Sleep is important no matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you have. It’s a huge part of your life that’s often times neglected.
A bad night’s sleep leaves you cranky, tired, lethargic, unhappy– and sometimes even in pain. Poor sleep will almost always leave you feeling hungry since it messes with your blood sugar levels.
In addition, sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
To avoid these negative effects, here are 7 ways you can get better slumber.
1.) Get Your Vitamin D
Science has proven that getting more sunlight– especially early in the morning– helps you snooze better at night. Your body has a natural biological clock called the “circadian rhythm”. Often referred to as the “body clock,” the circadian rhythm is a cycle that tells your body when to sleep, wake up, and eat. It’s affected by environmental cues, like sunlight and temperature. Therefore, getting outside in the morning– particularly between 6 and 8 am, will help your body prepare for better sleep at bedtime.
2.) Practice Yoga/Meditate
Doing yoga and/or mediation is known to cure several ailments, including insomnia or abnormal sleeping habits. It can help you unwind and eliminate stress so you can get better sleep.
In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School investigated how a daily yoga/meditation practice might affect sleep for people with insomnia. They found huge improvements in the participants sleep quality AND quantity.
3.) Keep It Dark
If there’s light in your bedroom, your body will sense it and send messages to your brain that will interfere with your sleep. We suggest you invest in dark, heavy curtains that completely block out any outside light. If you have any other lights in your room that you can’t turn off, like your alarm clock or cable box– cover them up before bed.
4.) Limit Screentime
Staring at the artificial light emitted by electronic screens suppresses your melatonin secretion, and triggers your body to produce more daytime hormones like cortisol. Since your body needs melatonin to sleep, this can be detrimental to your sleeping patterns. While you may be able to fall asleep soon after using your electronics, it still disorients your body’s natural preparation for sleep– which means you’re more likely to wake up tired.
Try switching off all electronics about 90 minutes before sleeping.
5.) Avoid Caffeine
Drinking coffee or other caffeine in the morning is fine for most people. However, as soon as the clock strikes noon, try your best to avoid caffeine in your foods and drinks. Even small amounts of it can affect your ZZZ’s later that night.
6.) Temperature Matters
When you fall asleep, your body naturally starts to cool off. By helping your body get to that lower temperature faster, you can encourage deeper and better sleep. If possible, make sure your room isn’t over 72 degrees. Ideally, the temperature should be about 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.
7.) Eat Light At Night
Eating late at night is never a good idea. If you eat heavy foods and big meals too late, they can overload your digestive system– which affects how well you sleep. If you’re hungry late at night, have a very light evening snack. For an even better night’s rest, always finish snacking at least an hour before bed.
We hope you’ve learned something valuable that will help you get a better night’s sleep. Let us know if you have any additional tips for better slumber.
Dr. Randall Burba is an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry accredited dentist, with a practice in Salem, Massachusetts. He considers himself an artist–with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking.