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4 Scientifically Proven Ways to a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep enables the body to recover and recharge and helps the brain function well. Poor and insufficient sleep can negatively affect your health. It weakens the immune system and impairs the brain’s cognitive ability. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping and it’s already affecting your everyday life, check out these four scientifically proven ways to get better sleep.

Stick to a Nighttime Routine

One of the ways to ensure better sleep is to stick to a nighttime routine that aligns with the body’s circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the cycle of natural processes regulated by your internal body clock. These processes include the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. 

Disruptions in the body’s circadian rhythm also disturb melatonin production, causing you to feel drowsy during the day or stay awake at night. Establishing a bedtime routine and being consistent with your sleeping and waking times help you avoid disruptions in your circadian rhythm.

You can start by taking a warm bath or shower one to two hours before bedtime. Studies show that warm baths or showers bring your internal body heat to the skin surface, lowering your core body temperature and helping transition you to sleep.

Next, reduce light exposure at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Light tricks your internal body clock into thinking it is daytime, keeping you awake. On the other hand, darkness tells your body it’s time to sleep, increasing melatonin production. You can reduce light exposure by dimming your bedroom lights and powering off electronic gadgets.

To get into the right mindset for sleep, perform activities that help you unwind, relax, and reduce your stress levels. You can meditate, listen to calming music, or read a paperback book.

Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Conducive Area

The right environment improves your sleep quality by helping you fall asleep at your desired time and maintain sleep until you wake up naturally in the morning.

Consider the amount of light that enters your bedroom at night. Light exposure decreases melatonin production and disturbs your sleep cycle. To address this, turn off the lights when you sleep. 

If the light comes in through the windows, cover your windows with blackout curtains made with thick, specially made fabric that effectively blocks natural and artificial light. Alternatively, you can use a sleeping eye mask to prevent light from shining on your eyelids.

If you’re a light sleeper, invest in a white noise machine. White noise machines can help you sleep and stay asleep by masking potentially disruptive noises. Using a white noise machine helps your brain associate white noise with sleep. The next time you turn it on, the sounds will signal your brain that it’s time to go to bed.

The bedroom temperature also influences your sleep. The body’s core temperature naturally lowers during sleep. Lowering your bedroom’s thermostat simulates this dip in core temperature, which helps you fall asleep.

Exercise during the Day

Exercise during the Day

Deep sleep is when your body relaxes and truly recovers. Therefore, increasing the amount of deep sleep you get will improve sleep quality and help you wake up refreshed. One way to do so is through exercise.

According to health experts, engaging in moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes increases the amount of deep sleep you get. Exercise does this by energizing your body and reducing sleepiness during the daytime, which decreases sleep onset or the time it takes to fall asleep. To maximize the benefits you get from exercise, aim to do it regularly and complete at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly.

While exercise can improve sleep, doing it close to bedtime may have the opposite effect. Exercising can cause the body to release hormones that increase brain activity. It can also elevate body temperature, which signals your body to stay awake. 

If you do have to exercise at night, make sure you’re finished at least one hour before bedtime. Refrain from engaging in heavy exercises, like running or heavy weightlifting, as these can increase your heart rate and make it hard to unwind in time for bed. Instead, opt for light to moderate activities like yoga or walking.

Watch What You Eat 

The food you consume also influences your sleep quality. Some of the food and drinks to avoid before bedtime are alcohol and spicy food. Alcohol may help people fall asleep initially by causing brain activity to slow down. However, sleep can cease once its sedative effects wear off. Since alcohol is a diuretic, drinking more than a few glasses before bedtime can also cause you to wake up more often in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. 

On the other hand, spicy food increases core body temperature, which can disrupt the sleep cycle. It can also cause heartburn and worsen acid reflux symptoms, making sleep uncomfortable. If you happen to crave spicy food, it is best to eat it 3 hours before bedtime.

The Takeaway

Good-quality sleep is crucial for your well-being. Get the sleep you need and deserve by following scientifically proven tips. Set a bedtime routine and stick to it. Create a bedroom environment ideal for rest. Stay active during the day, and avoid physically high-impact exercises one hour before bedtime. Finally, avoid foods and beverages that keep you up at night.