5 Essential Sleep Tips to Help You Sleep Better Tonight
These sleep tips will get your night back on track.
Posted Jun 28, 2020
A better night of sleep is never guaranteed; after all, 27% of Americans report problems falling asleep each night.
The good news is that with a few tips and a little effort, it’s definitely possible.
Decades of research have helped sleep specialists pinpoint a handful of sleep tricks and tips that can help you sleep better and night — tips that apply for seniors, adults, women, men, and even teens.
I’ve put together five of my go-to tips to help clients get to sleep faster, sleep better, and have more energy throughout the day.
These tips will reveal the most effective ways for anyone to start sleeping better tonight naturally.
Here’s your quick and easy sleep guide for better sleep.
Ditch the Electronics
Alright, not literally. I’m not saying you need to throw your iPhone and Apple TV in the trash — but using electronics at the wrong time can affect your sleep more than you realize. Here’s how:
From cellphones to laptops, tablets, and our TVs, we’re constantly bombarded with blue light. The problem? Seemingly innocuous blue light suppresses production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep by regulating the body’s bio clock and sleep-wake cycles.
Maybe you’re not convinced just how much blue light from your smartphone can be leading to sleepless nights — but research shows it can affect our ability to get to sleep, stay asleep, and get that deep quality sleep we need to wake up feeling energized.
A 2017 study from the University of Haifa showed blue light exposure between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. negatively impacted sleep in three ways: It suppressed melatonin production for participants, shortened sleep time, and hurt their sleep quality by increasing the number of times they woke up during the night. The study reinforced what several others had found in years prior.
Before you shun your electronics completely, though, it’s important to understand not all blue light is harmful to your sleep; it’s all about the power of when. My best sleep recommendation here is to cut down on blue light exposure 90 minutes to two hours before bedtime. That’s ideal, and also reduces stress because we aren’t checking emails.
Avoid Alcohol Right Before Bed
I've covered these some sleep tips extensively in the past: Drinking alcohol right before going to sleep can derail quality sleep.
I can’t tell you how many people have come to me, not understanding why they aren’t waking up energized who use alcohol to help them fall asleep.
While alcohol can initially help you fall asleep faster, it’s not a reliable sleep aid.
Research has shown that alcohol not only leads to more bathroom trips at night but may even be associated with an increased risk of disordered sleep, including sleepwalking, sleep apnea, paralysis, and less quality sleep overall. But the problem is, alcohol gets in the way of consistent sleep since it leads to going to the bathroom more during the night.
Make no mistake — I’m not saying you have to stop drinking to get great sleep. But you’ll want to give yourself at least a one hour buffer between when you have your last sip of alcohol and when you fall asleep. The reason? Research has shown having alcohol within an hour before bed can reduce melatonin production by 20%.
Exercise Regularly to Improve Sleep
Staying active by exercising consistently not only keeps us physically fit; it can improve our sleep too. Exercise increases the time the body spends in deep sleep, which is the most physically restorative sleep phase.
Regular daytime exercise, according to one 2018 study, has been shown to increase melatonin production — which we know is a big deal for getting to, and regulating, sleep.
Having a consistent exercise routine has also been helpful in treating common sleep disorders like insomnia, while other research suggests that low levels of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle are often linked to poor sleep and sleep quality. Your goal should be to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, which comes out to 30 minutes per day, five days per week. That’s the baseline recommended by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.
Know Your Chronotype
Do you know what your chronotype is? If not, it’s an important piece of information that outlines your individual preferences for sleep. Your chronotype impacts virtually every part of your life, from the best time to fall asleep, exercise, schedule a big meeting at work, and even the best time to be intimate with your significant other.
There are four types of chronotypes — lion, bear, wolf, and dolphin — and each has its own distinct characteristics.
Turn Down the Thermostat
I say this all the time when it comes to sleep — the cooler the better. For most people, the ideal room temperature is 65-67 degrees Fahrenheit when going to bed.
Hot temperatures get in the way of quality sleep in a number of ways. One issue is that when it’s hot, research shows you’re more likely to get up during the night — which impacts sleep efficiency, making it tougher for your body to properly complete its sleep cycles. Hot temperatures also decrease the time spent in REM sleep, the final sleep cycle that’s associated with dreaming; REM sleep has been shown to help with memory consolidation and regulating mood.
Also, one nice benefit of staying cool at night: it triggers brown fat, which helps you burn calories throughout the night.
Thanks for joining! Tune in later, as I will be sharing more sleep tips this week.
Sleep Well, Be Well,
Dr. Michael Breus