Commitment + Clinical Leadership = Better Outcomes
Tired? 6 Ways to Get Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining your health and improving your mood. When you wake up without enough sleep, you might feel sluggish and unable to focus on your day’s tasks.
But sometimes finding enough time to sleep can be challenging. You may have a lot of responsibilities that keep you up late, or you might find difficulty falling asleep when you are in bed.
Here are six ways you can start improving your habits to rest up and ultimately get better sleep.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time
One way you can start improving the amount of sleep you get each night is by going to bed at the same time every night.
Did you know that our bodies naturally respond to the patterns we sleep in? This is because we have a natural circadian rhythm, which is controlled by our brain and is highly responsive to light.
The circadian rhythm tells our body to stay alert during the day, and produces melatonin at night when we go to bed.1
That means our bodies respond to regular routines. Have you ever felt jet lag when you came off a plane? Or how about feeling more tired than usual because you woke up an hour early? That is because our circadian rhythm is partly reliant on a predictable routine to help regulate our bodies during sleep.
Other factors such as stress, exercise, caffeine, napping, and electronic devices can also influence your circadian rhythm.2 You should think about your daily routine and how you approach the day because it affects the amount of hours you get to sleep.
If you’re looking to get your circadian rhythm under control, start by going to bed and waking up at the same time. Over time, this habit will naturally form, and your body’s circadian rhythm will adjust to help you get better sleep.
Sleep in a Quiet and Comfortable Environment
The place you go to bed can directly influence how much sleep you get. For example, if you’re near a highway and can hear the traffic outside, it may be harder to sleep than if you live in a rural area.
A study that sampled seniors and their sleep habits found that nocturnal light can affect the amount of melatonin the body produces. They also concluded that comfortable pillows and mattresses also play a role in the amount of sleep someone gets each night.3
What this shows is that your environment may influence how much sleep you get each night. Here are some ideas to help you improve your bedroom and get better sleep:
- Get a comfortable mattress and pillows. If you are unable to sleep because you aren’t comfortable, then you might want to invest in a new mattress and pillows. You don’t want to be thinking about what you are sleeping on, so buy fluffy pillows and a plush mattress that work well with your body.
- Sleep where it’s dark at night but light in the morning. Sleep somewhere where you won’t be exposed to light during the night or too much darkness in the morning. This can help regulate your sleep cycle as well as ensure you are waking up and going to bed at the same time.
- Reduce noise distractions. Turn off the television, electronic devices, or anything else that might distract you to get better sleep. The noise may be keeping you up at night, even if you think it isn’t.
- Sleep alone if you need to. Some people get more rest alone than next to someone, whether it’s because they go to bed at a different time or if their partner snores. Think about sleeping in a room by yourself if you think you are having a hard time sleeping because of another person.
- Set a comfortable temperature. You don’t want to be too hot or cold when you’re sleeping. Choose the temperature beforehand so that way you can relax during the night.
Overall, creating a space where you can sleep comfortably can help you get better rest. You don’t want to be wasting nighttime hours because your brain is distracted by something else.
Don’t Eat or Drink Caffeine Before Bed Time
When you wake up in the morning, you might have a nice cup of coffee or tea to help you start the day. You also might make some in the evening time when you’re unwinding as well.
However, did you know that caffeine works as soon as your body absorbs it? Caffeine will raise your heartrate and blood pressure, and the effects typically last for up to five hours.4
That means consuming products with caffeine may be affecting your ability to get better sleep. After all, many people drink caffeine as a way to wake up and start the day in the morning.
You might want to think about what you eat for dinner if you think caffeine might be the reason you can’t get enough sleep. According to The National Sleep Foundation, foods that contain caffeine include:5
- Ice Cream
If you enjoy eating any of these before going to bed, you might want move these to items to breakfast or lunch time because the caffeine will probably keep you up at night.
Did you know how much you exercise can influence the amount of sleep you get each night?
This is because when you exercise, you’re actively moving your body. The time of day you exercise, along with the type of exercise you pursue, may have an impact on your sleep quality.
For example, aerobic exercises release endorphins that alert the body and keep it awake, so you will need 1-2 hours to wait for them to wash out of your system.6 That means exercising too close to bed time can potentially be keeping you up later than you anticipate.
Furthermore, exercise can affect your sleep cycle because of your body temperature.7 When you’re up and active, your body temperature naturally rises; after this state, your body will cool itself down, and you may feel tired.
This change in temperature can be beneficial to you if you exercise in the morning or afternoon. Your body will go through its cycle of feeling like it needs to cool down, and you’ll be tired at night when you eventually go to bed.
Consider the type of routine exercise you undergo every day and how it might be affecting your sleep. You might need to adjust the time of day for your workout to help yourself get better sleep at night.
Relax Before Bedtime
Another way to help get better sleep is by simply relaxing before bedtime. Sometimes our stresses, anxiety, and worries can keep us up at night.
But did you know that not getting enough of sleep might be hindering the amount of stress you have? According to a survey cited by the American Psychological Associate, 21% of adults who don’t get enough of sleep feel stressed.8
This means stress and sleep can be linked to one another; the less sleep you get, the more stressed you feel.
Because stress and sleep quality have a relationship with one another, it’s important to learn how to relax at night.
Here are a few ideas on how you can let go of your stress at night time:
- Read before bedtime. Read a relaxing novel that transports you to another world to get better sleep at night.
- Meditate. Meditating can help you calm your mind and relax your body before bed.
- Turn off electronic devices. Electronic devices can distract your brain and keep you up at night longer. Turn off your phone, television, and other electronics that might be keeping you up.
- Journal your thoughts. Journaling is a way for you to wind down at night while recapping the day. Write down all of the positives that happened to you, and your goals for the next day.
- Take a warm bath. A relaxing bath can help calm your nerves and help you sleep better at night.
- Focus on some things you’re thankful for. This can help you forget your anxiety by looking at all the positives that you have in your life.
With all these in mind, consider making night time when you decompress and let go of stress. If you have trouble managing stress in your life, you also might want to consider therapy or talking to a health professional.
Seek Out a Health Professional
If you’ve tried winding down at night, sleeping in a quiet environment, and other strategies to sleep better at night to no avail, you might want to consider seeking professional help.
After all, did you know that there is a sleep condition called insomnia, which is a sleep disorder that keeps people up at night?
While the list goes on more than this, it’s important to consult with your doctor if you think insomnia may be affecting your everyday performance. You may be surprised that the root cause is a condition that you might also want to treat to help yourself sleep better.
Some adults may also experience acute insomnia, which is a temporary condition that usually lasts days or weeks caused by stress or trauma. Common causes include events such as the death of a loved one, sleeping in a new place, medications, or illnesses.
You can work with your doctor to overcome insomnia and get back to feeling healthy and active.
Saber Healthcare Encourages Healthy Sleep Habits
We know how important it is for you and your loved ones to get the right amount of sleep at night. That’s why we encourage you to take the necessary steps to identify what’s keeping you up so you can get better sleep.
To learn more about Saber Healthcare and what we offer, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Suni, Eric. Dimitriu, Alex, ed. “Circadian Rhythm.” Onecare Media LLC, sleepfoundation.org. Published September 25th, 2020. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm
- Silver, Natalie. Dasgupta, Raj, ed. “Everything to know about your Circadian Rhythm.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. Published July 13th, 2020. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/circadian-rhythm
- Desaulniers, Desjardins, et. al. “Sleep Environment and Insomnia in Elderly Persons Living at Home.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information. Published September 27th, 2018. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6180994/
- Johnson, Jon. Olsen, Natalie, ed. “How Long Does a Cup of Coffee Keep You Awake?” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. Published May 13th, 2018. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321784
- “Surprising Foods That Contain Caffeine.” Onecare Media LLC, sleep.org. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.sleep.org/foods-with-caffeine/
- “Exercising for Better Sleep.” The John Hopkins University, John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/exercising-for-better-sleep
- “How Exercise Impacts Sleep Quality.” Onecare Media, sleepfoundation.org. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-exercise-impacts-sleep-quality
- “Stress and Sleep.” American Psychological Association, apa.org. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep
- “Insomnia.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, mayoclinic.org. October 15th, 2016. Accessed November 18th, 2020. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167