Even your pets can have restless nights.

Many of us will fall asleep at night thinking that we are able to have a restful sleep at the same time and the truth is that we are not receiving as much rest as we assume we are if we are not following some simple practices that could reduce both conscious and subconscious interruptions.  If there were slight changes made to our daily habits, many of us would find ourselves not only sleeping better throughout our evening but also waking, feeling more rejuvenated than we generally do. Below we’ll highlight several tips that can serve as a great way to prepare yourself for receiving a great night’s sleep.

Daytime Bright Light Exposure

Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration (PubMed Central).  With the new age of technology that we live in, individuals tend to go outside less and do more inside.  The digital age has truly altered our way of interacting with others but more importantly, it has impacted the way in which we interact with ourselves.  We have halted the actions and habits that connected us with nature and other humans because of technology. Please don’t mistake the comment of technology as a proverbial “knock” to the wonderful advancements we have made with technology because it is not.  However, the reality of the impact that it has had is quite obvious and true.

In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%.  A similar study in older adults found that two hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by two hours and sleep efficiency by 80% (PubMed Central).  What these facts tell us is that exposure to natural daylight is very essential to helping us have more effective and efficient nights of sleep.  A minimum of two hours a day can make a major difference in our daily number of hours of sleep, so let’s get outside more.

If You Nap, Make Them Short Power Naps

We have all heard that taking a nap throughout the day is very important for proper functionality and clarity of thought when doing tasks throughout the day.  There have been studies that have shown that individuals have reported being sleepier during the day when taking a nap (PubMed Central) that is two hours or more in length.  It’s always been thought that a period of rest within your workday of 15-30 minutes is sufficient to allow you to be able to recover from mental exhaustion and continue to be productive efficiently and effectively.  In other words, long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.

Avoid Late Caffeine Consumption

Sometimes you can find yourself working on tasks throughout your day causing you to become mentally exhausted.  So the first thing many of us will do is reach for a cup of coffee, a red bull or some other caffeinated product.  What’s usually not taken into consideration is the fact that it may be later in the day, you may have taken a nap and are looking for that jolt of energy to help you get through.  No matter what the situation may be, it’s best not to consume caffeine late in your day. In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality (PubMed Central).  Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6-8 hours after consumption.  This alone is another reason why it’s best not to consume caffeine, ideally, after 2 p.m.  Overall, Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening.

Keep Your Bedroom Temperature Consistent

Most people keep the temperature in their bedrooms at 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) for sleeping at night (PubMed Central). This has come across as a common temperature that has given positive outcomes regarding resting at night.  Like with anything that you become better at or would like to make a norm, you have to be consistent. Be sure to pay attention to the way your body responds to room temperatures that you sleep in. Allow yourself to be open to trying different temperatures and even additional environmental changes in your bedroom.  There are so many ways to find out the comfortability that works for you in your bedroom. The most common is temperature control.  

Eating Late Is A Huge Mistake

Late-night snacking could play a major role in you not getting a quality amount of sleep, hence, not allowing you to rest at all throughout the night.  The way that you could measure how much this is having an impact on you is through monitoring your body’s reaction to what you eat before heading to bed, once you awake.  At one point and time carbs were considered to be a reason that people didn’t sleep well throughout their nights. However, a few different studies showed that a high-carb meal would allow individuals to go to sleep much faster.  However, another study has shown that a low-carb meal also improved sleep. With the fact that both diets showed that there was an improvement in sleep, it negates the fact that carbs played a role in the bad quality of sleep individuals would have.  Instead, taking a look at the size of the meals led to the understanding that it is better for you to be mindful of the type of foods that make up the meals that you consume. In addition, you want to be sure that those meals are smaller in size (PubMed Central).

When It’s All Said And Done
Sleep plays a major role in living a healthy lifestyle.  With the proper amount, it contributes to the reduction of the risk of heart disease.  Without the appropriate amount of sleep, the chance of obesity increases by at least 55% in adults and much higher in children (PubMed Central).  It has also been shown that less than 7-8 hours of sleep can increase your chances of heart disease development.  One of the best ways to avoid slacking on your amount of sleep and improve your ability to get more sleep is by keeping a calendar or schedule of your daily activities.  In addition, some of the built-in applications on your phone that can remind you when you should go to sleep to get the appropriate amount of sleep.