A good night’s sleep is as important (if not more) as daily exercise and a healthy diet. When we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we feel lethargic, short-tempered, suffer from brain fog, and often make poor choices when it comes to food, which is why depression and obesity are some of the more significant health problems to be associated with insufficient sleep. A poor night’s sleep can affect our judgment and slow our reaction time, making everyday tasks like driving while sleep deprived especially dangerous. When looking to improve your overall health, one of the most important ways to be successful in those positive changes is to prioritize sleep. Many of us cut back on sleep as a result of our hectic daytime lives, but less sleep is never the answer.
When we’re overtired, we have a tendency to give in to indulgences, like sugar, caffeine, or skipping workouts. While the occasional bad night’s sleep happens to all of us, the regular occurrence of poor sleep can have serious consequences on our health, both physically and mentally. A good night’s rest is more than just laying down and closing our eyes. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, a few of these tricks may be just the solution. Ultimately the solution to a better night’s sleep comes down to our efforts to make sleep a real priority.
12 Ways To Get A Better Night’s Sleep
1. Avoid electronics at least 1 hour before bed.
The blue light from the TV, tablet, and smartphone screen stimulates our brain and makes it hard for us to fall asleep at night. Make an effort to turn off these devices one hour before bed to help your brain wind down before going to sleep. This is a helpful way to avoid stress too; checking work emails before bed is a recipe for stirring up stress at the wrong time of day and binge watching a favorite TV show may keep you up longer than you really need to be.
2. Avoid alcohol before bed.
Alcohol is a depressant, at first, and may seem to help us fall asleep. But in the second half of our sleep cycle, alcohol is converted to a stimulant. Not only that, it also is a diuretic, increasing the urge to urinate more often, which can keep us up at night.
3. Have a light snack, protein-based.
Going to sleep on a rumbly tummy is the worst, but a heavy meal before bed can disrupt sleep. A light snack, ideally something protein-based, will help settle your tummy before bed. A handful of almonds or a hard-boiled egg are some possible late-night snack choices to help stave off hunger.
4. Read a book.
If you can’t fall asleep within 10-15 minutes after laying down, try reading a book for a few minutes. A little light reading, maybe not something incredibly stimulating or thrilling, can help the brain to settle down at night. Reading before bed is a great way to squeeze in a few pages, but if you’re still up late at night, skip checking your phone or turning on the TV and grab a book instead.