Bullet-proof Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of weight gain, impaired cognitive functions, depression, increase anxiety levels, and decreased motor control. Apart from that, a lack of sleep can weaken our immune system.

Unfortunately, many of us seem to have a hard time, either falling or staying asleep. Stress or the usage of phones or tablets before bedtime are among the culprits of this unhealthy trend.

Here’re some tips that can help you to have a good night’s sleep:

Increase your exposure to sunlight in the morning

Exposure to sunlight during the day — especially in the morning — can have a positive impact on your circadian rhythm. According to the National Institue of General Medical Science, the circadian rhythm — also referred to as our inner clock — are changes in our body and brain that follow a daily cycle. These changes help us staying awake or being asleep. A healthy circadian rhythm is, therefore, crucial for good getting a good night’s sleep.

study with elderly individuals found that exposure to sunlight between 8 am and 10 am for five days seems can increase sleep quality significantly.

If you’re living in an area with less natural light during the winter months, investing in a light therapy lamp can be a good idea. The light intensity of the lamp should have 10000 lux, and the light treatment should last for at least 30 minutes in the morning.

Minimize noise

Noise is linked to poor sleep quality. A study about the correlation between sleep quality and noise showed that even low-frequency noise has a significant impact negative on cortisol levels, sleep quality, and mood.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels are the underlying cause of many health issues including, headache, high blood pressure, weight gain, or diabetes.

The concentration of cortisol in your blood is typically high in the morning and gets lower during the day. However, stress can keep cortisol levels elevated and thus prevent you from falling asleep at night.

Watch what and when you eat

Eating too close to bedtime can compromise sleep quality, so try to eat at least three hours before you intend to sleep.

Certain foods or drinks can make falling asleep harder, while others can help you to relax and might promote restful sleep.

Foods that contain the amino acid L-Tryptophan help the brain to produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you to relax. Cottage cheese, turkey, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts are good sources of this essential amino acid.

Walnuts also contain melatonin, a neurohormone that regulates our inner clock. Melatonin levels decrease as we age, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Consuming melatonin supplements* or melatonin-rich food can help to counteract this. If I use supplements, I prefer the ones with a sustained-release formula. They help me to stay asleep, which tends to be my biggest challenge.

Apart from that, foods high in magnesium can help you to relax your brain and muscles, both crucial for a good night’s sleep. Foods rich in magnesium include bananas, pumpkin seeds, or almonds.

Coffee, caffeinated tea, or alcohol, on the other hand, can compromise your sleep quality. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try to limit your coffee or tea consumption after 12 pm.

Stay in the dark

Exposure to light has been linked to decreased sleep quality. This doesn’t necessarily mean exposure to sunlight. Using tablets or phones before going to bed can impact your ability to fall asleep significantly.

Also, small lights in your bedroom, such as the light from alarm clocks, can make it harder to fall asleep.

Limiting screentime before you go to bed and using sleep masks can help to get the quality sleep you need.

Keep a “worry journal” on your nightstand

It’s hard to fall asleep when you worry about next-day projects, future challenges, or life in general. Worries tend to get bigger when they’re diffuse. Writing worries down, on the other hand, can help you to keep them in proportion.

According to Psychcentral, putting your worries on paper can help to keep to release tension, which can make it easier to find sleep eventually.

Reduce stress

As mentioned above, stress can elevate cortisol levels, which makes it hard for you to sleep.

Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation are linked to decreased stress levels and improved sleep quality. Taking only 5 minutes to do a short breathing meditation can work wonders for your sleep hygiene.

Another way to reduce stress is by practicing yoga. According to a National Survey, yoga helped 55% of the participants to improve the quality of their sleep.

You can find more tips on how to reduce your stress level in this post:

*Melatonin can have side effects or interfere with medication, so make sure to check in with your healthcare provider before taking it.

In good health,
Rike

Rike Aprea

My name is Friederike Aprea. Most people call me Rike. I'm German-born and have lived and worked in Japan and Korea before I moved to the US. I coach individuals and companies using the principles of Kaizen. Whether you want to live a more purpose-driven life, improve your health, or change the business model of your company: Kaizen can get you there. Step by step. Day by day.

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