You may think it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep, but you can do it if you make your sleep a priority. Here I am going to tell you few things to support better sleep. And what all things you should avoid if you don’t want to toss and turn all night.
1. Commit to getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night
Making something a priority is the best way to achieve any goal. If sleep is important to you, then go to bed at roughly the same time each night so you can establish a consistent sleep routine and wake feeling great. Stick with the same times to wake up and go to bed each night. Creating a bedtime routine helps your body become accustomed to better sleep. Turn the lights down early to help your body prepare for sleep by signaling melatonin production, a sleep-inducing hormone.
2. Stop worrying and start sleeping
Worrying about work, making a presentation, or thinking about a big event can hinder our sleep. Our mind begins to race with all the what-if scenarios, which can create stress hormones to kick in and keep us awake. Even if we are excited about the next day, our thoughts can stimulate cortisol and adrenaline, which causes us to have excess energy and keeps us tossing and turning.
Have a talk with yourself in advance about a big presentation at work, or a positive event like a wedding, and decide not to ruminate about things at night so you can relax and sleep well. You cannot expect to sleep soundly if you keep yourself up worrying or anticipating what might go wrong, if you keep the lights on late, or participate in activities that require physical and mental energy right before you go to bed.
Write down all the things you need to do to prepare for the next day or week, so you don’t keep going over them in your mind.
3. Make your bedroom a haven for sleep
Do not bring work into your bedroom if possible, or put it away when you are done. Do not stay up late working or watching violent, exciting, or upsetting shows at night. Keep your room at an ideal temperature, around 68 degrees, and invest in a good mattress, pillows, and linens to significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
4. Eat foods that positively affect your sleep and mood
What you eat matters. If you eat greasy, fatty, or spicy foods for dinner, indigestion can keep you up all night tossing and turning, which will make you tired the next day. Eating nutritious foods during the day can help improve your digestion and also help you sleep better. What you eat and drink also affects your mood and nervous system.
Following are some foods that can help you relax and even sleep better:
- Dark, leafy green vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, and other leafy greens are high in calcium which promotes calm and good sleep.
- Grass-fed dairy products: Milk and yogurt are also high in calcium, and also protein which helps balance blood sugar and helps us calm down.
- Turkey: Turkey is known for tryptophan, the amino acids that the body uses to produce serotonin. Studies have linked people who suffer from varying levels of insomnia to low serotonin levels. Serotonin helps regulate your mood naturally, makes you feel calm, and induces sleep.
- Pumpkin seeds: Along with tryptophan, pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which boosts the brain’s ability to convert tryptophan into serotonin.
Here are a few light nighttime meals or snacks you can eat to help you relax and sleep better:
- Half a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread.
- Yogurt sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.
- Roasted chickpeas with a slice of cheese
- Sliced bananas with milk
- A salad with baby spinach or kale as the base
These foods are not only easy on the digestive system but contain vitamins, minerals, and properties that help regulate your mood and relax so you can sleep.
5. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
Drinking beverages with caffeine such as coffee, tea, certain sodas, and energy drinks past noon can keep you awake, and prevent you from falling into a deeper night’s sleep. Contrary to what many believe, alcohol will not help you sleep better. You may fall asleep after drinking alcohol, but more than one or two drinks can cause you to wake up or be restless all night.
When you drink alcohol, your body produces adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain, which explains why you fall asleep quickly after drinking. However, once it subsides, you wake up abruptly and may find it difficult to get back to sleep.
Your mind and body need to wind down in order to get a better night’s sleep. These physical and mental strategies can help you sleep better so you wake up refreshed and feeling great. When you focus on better sleeping habits, learn to curb worry, make your bedroom a better sleep space, and eat lighter meals at night, you will reduce your anxiety, allowing your mind and body to rest.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to support your mental and physical health so you have all the energy you need to make it through the day.