As a self-proclaimed night owl, I’m rarely surprised when I lift my eyes from Instagram and see that it’s well past when I intended to go to sleep. Here’s how I explain it to myself: I’ve always stayed up late, and now the only time I get to myself is when my kids are asleep. Here’s what’s actually going on: I’m procrastinating.
Here are some great tips on how to fall asleep
- Increase bright light exposure during the day
It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep
While most research involves people with severe sleep issues, daily light exposure will most likely help you even if you experience average sleep.
Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can improve sleep quality and duration, especially if you have severe sleep issues or insomnia.
- Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
Blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening.
- Don’t consume caffeine late in the day
Caffeine has numerous benefits and is consumed by 90% of the U.S. population
A single dose can enhance focus, energy, and sports performance However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality
- Reduce irregular or long daytime naps
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night
Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
- Try to sleep and wake at consistent times
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality
Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.
- Take a melatonin supplement
Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed Melatonin supplements are an extremely popular sleep aid.
A melatonin supplement is an easy way to improve sleep quality and fall asleep faster. Take 1–5 mg around 30–60 minutes before heading to bed.
- Consider these other supplements
Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including:
Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it may aid sleep, relaxation, and stress reduction, but the evidence is limited. Take 250 mg 30–60 minutes before bed Glycine: A few studies show that taking 3 grams of the amino acid glycine can improve sleep quality (52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source, 54).
Valerian root: Several studies suggest that valerian can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. Take 500 mg before bed
Magnesium: Responsible for over 600 reactions within your body, magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality
L-theanine: An amino acid, L-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. Take 100–200 mg before bed Lavender: A powerful herb with many health benefits, lavender can induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep.
Several supplements, including lavender and magnesium, can help with relaxation and sleep quality when combined with other strategies.
- 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
Avoid alcohol before bed, as it can reduce nighttime melatonin production and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
- 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
Optimize your bedroom environment by eliminating external light and noise to get better sleep.
- 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.
- 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
Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, certain meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help.
- 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
Relaxation techniques before bed, including hot baths and meditation, may help you fall asleep.
- 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
A warm bath, shower, or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.
- 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
There are many common conditions that can cause poor sleep, including sleep apnea. See a healthcare provider if poor sleep is a consistent problem in your life.
- Get a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel.
Apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also affect sleep One study looked at the benefits of a new mattress for 28 days, revealing that it reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60%, and back stiffness by 59%. It also improved sleep quality by 60% Other studies point out that new bedding can enhance sleep. Additionally, poor quality bedding can lead to increased lower back pain The best mattress and bedding are extremely subjective. If you’re upgrading your bedding, base your choice on personal
Your bed, mattress, and pillow can greatly affect sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high quality bedding — including a mattress — every 5–8 years.
- Exercise regularly — but not before bed
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health.
It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia
Regular exercise during daylight hours is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Don’t drink any liquids before bed
Nocturia is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. It affects sleep quality and daytime energy Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vital for your health, it’s wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening. Try to not drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed. You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.