9 Proven Tip to Help You Sleep Better

Tara Youngblood Sep 01, 2022

Sleeping Tips

Ugh, it happened again! You didn't sleep well the other night. Many factors can interrupt the quality of your sleep, including everyday stress, work, family responsibilities, and unexpected new challenges.

Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most influential things you can do to maximize your health. While there are distinct factors that we cannot control, below, we've listed healthy habits and sleeping tips that can encourage better sleep. Start with simple adjustments and see what works best for you.

We'll discuss the following tips to help you sleep:

Sleep Tricks to Sleeping Better

Similarly, there are some sleep tricks that we can all benefit from sleeping like a pro.

Exercise in the Morning

Exercise is one of the best ways for your body to naturally find its way into deep sleep. Appalachian State University did an exercise and sleep study that tracked three groups exercising at 7 am 1 pm, or 7 pm, three days per week. It showed that the participants who got the most profound, longest sleep (aka, the best sleep) were those who exercised in the morning. [1]

Morning exercise can help you sleep better

Did You Know: People who exercise in the early morning spend 75% more time in a deep restorative stage of sleep than those who exercise later in the day.

Morning exercise provides the energy you need to zoom through the day and ensure that you’re in good shape for another round of regenerative rest come evening.

In the case of sleep health, it’s more beneficial to exercise in the morning than at night because of the rise in your core body temperature, which stays elevated for roughly four to five hours following a workout.

Did You Know: In a study, it was recorded that morning exercise has very different effects on metabolism than the same workout later in the day. [2]

Does Exercise Help You Sleep?

Studies indicate that creating an exercise routine can help you sleep better, and adequate sleep may promote healthier physical activity levels throughout the day. [3]

People who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can see a difference in sleep quality that same night.

Sleep Tip: What are the consequences of exercise before bedtime? Studies indicate that moderate exercise near bedtime will not harm your sleep. But completing your workout at least one hour before bedtime is suggested.

Read More: Does Exercise Help with Sleep

Eating healthy

Nutrition and Sleep

An inadequate diet is a double whammy when it comes to sleep. Not only does it make you feel sluggish and tired, but it also hampers your ability to get good sleep.

Talk about an unhealthy sleep cycle – that's why eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial. This means starting your day out well with a healthy breakfast and being reasonable about those late-evening snacks. Experts suggest eating dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime to ensure good sleep. [4]

Consuming high-carbohydrate meals can harm your sleep. Recent studies have found that meals high in carbohydrates can raise the number of times you wake up during the night, ultimately reducing the deep sleep quality. [5]

Limiting or avoiding eating big meals late at night and smoking altogether is best. If cutting out cold turkey, it can be challenging. Consider drinking caffeine-free tea like Lavender or Chamomile, which can naturally promote sleep and relaxation.

Nutrients That Increase Sleep

Two types of nutrients can increase your ability to get good sleep. They’re tryptophan and vitamin C. Tryptophan includes the following types of foods:

Foods with Tryptophan

  • Turkey

  • Eggs

  • Cheese

  • Salmon

  • Nuts & Seeds

  • Seaweed

  • Turnips

  • Pineapple

Foods With Vitamin C

  • Oranges

  • Red Peppers

  • Kale

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Broccoli

  • Strawberries

  • Grapefruit

  • Guava

Caffeine and Alcohol

We hate to be a buzzkill, but caffeine and alcohol affect sleep performance and quality.

Effects of Caffeine on Sleep

Let's start with coffee and caffeine, stimulants that we love for their effect on getting us moving. That is until we don't want to keep it going, which tends to be later in the day or evening. We can't turn its stimulating effects off, so we've got to lean on our ability to restrain the intake after specific times.

Most sources recommend the amount of caffeine intake sometime between 2-4 pm and not exceeding 400mg of caffeine daily. Caffeine can make it difficult for some people to fall asleep if taken close to bedtime. It can delay the timing of your internal body clock, reducing your total sleep time. [6]

Effects of Alcohol on Sleep

Then there's alcohol, a depressant. Many experience alcohol's relaxing qualities without comprehending the disturbance it causes to our sleep. How does alcohol affect sleep? While alcohol may help us fall asleep more quickly, it can prevent you from getting deep sleep and REM sleep.

REM sleep is a more mentally restorative time for sleep. It often occurs because the alcohol in your body keeps you in lighter sleep.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Interestingly enough, getting some time outside while the sun's up can help you sleep when the sun goes down. Scientists say that getting as little as 10 minutes a day of continuous sun exposure can lower your evening cortisol levels and allow you to wind down and get quality sleep. [7]

A very good idea (if possible) is to combine morning exercise with this tip to double down on sleep efficiency. Sunshine regulates your circadian rhythm by telling your body when to increase and decrease your melatonin levels.

Temperature and Sleep

The key to better sleep is to keep your sleep environment cool. The best temperature for sleep is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, so set that thermostat somewhere in that range until you find the best temperature. Keep in mind that everyone has a slightly different optimal sleep temperature).

Also, try to sleep with light, breathable clothing such as bamboo or cotton. Avoid synthetic materials that often trap heat and keep your body hot.

Don't Let Temperature Affect Your Sleep

Falling into a deep sleep is linked with cooling your body temperature, and being hot can reduce the likelihood of you falling asleep and staying asleep—cool your body with one of our sleep systems. Temperature ranges from 55-115º.
Dock Pro Sleep System

Turn Off The Technology

Most individuals have an evening routine involving catching up on social media or watching TV to unwind before bed. The devices such as your smartphone and TV emit blue light, which blocks the release of melatonin after 1.5 hours of use in the evening, making it challenging to fall asleep.

Most devices we use to emit blue light are defined as “a type of high-energy visible light, defined as having a wavelength between 380 and 500 nm.” The most common sources of blue light are commonly found in:

  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones

Sleeping Tip: Power down for the night at least two hours before going to sleep. Think about how you can replace that time you would have spent watching TV or being on your phone unwinding by meditating, relaxing, reading a (paper) book, or just going to bed!

Read More: Yoga Nidra Meditation: Beginner's Guide to Sleep and Relaxation

Improve Your Sleep Environment

Try keeping your sleep environment as dark as possible. It's necessary to let your body know it's time to produce melatonin and get quality sleep. Make sure to turn off electronics or lights while sleeping and shut out any external lights if possible.

Sleeping in a dark room is better for mental health. [8] A great way to do this is using blackout curtains, stickers, or a sleep mask.

Light exposure during nighttime can cause havoc on our naturally increased melatonin levels, which slow down the body's natural progression to sleep.

Sleep body temperature

Sleep Duration

These tips can help you sleep better and enhance the quality of your sleep; the quantity of sleep is just as significant. How many hours of sleep do you need? It is almost universally agreed that we need to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. The best way to do this is to stick to a sleep schedule and stick to it. This includes the same time to bedtime and wake-up time.

Make a Sleep Schedule

Between the everyday stresses, having a regular sleep schedule is more important than ever. Sleep is where your immune system builds and maintains itself, so while it may be challenging right now, try your best to sleep well. If you’re exhausted during the day, take a 20 minute nap during the early part of the day (between 1 and 3).

These sleeping tips won’t make you faster, but they might make you feel like you could. So use these sleeping tricks to help you sleep your best.

Citations

[1] Fairbrother, K. R. (n.d.). The effects of aerobic exercise timing on sleep architecture. Libres.uncg.edu. View Resource

[2] Sato, S., Dyar, K. A., Treebak, J. T., Jepsen, S. L., Ehrlich, A. M., Ashcroft, S. P., Trost, K., Kunzke, T., Prade, V. M., Small, L., Basse, A. L., Schönke, M., Chen, S., Samad, M., Baldi, P., Barrès, R., Walch, A., Moritz, T., Holst, J. J., & Lutter, D. (2022). Atlas of exercise metabolism reveals time-dependent signatures of metabolic homeostasis. Cell Metabolism, 34(2), 329-345.e8. View Study

[3] Dolezal BA, Neufeld EV, Boland DM, Martin JL, Cooper CB. Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review. Adv Prev Med. 2017;2017:1364387. doi: 10.1155/2017/1364387. Epub 2017 Mar 26. Erratum in: Adv Prev Med. 2017;2017:5979510. PMID: 28458924; PMCID: PMC5385214.

[4] Fujiwara, Y., Machida, A., Watanabe, Y., Shiba, M., Tominaga, K., Watanabe, T., Oshitani, N., Higuchi, K., & Arakawa, T. (2005). Association between dinner-to-bed time and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. The American journal of gastroenterology, 100(12), 2633–2636. View Study

[5] St-Onge MP, Mikic A, Pietrolungo CE. Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality. Adv Nutr. 2016 Sep 15;7(5):938-49. doi: 10.3945/an.116.012336. PMID: 27633109; PMCID: PMC5015038.

[6] Paprocki, J. (2013, August 1). Sleep and Caffeine. Sleep Education. View Resource

[7] Jung CM, Khalsa SB, Scheer FA, Cajochen C, Lockley SW, Czeisler CA, Wright KP Jr. Acute effects of bright light exposure on cortisol levels. J Biol Rhythms. 2010 Jun;25(3):208-16. doi: 10.1177/0748730410368413. PMID: 20484692; PMCID: PMC3686562.

[8] Obayashi, K., Saeki, K., & Kurumatani, N. (2017). Bedroom Light Exposure at Night and the Incidence of Depressive Symptoms: A Longitudinal Study of the HEIJO-KYO Cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(3), 427–434. View Study

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