Getting enough rest at night is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough sleep each day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans’ daily activities are affected by a lack of sleep. Get a better night’s rest tonight, and feel better tomorrow, with these sleep hacks.
Go Easy on the Caffeine
You may depend on a cup of coffee to get you going in the morning and keep you energized throughout the day, but too much caffeine can make it difficult for your body to wind down at the end of the day. Caffeine affects the human body for approximately six hours, so it’s best to stop drinking coffee or caffeinated soda six to seven hours before you go to sleep each night.
Eat More Prebiotic Foods
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that eating foods with prebiotics resulted in better sleep. Prebiotic foods, such as artichokes, onions, and leeks, contain helpful bacteria that are believed to influence brain function. Incorporate more prebiotics into your diet and reap the restorative benefits of sleep.
Take Sleep-Promoting Supplements
While it’s a good idea to avoid building a dependence on sleep-inducing medications, there are natural supplements that you can take that will help you sleep better. Melatonin is a hormone that is made in the pineal gland that regulates your sleep cycle.
Unfortunately, some people don’t make as much melatonin as they should, resulting in poor sleep quality. Taking a melatonin supplement can help you sleep better if your natural levels of melatonin are low. In addition to melatonin, you can find other natural supplements to promote healthy sleep, including valerian, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and L-theanine.
Turn Off the Television
It may be tempting to catch up on your favorite show in bed or scroll through your phone while trying to fall asleep, but using media before bedtime can make it difficult for your brain to power down.
Using your phone, watching TV, and browsing the internet before bed causes activity in the brain to increase rather than wind down. Instead of releasing melatonin when the sun goes down, electronic devices emit light that suppresses the production and release of melatonin. Stop using electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime to help your brain calm down for better sleep.
Get a New Mattress
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, then your mattress may be to blame. Exercise and sleep aids can only do so much to promote a restful night—especially if your mattress is lumpy, old, and worn. Experts recommend changing your mattress every five to seven years. But even if your mattress is relatively new, it may be a good idea to look into purchasing a mattress with better support. Your new mattress should relieve pressure points and support your spine—as these are key features that promote deep, restful sleep.
Hit the Gym
The National Sleep Foundation found that regular physical activity significantly improves sleep quality. However, exercising too close to bedtime can invigorate your body and make it difficult to fall asleep. So make sure you exercise earlier in the day. Hit the gym in the early morning hours, join an exercise group after work, or take an early evening stroll to get a restful night of sleep.
Not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep at night affects everything from your physical health to your relationships with others. Don’t suffer through another sleepless night and try these sleep hacks instead. That way, you can wake up refreshed and ready for a new day.