No doubt you’ve heard just how important it is to get enough quality sleep each night. But among all those reminders and admonishments, has anyone bothered to give you any tools, tips, or tricks for actually getting a good night’s sleep?
Lucky for you, we’ve assembled a list of 14 easy ways to improve your sleep quality.
These tips can start being implemented tonight so that you can start sleeping better now, which will pay dividends into all the other facets of your life.
Let’s get started!
14 Tips for Improving Your Sleep Quality
#1 Set Yourself Up For Success
When it’s time to go to bed, many individuals simply try to go from 100-0. They’re cleaning the house, doing dishes, putting the kids to bed, etc. and then they try to immediately lay down and go to sleep.
This inevitably leads to lots of tossing and turning.
A great night’s rest begins with you setting yourself up for a great night’s rest. By that we mean, you should gradually ease yourself into “sleep mode” by sending your body cues that it’s time to wind down for the day.
Around 2 hours before bed, start dimming the lights, limiting electronics use, and avoiding things that can cause stress (news, social media, work emails, etc.). Read by candlelight (or some other type of light that isn’t blue light), have a cup of tea, and/or listen to relaxing music
All of these will help you to power down in the evenings, thereby setting the stage for a great night’s sleep.
#2 Limit Blue Light Exposure
Simply put, the darker you keep your room, the better your sleep quality will be.
Humans evolved over thousands of years sleeping in complete darkness. They weren’t bombarded by all sorts of blue light emanating from TVs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and the like.
Blue light is great for waking you up, but it’s absolutely terrible for sleep since it suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep wake cycle and helps you fall asleep at night.
Make it a goal to limit blue light exposure 2 hours before bed and when you go to sleep, keep your room as dark as possible -- no TV, no laptops, etc. Use blackout curtains if there’s lots of streetlights on your street and/or sleep with an eyeshade.
#3 Cool Things Down
In addition to making your room as dark as possible, you also want to keep your room on the chilly side. It’s essential not only for you to fall asleep and stay asleep but also to achieve those deeper, more restorative levels of sleep.
Research indicates that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60-67℉.
#4 Wear Loose Fitting Clothes
Building off of the previous point, personal comfort is critical to getting a good night’s sleep. Just like you don’t want to fall asleep in a hot environment, you don’t want to got to bed wearing tight, restrictive, and/or heavy clothing.
Wearing loose, comfortable clothing helps keep your body cool, allowing you to achieve better quality sleep.
#5 Comfortable Pillows & Mattress
Continuing on this comfort train, you also want a comfortable, supportive pillow and mattress.
It will take a bit of trial and error to find the right pillow and mattress for you. What’s ideal for you may be misery for another leading them to toss and turn, and vice versa.
Fortunately, many mattress suppliers allow you to try a particular mattress for a given amount of time to see if it’s the Goldilocks mattress or not.
#6 Schedule Your Bedtime
Many of us schedule every other aspect of our lives -- when we eat, when we have meetings, when we hit the gym, when we watch TV, etc.
Few, if any of us, apply that same scheduling mindset to our sleep habits.
Sleeping better begins with setting a bedtime...yes, just like your parents did for you when you were a kid.
Setting an alarm for when it’s time to go to bed serves as a powerful reminder that it’s time to start winding down for the night.
This also helps ensure you give yourself enough time to get enough sleep each night.
So, work backwards from when you have to wake up. If you need to be up at 6 AM, make sure you’re in bed by 9:30PM or 10PM so you can give yourself the opportunity to sleep a full eight hours.
This brings us to the next point…
#7 Get the Right Amount of Sleep
No two people may need the same amount of sleep, but on average most adults need between 7-9 quality hours of sleep each night.
Determining how much sleep is best for you will take a bit of trial and error, but you’ll know when you’ve gotten the right amount of sleep. You wake up feeling alert, refreshed, mentally clear, and ready to tackle the day. Getting too much or too little sleep leaves you feeling groggy, lethargic, and cloudy headed.
If it helps, keep a journal and write down how much sleep you got and how you felt the next morning when you awoke. A week or two of doing this and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how much sleep you need each night.
#8 Keep the Noise Down
Earlier we mentioned that you want to make your room as dark as possible, allowing virtually no light into the room. The same doesn’t necessarily hold true for sounds.
You don’t have to sleep in complete silence to get a good night’s sleep. Having a little bit of white noise, such as the fan going may help (as an added bonus it also helps keep you cool).
At the same time, you don’t want so much noise that it prevents you from falling asleep.
If you live in a particularly noisy building or neighborhood, a noise machine or set of earplugs may help drown out the noise, thereby allowing you to fall asleep soundly.
#9 Be Careful with Naps
Naps can be a dual-edged sword.
When used appropriately, they can serve to recharge a weary CNS and body, thereby allowing you to power through the day with greater energy and productivity.
At the same time, taking a nap at the wrong time of day, or taking too long of a nap can disrupt your regular sleep. Therefore, be judicious with your naps. Keep them to less than an hour long and at least 3-4 hours before bed time.
Exercise is great for a whole host of reasons. It improves mood, cognition, productivity, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular health. Exercise also helps burn calories and build muscle.
You might not realize this, but exercise has also been shown to help individuals sleep better at night too!
One thing to keep in mind is that you want to avoid very intense workouts 2-3 hours before bed as it may disrupt sleep.
#11 Keep a Journal
Many individuals struggle to fall asleep at night, or sleep soundly through the night, on account of their mind constantly buzzing with all sorts of ideas, concerns, and worries.
Doing a “brain dump” by writing down your thoughts and concerns before you go to bed helps your mind to relax and unwind so that you can drift off to sleep peacefully.
#12 Take a Hot Bath
Taking a hot bath in the evening (or using a sauna) can help to relieve stress, relax your body and mind, and increase circulation (which supports workout recovery). As an added bonus, taking a hot bath also raises your core temperature, and when you get out of the bath/sauna, your core temperature starts to drop, cooling you off, which then helps you get to sleep.
#13 Watch Your Food/Beverage Intake
Caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to sleep spell disaster for your night’s rest as they impair the body’s ability to enter into the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep.
Furthermore, many individuals find that their sleep is disrupted if they eat too heavy of a meal immediately before bed.
If you find this happens to you, then make it a goal to finish your dinner at least 2 hours before bed. And, as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to stop your intake of caffeine by about 3PM and your intake of alcohol at least 2-3 hours before bed.
#14 Supplement Smart
These products include research-backed ingredients, including Theanine, Melatonin, and 5-HTP, that promote relaxation and deep sleep, thereby supporting the body’s own overnight recovery and growth powers.
As an added bonus of getting a great night’s sleep, you’ll find that your productivity and workouts are better!