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5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Most people have experienced at least a few nights in their life where they spend half of the time tossing and turning, frustrated by a seeming inability to fall asleep.

One of the main problems with people not being able to fall asleep is that it is a mental game. Often if people are trying to sleep, and find that they cannot, they get frustrated. This frustration causes stress and increases the heart rate. Suddenly it becomes even harder to sleep, and the cycle continues.

Fortunately there are plenty of nifty tricks that can calm the body and help create a relaxing night’s sleep. Here are five important steps everyone should take to sleep just a little better.

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1. Put your phone away

An increasing number of experts and researchers are coming out and saying that using one’s phone close to bedtime can severely affect their ability to sleep. A lot of it comes down to the light that most phones emit when they are on. The blue light that phones emit has been proven to mess with many parts of the sleep cycle. Most recommendations say to stay away from your phone at least an hour before bed, preferably two hours.

2. Eat the right food

Many people do not realize how much the food that they eat in the latter half of the day affects their sleep ability. That same caffeine that gives you a needed jolt in the morning can also give you a much less desired jolt right before bed. Many people are not aware of all the foods that they eat that contain caffeine.

In addition to caffeine, sugar can push your body into overdrive and energize it at the worst possible moments. Try to eliminate eating close to bed, but if that is too hard, then at least eliminate eating carbs and high-energy foods.

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3. Relax your muscles

There are dozens of ways that people use to relax their muscles before they get into bed. Many people do not even realize that they are tense until they do these exercises.

One that works for many people is based on a series of tensing and relaxing muscles. Start with your head muscles and make them as tight as you can. Next, move on to your chest, then arms, then legs, then feet. Once your entire body is tense, move back up, relaxing one thing at a time.

Sometimes your body just needs to be forced to relax. If you are not unconsciously doing it, then consciously doing it is the next best thing. Here are a few more details on the muscle relaxing exercises.

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4. Improve your mattress

Mattresses are something many people do not think of when they try to figure out why they can’t sleep. However there are many benefits to choosing the right mattress, and a good night’s sleep is just one.

If you find yourself often waking up stiff, or having sore muscles after a night’s sleep, then the mattress is likely the culprit. All mattresses are not created equally and it is important to have one that fits your needs and body type. Here is a great mattress guide for finding one that works for you.

5. Eliminate stress

This is obviously easier said then done. The top reason many people cannot sleep is that they lay awake thinking about their problems. When they try to think about something else, their problem just seems to come right back.

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Fortunately there are many people that suffer from those same problems. There are mental exercises that are fairly easy to do that can yield incredible results when trying to sleep while stressed.

Get into the habit of doing each one of these things each day. It may not fix your sleep issues at first, but over time habits will be developed and your body will learn to calm down and relax at night and your sleep will dramatically improve. It’s science.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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