Falling asleep is most likely a struggle for many, whether you’re a student constantly cramming overdue homework night after night or an adult lying in bed tossing and turning not understanding why you can’t fall asleep despite being tired. Most causes of sleeplessness stem from your environment, or your choices resulting in your body becoming alert when it’s supposed to be falling asleep. We’re going to talk about a few tips to improve your quality of sleep so that you can fix your schedule and feel revitalized when you wake up.
Having a regular sleep cycle
Having a regular sleep routine is beneficial for your body as it will regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle since your body will learn to get used to what time it needs to go to bed and wake up every day, and help you fall asleep more easily as well as wake up less groggy. A steady schedule will control your circadian rhythm, which is like your internal clock that controls the release of hormones that promote sleep at certain times. Having a steady sleep schedule will lead to better quality, deeper sleep, as well as increased energy and a more positive mood throughout the day.
Foods that help improve sleep
Your diet also plays a vital role in the quality of your sleep. Certain foods can even help induce sleepiness, for example, nuts and cherries can help you become sleepy much faster. Cherries, especially, have high concentrations of melatonin, which is a relaxation hormone, so eating them before going to bed can reduce the time you spend trying to doze off and increase the amount of sleep you get. If you’re feeling jittery and hyper, a cup of chamomile tea at night will help soothe your nervous system and can help you achieve a healthier cycle since it contains apigenin, which is an antioxidant that promotes sleepiness. Lastly, foods high in calcium such as milk or dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach help induce sleepiness since more calcium makes it easier for the body to make melatonin.
Wake up early
Waking up early is important because it regulates your “internal clock” and circadian system and also allows you to fall asleep earlier since you will get tired easier at night. Waking up at around 5-6 am is the most recommended time since waking up at sunrise and going to sleep at around 8-9 pm allows for a full, productive day and 8 hours of sleep. Waking up before sunrise allows you to wake up refreshed and not as groggy as you would feel if you woke up at 11 am. The longer you sleep in after 7 am, the more your circadian rhythm gets turned off because your body is built for waking up early in the morning. So, adjusting your sleep schedule so you’re sleeping earlier and waking up earlier will lead to a more restful night of sleep.
Limit using your devices before you go to sleep
The reason you wake up in the morning is mainly because of the light from your sun alerting your brain that it’s daytime and time for you to get up. When your brain sees more light, it produces less melatonin, making you feel less tired and more awake. However, the same effect can be caused by the blue light from devices like phones and laptops. Blue light alerts your brain and tricks it into thinking that it’s still daytime so your brain will not increase its production of melatonin which can lead to insomnia or you not feeling sleepy. To prevent this, try to either limit or not use your device for about an hour or two before you need to go to sleep, or try to switch to dark mode, which changes your background from white to black and prevents the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes and prevent you from feeling sleepy.
Sleep in a clean environment
Having a tidy environment to sleep in makes it more comfortable and easy for you to fall asleep. People who change their sheets regularly and make their beds are reported to have better sleep and are 19% more likely to sleep well regularly. Making sure your bed sheets and pillow covers are clean is not only important for your sleep but also for your skin as dust particles can build up over time which could trigger allergies or clog your pores. Studies have shown that a clean sleep environment helps put the brain at more ease and allows for a better quality of sleep and helps you wake up feeling more refreshed and less groggy or irritated.
Physical activity can make you sleepy faster
Physical activity is associated with longer periods and better quality of deep sleep as your body will fall asleep more easily since you’ve worked out and expended energy. Your body will repair and restore itself overnight making sure you wake up alert and recharge the next morning. Physical activity also increases the number of endorphins, or happy hormones produced in your body, leading to lower levels of stress and anxiety and a better overall mood, allowing you to sleep more easily without feelings of restlessness. Physical activity can be used to combat insomnia or the inability to fall asleep at night since it helps restore your body’s circadian rhythm and reduces agitation, leading to higher chances of falling asleep. The highest levels of sleep come from regular, moderate to vigorous exercise, while lower levels of exercise are associated with lower levels of deep sleep. Increasing the amount of exercise you do in a day, and the intensity of it can often improve your sleep as long as you set your limits and make sure you don’t overdo it.
Sleeping in the Dark
The dark signals to your body that it is nighttime and time for you to sleep, which is why you might feel sleepy or tired easily in dark places. Sleeping in the dark makes your body naturally produce more melatonin which is essential for your sleep since it makes your body relax. Your brain can detect the smallest amount of light which is why even light from your phones is misinterpreted by your brain for being sunlight or daytime which is why it’s better to sleep in a dark room with little to no light. Having light in your room when you sleep can delay your production of melatonin and result in you getting fewer hours of sleep. Melatonin also promotes relaxation as you will be less alert in the dark and allows your eyes to rest after straining themselves for the entire day.
If you try to incorporate some of these habits into your sleep routine, the quality and duration of your sleep will undoubtedly improve. In the end, you should make sure your bedroom and the environment you sleep in are adequate for you and won’t cause any disturbances to your sleep. You must make sure you get enough sleep since your brain relies on rest to reset and go through the next day well-rested and refreshed.