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A good night’s sleep can impact your entire day. You’ll feel it when you’ve slept well – and you’ll also notice when you haven’t. When you sleep soundly each night, your entire quality of life improves. Here are some natural ways to sleep better every night.
You might think you can get away with only sleeping five hours all week long. After all, you can always make up for those lost hours over the weekend, when you get to sleep in. Unfortunately, numerous studies have shown that you can’t play “catch-up” when it comes to your sleep. For the absolute best results, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This helps to establish your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night.
Per a study conducted by the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology at Northwestern University, previously sedentary adults who had poor sleep quality could sleep better by participating in aerobic exercise four times per week. They also felt less depressed, more awake during the daytime hours, and revitalized. Sleep also plays a significant role in recovery – read more on the importance of sleep on training goals here.
If you’re regularly consuming caffeine throughout the day – coffee, soda, chocolate, and some teas – consider cutting back. Not only does caffeine keep you awake at night if you consume it late in the day, but it can also create daytime drowsiness once it wears off. What’s more, instead of making your supper your largest and most substantial meal, consider eating a bigger breakfast and lunch, and making your supper a lighter meal. Don’t eat anything spicy or greasy six hours before you go to bed as this can cause digestive problems that may keep you awake.
A study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that nonsmokers are four times more likely to sleep better at night than smokers. Researchers there say nicotine has a stimulating effect, and since smokers aren’t using nicotine during the night, they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms that keep them awake. Smoking may also contribute to asthma, sleep apnea, and other problems that interrupt your sleep.
You might think that glass of wine, cocktail, or cold beer will help you relax before you fall asleep, and it just might. However, the Mayo Clinic found that alcohol creates disruptions in your sleep that can keep you from feeling rejuvenated the following morning. People who have only one drink just before bedtime wake more often during the night and have a harder time falling asleep again.
We live in an electronic age. We rely on our phones, tablets, computers, and televisions to entertain us until we feel like we’re ready to doze off. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation suggested that using these devices an hour before trying to sleep makes it harder to wind down; they believe that the light from these devices has a stimulating effect on your brain. Turn them off an hour before you try to sleep, and you’re sure to feel more rested in the morning.
Although it may feel relaxing and cozy to sleep with your kids or dogs in the bed, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that doing so is interfering with your ability to sleep soundly. A doctor at Mayo Clinic conducted sleep studies, and found that 53% of people who sleep with pets don’t sleep soundly through the night. Along those same lines, 80% of adults who sleep with their children on their bed don’t get a good night’s sleep.
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to sleep better, and none of them involve taking a sleeping pill every night. Eating right and getting some exercise are important, but so is turning off the electronics and keeping your bed to yourself.