If you’re feeling run-down, sluggish, or drowsy all day, it might be time to assess your sleeping habits. Lack of sleep is a common complaint these days, with insomnia brought on by stress, anxiety, and other factors. Generally, while severe sleep deprivation is something you should discuss with your doctor, many times it’s a simple fix, requiring an adjustment to your sleep habits, environment, and other factors. Here’s how to get a better night’s sleep!
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
One way to get a better night’s sleep is to decrease your caffeine. So many of us forget to keep track of how many coffees, teas, and other caffeinated beverages we drink a day. Sometimes we gulp one after the other, thinking that if a little makes us feel sharper and more awake, more must be better. That’s just faulty thinking. When overdone, caffeine and caffeine withdrawal can cause numerous problems for the brain and body, including headaches, gastric issues, and yes, insomnia. If you find yourself lying awake at night, try reducing your caffeine and cut yourself off after 2 p.m. (caffeine can build up and take a while to wear off if you drink it late in the day).
Pick the Right Mattress
Look at your mattress. If it’s lumpy, threadbare, bent, or bowed, and has mattress springs sticking out of the fabric, it’s time for a new one. Sometimes it’s not so clear, and you should listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re waking up with back or shoulder pain, your mattress might be too firm and putting extra stress on those parts, or too soft and not supporting you enough. Explore your mattress options and types—memory foam, innerspring, hybrid, latex, and adjustable air.
Turn Off the Screens
Another way to get a better night’s sleep is to decrease EMF exposure. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emit radiation, which is possibly carcinogenic to humans and has been linked to adverse health effects, such as disruption to the nervous system and cell membranes’ permeability affecting things like sleep and mental health. EMFs are used to enable modern devices, including microwaves, mobile telecommunications infrastructure and phones, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Electronics, also, have bright screens and blue spectrum light, similar to sunlight, which tells your brain it’s still daytime, disrupting your circadian rhythm. We know it’s irresistible but you should avoid checking your phone for texts, emails, and tweets one last time before bed. For that matter, eliminate all screens an hour before bed. Spending an hour off the grid is also good because it gives your brain permission to stand down and relax.
Exercise During the Day
If you’re visiting this site, you probably figured that exercise would get mentioned in a discussion about how to get a better night’s sleep. Studies prove that people who exercise experience better health and lower levels of stress. This translates into greater ease at getting enough sleep come nighttime.
One warning though: for some people, exercising shortly before bed can keep them awake. Some studies indicate that pre-sleep vigorous exercise causes a large physiologic excitement at bedtime, as reflected by an increased HR and a lower high-frequency power of HRV, disrupting the onset of sleep. This doesn’t happen to everyone, however, but if you find it hard to slip off to dreamland after a major workout, maybe leave the exercise for earlier in the day. Otherwise, a little exercise never hurts (well, rarely)!
Limiting your caffeine intake, sleeping on a good mattress, turning off screens at night, and avoiding exercise late in the day are some of the ways on how to get a better night’s sleep. These tips not only will improve your sleep but your daily performance, mood, and overall health.
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The FitnAll Family