If you’re having trouble falling asleep and want a good night’s sleep, check out the following from SleepA’s Mentors.
1. Don’t drink alcohol
Having a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
Another study found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions.
2. Optimize your bedroom environment
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep.
These factors include temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement.
Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues.
In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
3. Set your bedroom temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly affect sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good night’s sleep when it’s too warm.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise.
Other studies reveal that increased body and bedroom temperature can decrease sleep quality and increase wakefulness.
Around 70°F (20°C) seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, although it depends on your preferences and habits.
4. Don’t eat late in the evening
Eating late at night may negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin.
That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.
In one study, a high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster (93Trusted Source).
Interestingly, one study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs aren’t always necessary, especially if you’re used to a low carb diet.
5. Relax and clear your mind in the evening
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia.
In one study, a relaxing massage improved sleep quality in people who were ill.
Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualization.
Try out different methods and find what works best for you.
6. Take a relaxing bath or shower
A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better.
Studies indicate that they can help improve overall sleep quality and help people — especially older adults — fall asleep faster.
In one study, taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and improve sleep.
7. Rule out a sleep disorder
An underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems.
One common issue is sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing. People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping.
This condition may be more common than you think. One review claimed that 24% of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea.
Other common medically diagnosed issues include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in shift workers.
If you’ve always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to consult your healthcare provider.