A good night's sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function
It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children
In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier.
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are 11 evidence-based tips to sleep better at night.
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel.
Apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also affect sleep.
One study looked at the benefits of a new mattress for 28 days, revealing that it reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60% and back stiffness by 59%. It also improved sleep quality by 60%.
Other studies point out that new bedding can enhance sleep. Additionally, poor-quality bedding can lead to increased lower-back pain.
The best mattress and bedding is extremely subjective. If you are upgrading your bedding, base your choice on personal preference.
It is recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.
If you haven't replaced your mattress or bedding for several years, this can be a very quickand easy with Beesleeping.
Caffeine has inumerous benefits, a single dose can enhance focus, energy and sports performance.
However, when consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality.
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night.
In fact, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps.
Another study noted that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can negatively affect health and sleep quality
However, some studies demonstrate that those who are used to taking regular daytime naps do not experience poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you shouldn’t have to worry. The effects of napping depend on the individual
Your body's circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality
One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep
Other studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
Downing a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body's circadian rhythm.
Another study found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions.
Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night's sleep.
These factors include temperature, noise, external lights and furniture arrangement.
Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues.
In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.
Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly impact sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good night's sleep when it's too warm.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise.
Other studies reveal that increased body and bedroom temperature can decrease sleep quality and increase wakefulness.
Around 70°F (20°C) seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, although it depends on your preferences and habits.
Late-night eating may negatively impact both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin.
That said, the quality and type of your late night snack may play a role as well.
In one study, a high-carb meal eaten four hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster.
Interestingly, one study discovered that a low-carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs are not always necessary — especially if you are used to a low-carb diet.
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia.
In one study, a relaxing massage improved sleep quality in people who were ill.
Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualization.
Try out different methods and find what works best for you.
A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better.
Studies indicate that they can improve overall sleep quality and help people — especially older adults — fall asleep faster.
In one study, a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep.
Alternatively, if you don't want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and improve sleep.
Nocturia is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. It affects sleep quality and daytime energy.
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vital for your health, it is wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try not to drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed.
You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.