1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Your body has a natural circadian rhythm. Getting in sync with this natural sleep-wake cycle is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. We suggest going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep.
People often try to ‘catch up’ on sleep on the weekends after sleeping poorly during the week, but this is not as effective. By keeping a regular sleep schedule, you’ll fall asleep quicker and have a more consistent experience of feeling refreshed and energized when you wake.
You also have to be smart about napping. An afternoon nap might be a good idea when you know you’ll be working until late, but it should not be a routine, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at night. The best way to nap is to limit it to 15 or 20 minutes, so you won’t experience feeling more tired afterward.
2. Control the light
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm, such as exposure to electronic device screens when you’re supposed to be getting ready for bed.
The right way to program your body healthily is to follow the pattern of the sun. Expose yourself to bright sunlight when you wake and avoid bright screens one or two hours before bedtime. Also, keep lights to a minimum if you get up during the night. This way, you won’t be confusing your body and messing with your sleep cycle.
3. Exercise during the day
Regular exercise is proven to reduce the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. The reason? Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol.
Exercise daily, even for just 10 minutes, to help you sleep better at night and carry on into the next day. Just avoid exercising too close to bedtime when you should be winding your body down into relaxation mode for sleep.
4. Don’t eat or drink late in the evening
Good eating habits aren’t just for your health or losing weight – they play a role in how well you sleep at night. For that reason, be smart about what you eat and drink and when you do it. For example, eat dinner as early in the evening as possible and avoid heavy, rich or sugary foods and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta.
Also, alcohol too close to bedtime is counterproductive. This may seem unavoidable when you’re having a fun night out, but notice the time and avoid continuing to drink two hours before you turn in for bed. Remember, while alcohol might make you sleepy, most drinks, especially mixed drinks, have hidden sugars that do the opposite.
5. Actively relax before bedtime
Stress and anxiety are enemies of sleep. Oftentimes, this is due to negative thoughts or work that you’ve brought home from the office. Work is important, but the key is to respect your innate need to disconnect. That balance will help you to become a healthier person and a better professional in the long run.
Even if you had a bad day at work, engage in relaxing activities before bedtime to clear your mind. Have a nighttime routine in place and use further techniques on particularly stressful days (like having a warm bath, for example). This self-care is needed to get the rest you deserve so you can tackle whatever the next day brings.
6. Create an inviting bedroom environment
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary. Have you ever noticed how hotels and spas are so precise when it comes to their decorations? This is intentional. They know how important total relaxation is to their clients and provide them with purposeful colors and decor.
You’ll find it a lot harder to relax in a messy bedroom with bold colors everywhere and lots of stuff. Keep your bedroom clean, organized, and comfortable to create your oasis.
Most of us forget to pay attention to our bedroom, our sleep setting, but this is the place where we go to recharge every night. With that in mind, take the time to invest in your surroundings as it is: an investment in healthy sleep practices.
7. Have a comfortable bed and bedding
The difference a bed makes is incredible and essential for a truly good night’s sleep. For example, if your bed is too small or if the mattress is not right, then you need to invest in a new one. We know it can be a costly expense, but your comfort, especially as it relates to the quality of your sleep, is of the utmost value.
It is less considered how much bed linen plays a big role in good sleep quality. However, the best hotels in the world do understand this and choose only the best, high-quality bedding sets for their bedrooms. Just imagine the feeling of slipping into your bed every night like you’re in a luxury hotel with soft, breathable sheets.
If you value your sleep, then you should also invest in luxury bedding.
SEE ALSO: How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Health
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