Good sleep habits (sometimes referred to as “sleep hygiene”) can help you get a good night’s sleep and signifyingly improve your health overall.
Sleep is vital for living a healthy, happy life, but most of us struggle with this issue from time to time. Sleep hygiene is all about practicing good habits that help you get good sleep consistently.
If you're having trouble sleeping it can leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. Fortunately, good sleep may be within your reach! With just a few simple changes, you may be able to improve the quality of your sleep.
It’s well-established that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. But despite its importance, a troubling percentage of people find themselves regularly deprived of quality sleep and are notably sleepy during the day.
Though there’s a wide range of causes and types of sleeping problems, expert consensus points to a handful of concrete steps that promote more restful sleep. Organizations like the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the American Academy of Family Physicians point to the same fundamental tips for getting better rest.
For many people, trying to implement all these strategies can be overwhelming. But remember that it’s not all-or-nothing; you can start with small changes and work your way up toward healthier sleep habits, also known as sleep hygiene.
Ways to Improve Sleep Quality
- Minimise Noise
- Avoid Light Disruption
- Consistent Sleep Schedule
- Stop screen time at night
- Try natural sleep aids
Stop screen time at night
- Stop watching television and using your phone or computer for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Electronic devices emit bright blue light that your brain perceives as sunlight, tricking it into delaying sleep and keeping you awake longer than you’d like.
- Stay away from screens for 1-2 hours before bed. This includes television, your phone, your tablet, and any other electronic device. The light from these screens will keep you awake or lead to poor sleep quality.
If you read before bed, don't use a backlit screen.
Introduce Pleasant Aromas:
Introduce Pleasant Aromas: A light scent that you find calming can help ease you into sleep. Essential oils with natural aromas, such as lavender, can provide a soothing and fresh smell for your bedroom.
Choose Quality Bedding:
Your sheets and blankets play a major role in helping your bed feel inviting. Look for bedding that feels comfortable to the touch and that will help maintain a comfortable temperature during the night.
Consistent Sleep Schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Following a consistent sleep schedule trains your brain to recognize when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake.
Make sure your sleep schedule allows for enough time to sleep. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Select activities that relax and calm you, like taking a warm bath, listening to an audiobook, or journaling. Performing these activities in the same order every night creates a pattern for your brain to recognize them as the prelude to sleep.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Both of these substances can stay in your system for some time and disrupt your sleep quality. Avoid drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime, and caffeine within five hours.
Get some sunlight in the morning. Just 15-30 minutes outside in the sun can help wake you up and reset your circadian rhythm.
Keeping noise to a minimum is an important part of building a sleep-positive bedroom. If you can’t eliminate nearby sources of noise, consider drowning them out with a fan or white noise machine. Earplugs or headphones are another option to stop abrasive sounds from bothering you when you want to sleep.
Avoid Light Disruption:
Excess light exposure can throw off your sleep and circadian rhythm. Blackout curtains over your windows or a sleep mask for over your eyes can block light and prevent it from interfering with your rest.
Natural sleep aids
Magnesium is a mineral involved in hundreds of processes in the human body, and it’s important for brain function and heart health, magnesium may help quiet the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep
Getting a good amount of sleep is incredibly important for your health.
Sleep helps your body and brain function properly. A good night’s sleep can help improve your learning, memory, decision making, and even creativity.
What’s more, getting insufficient sleep has been linked to a higher risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Despite this, sleep quality and quantity are at an all-time low, with more and more people experiencing poor sleep.
Getting good quality sleep often starts with good sleep practices and habits. However, for some people, that’s not enough.
If you need a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep, consider trying the following 9 natural sleep-promoting supplements.
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body. It helps control your sleep patterns.
You can take a manmade version of melatonin for short-term sleep problems (insomnia). It makes you fall asleep quicker and less likely to wake up during the night. It can also help with symptoms of jetlag.
Melatonin is used to treat sleep problems in people aged 55 and over.
- Melatonin is mainly used to treat sleep problems in adults aged 55 or older.
- You'll usually take it for 1 to 4 weeks.
- Some people may get a headache after taking melatonin, or feel tired, sick or irritable the next day.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking while taking melatonin. These stop the medicine working as well as it should.
- Melatonin is also known by the brand name Circadin.
It can sometimes be prescribed to help with sleep problems in children and to prevent headaches in adults.
Melatonin is available on prescription only. It comes as slow-release tablets and a liquid that you drink.
Time of day influences this hormone’s cycle of production and release — melatonin levels naturally rise in the evening and fall in the morning.
For this reason, melatonin supplements have become a popular sleep aid, particularly in instances where the melatonin cycle is disrupted, such as jet lag.
What’s more, several studies report that melatonin improves daytime sleep quality and duration. This is particularly beneficial for individuals whose schedules require them to sleep during the daytime, such as shift workers.
Moreover, melatonin may improve overall sleep quality in individuals with sleep disorders. Specifically, melatonin appears to reduce the time people need to fall asleep (known as sleep latency) and increase the total amount of sleep time.
While some other studies have not found that melatonin has a positive effect on sleep, they are generally few. Those that have observed beneficial effects generally provide participants with 3–10 mg of melatonin before bedtime.
Melatonin supplements appear to be safe for adults when used for short periods, although more research is needed on their long-term effects.
Furthermore, melatonin is not recommended for people who are pregnant or nursing, because there is limited research on its safety and effectiveness.
2. Valerian root
Valerian is an herb native to Asia and Europe. Its root is commonly used as a natural treatment for symptoms of anxiety, depression, and menopause.
Valerian root is also one of the most commonly used sleep-promoting herbal supplements in the United States and Europe.
However, study results remain inconsistent.
Menopausal and postmenopausal women have seen their sleep quality and sleep disorder symptoms improve after taking valerian, according to one review.
Another small study found that taking 530 mg of valerian per night for 30 days led to significant improvements in sleep quality, latency, and duration compared to a placebo in people who had undergone heart surgery.
Nevertheless, most observed improvements in these trials and studies were subjective. They relied on participants’ perception of sleep quality rather than on objective measurements taken during sleep, such as brain waves or heart rate.
Other studies have concluded that valerian’s positive effects are negligible at best. For instance, it may lead to a small improvement in sleep latency .
Regardless, short-term intake of valerian root appears to be safe for adults, with minor, infrequent side effects.
Despite the lack of objective measurements behind valerian, adults may consider testing it out for themselves.
However, the safety of valerian remains uncertain for long-term use and use in certain populations, including people who are pregnant or nursing.
- 100% dried valerian root
- Wild grown in Peru
- Sustainable filtered tea bags
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