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Immunity, Lifestyle, Longevity
February 21, 2023
Sleep Better With These 14 Sleep Hacks
You should get seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night.
However, getting that much sleep is challenging for many adults. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get more quality sleep.
These 14 sleep hacks can help you sleep better.
1. Establish and Maintain a Consistent Routine for More Effective Sleep
Many parents set a bedtime and strictly enforce it for their children, regardless of how much they beg for just one more hour.
Unfortunately, adults are sometimes more relaxed about maintaining their bedtime.
A consistent nighttime routine can help you get more quality sleep.
If you are currently staying up late into the night working, watching TV, or scrolling social media, choose a bedtime that works for you and then gradually adjust your sleep schedule to achieve it.
Go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier every few days for two weeks until you reach your target bedtime.
Once you have your sleep routine established, stick to it, even on the weekends.
If you need help determining a sleep schedule that works for you seven days a week, aim not to vary from it by more than one to two hours.
This will help you avoid a cycle of sleeping too little and then too much to compensate for it.
2. Start a Sleep Log
Maintaining a sleep log can help you identify factors that improve or reduce the quality of your sleep and determine which sleep hacks are working and which are not.
To maintain a sleep log, create a spreadsheet or purchase a sleep journal and record some or all of these variables:
You can also record factors such as exercise, sleep quality, what you ate, whether you were comfortable in bed, and how you felt when you woke up.
3. Keep Your Bedroom Cooler
Adjusting your thermostat to keep your bedroom cooler at night can help you sleep better by keeping your body in a thermal neutral zone.
This prevents your body's need to adjust to temperature changes while entering and exiting sleep stages from disrupting your sleep.
4. Put the Electronics Away
While some electronic devices can help you sleep better, they can also keep you awake.
Electronic devices, such as televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones, emit blue light that can cause your brain to think it is daytime (1).
This reduces melatonin production, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Reduce your electronics use in the evening and put your devices away when it is time to go to bed. Enabling the red-light filter on your smartphone can help reduce the impact of any nighttime phone usage.
5. Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink
Alcohol, caffeine, and large meals can all disrupt your sleep.
Because the effects of caffeine can take about seven hours to wear off, it may be a good idea to eliminate caffeine consumption after 2 PM.
You may also improve your sleep by eating large meals in the morning or afternoon, having a lighter dinner, and avoiding alcohol.
6. Take a Hot Shower Before Bed
Your body temperature needs to drop for restful sleep.
Taking a hot shower causes your skin temperature to increase, which causes your body to reduce its core temperature to compensate.
A hot shower before bed can give you a head start on the body temperature drop you need to get a good night's sleep.
7. Keep Your Feet Warm
Your feet and hands are usually the two coldest parts of your body.
If they stay too cold, your body temperature will not drop enough to achieve quality sleep.
Wearing warm socks to bed can cause your body to increase the blood flow to your feet and hands, which helps bring your core temperature down faster.
8. Reduce Noise
Noisy environments can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.
Unfortunately, you cannot always control all the noise in your environment.
If traffic, noisy neighbors, barking dogs, or other noisemakers keep you awake at night, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.
9. Try Breathwork Exercises
Breathwork exercises help promote calmness and relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (2).
If your mind is racing all the time, this relaxation technique may help.
10. Listen to Relaxing Music
Research shows that 62% of people report listening to music helps them fall asleep (3).
If music does not help you, ambient sounds and pink or white noise may help.
You can generate white noise by purchasing a white noise machine, using an app on your smartphone, or running a box fan.
11. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer (4).
However, because exercise produces endorphins that can interfere with sleep, it is best to exercise earlier in the day.
12. Choose Nighttime Entertainment Wisely
Many people watch television or read a book in the evening.
However, consuming exciting or mentally stimulating media close to bedtime can sabotage your sleep hacks, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Try switching to less engaging content when bedtime is drawing near.
13. Paint Your Bedroom a Relaxing Color
According to research, blue is the most relaxing color (5).
Earth tones, such as light yellow, green, beige, and white, can also promote sleep.
By contrast, stimulating colors, such as red, can make it harder to fall asleep.
14. Keep a Journal or To-Do List
Another way to combat racing thoughts that keep you up at night is to sort them out before bed by writing in a journal.
If journaling seems too overwhelming, try spending about five minutes creating a to-do list of tasks you need to complete the next day instead.
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