A good night’s sleep goes hand-in-hand with optimized mental and physical health. As you get older, you may find that you struggle to get your forty winks.
This could be due to several factors, such as stress or medical issues. However, there are a few habits that you can work to develop, which will help improve your slumber.
Check Your Mattress
Tossing and turning in discomfort isn’t conducive to a proper night’s rest. If you always wake up with backaches and joint pains, your mattress could be the culprit.
An old, worn-out bed doesn’t support your body the way it used to, while one that’s not designed for your body type and sleeping position only exacerbates those restless nights.
While you can find a good mattress to prevent back pain, first check your current one’s condition and see whether there’s any damage that can be repaired.
If you then decide it’s time for a new bed, make sure to do your research. You’ll want something that conforms to your body’s contours and provides support.
Explore Your Sleep-Wake Cycle
Getting back into sync with your body’s circadian rhythm is one of the essential strategies for better slumber. If you stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule, you’ll feel more rested and refreshed.
Attempt to rise and go to bed at the same time every day. Avoid napping and sleeping in, even on weekends, as this will confuse your internal clock. If you feel tired way before bedtime, get up and do something slightly stimulating, such as washing dishes or calling a friend.
You’ll find that, eventually, your body will naturally fall into a set routine every day. Not only does this promote better shut-eye, but it also improves the quality of your waking hours.
Decrease Light Exposure
Your body produces a natural hormone called melatonin. It’s controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. When it’s dark, your brain is programmed to secrete this substance to make you sleepy.
However, if you’re over-exposed to light, melatonin production drops, and instead, your mind stays alert. To help shift your circadian rhythm back to its natural state, you can try out one of these strategies:
- In the morning, expose yourself to sunlight to help you wake up
- Spend more time outside during the day
- Let natural light into your workspace as much as possible
- Avoid bright screens and digital devices 1-2 hours before bedtime
- Instead of watching TV, read a book, or listen to music
- Make sure your room is dark when you’re ready to sleep
- If you get up at night, avoid switching on bright lights
Exercise for Better Sleep
Those who exercise regularly tend to rest better and feel more energized during the day. Physical activity also improves symptoms of apnea and insomnia. It increases the amount of time you spend sleeping in the restorative stage.
The more you exert yourself, the better the benefits are for your slumber. However, even light movement, such as a 10-minute walk, improves sleep quality.
It can take a few months of regular effort before you experience the full effects. Be patient and focus on building a workout habit that sticks. Try to finish any vigorous routines at least three hours before bedtime.
Eat Less at Dinner
It may sound surprising, but your eating habits can play a role in how well you sleep. What you consume in the hours leading up to bedtime is especially important. Certain foods and drinks with stimulants like caffeine can keep you up at night. It’s best to avoid them at least a few hours before you hit the hay.
Try to make dinner earlier in the evening, so you don’t eat a heavy meal within two hours of bed. It gives your body enough time to start the digestion process and decreases the chances of heartburn.
Avoid alcohol before bed; even a small nightcap can interfere with your rest cycle. In general, try to limit the beverages you drink in the evening. Frequent bathroom trips throughout the night will leave you feeling tired the next day.
After a long day, we all want to enjoy the restorative power of a good night’s sleep. To promote better slumber, make sure that your mattress is suited to your body type, so you don’t wake up with aches or pains.
Consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time also improves your sleep quality. Expose yourself to natural light during the day, while at night, steer clear of bright screens and glaring lamps.
Some vigorous exercise also helps prompt better napping, as does avoiding heavy meals and stimulants before bedtime.