and friends.