Improving Your Quality of Sleep
Just as the quantity of sleep is important, so too is the quality. How well you sleep each night has a big impact on your health and functioning, so if you feel like your sleep hygiene could use a boost, read on for tips on how to improve it.
- A cool, dark and quiet room = good sleep. Begin your quest to improve your quality of sleep by taking a look at your surroundings. If you don’t already have them, consider buying a fan, a white noise machine and/or black-out curtains to make your space more inviting for a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid gaming, Tweeting, Netflixing and posting in bed. It may be nice to do these things as a way to unwind after a long day, but just make sure you’re not doing them in bed. Ideally the use of electronics should be stopped at least an hour before bed so as not to interfere with your body’s production of the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. The blue light from computer screens, cellphones and televisions halt its production, which can leave you tossing and turning (and cranky in the morning).
- Eat well and exercise. It may come as no surprise that your diet and exercise regimen can affect the quality of your sleep. If you want to capitalize on your snoozing, make sure these other areas of your life are up to par. Tip: Avoid vigorous exercise right before bed. Doing so stimulates your heart, brain and muscles, which is the opposite of what you want at bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. All three interfere with the quality of your sleep. Avoiding them, particularly in the afternoon and evening, can improve what you get out of your sleep.
- Develop a sleep routine. Try to do the same thing each night 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed, such as reading, taking a bath or writing about your day in your journal. With time, you can train your brain into knowing when it’s time for sleep. Setting specific times to go to bed each night and wake up each morning can also help to improve the quality of your sleep by regulating your internal clock.
- Experiment. Everyone’s sleep needs are different, so explore different techniques, track how well you are able to sleep under certain conditions, and learn what works best for you.