Sleep Talk | Gotta Sleep Blog

17 Tips to a Better Night's Sleep | How to Sleep Better Naturally

Author: Eric Buchfink

Wonder how to sleep better at night naturally?  Sleep is very important to your overall health. In fact, it ranks just after air, food and water. If you’re not getting proper REM and NREM sleep nightly, you’re stopping you brain from recharging properly at the end of the day.

REM is a stage of sleep called rapid eye movement. The REM stage is when your mind renews itself. NREM is a stage of sleep called non-rapid eye movement. It’s during this stage that the body repairs tissues, strengthens the immune system and builds muscle and bone. If you get enough of both REM and NREM sleep, you wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day!

Here are some tips for helping you get a better night’s sleep:

Consider buying a quality mattress.

Investing in a quality mattress is just as important as investing in a good desk chair when it comes to easing the pressure on your body. A quality mattress should provide support to your spine and lower back, take pressure off key pressure points like your hips, elbows, ribs and shoulders, and fit your body-type and comfort preferences.

Find a good sleep temperature.

People tend to toss and turn more when they’re too hot or too cold. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius. As everyone’s sleep temperature preference differs, it’s important that you find the best temperature for your own perfect sleep. Whether that means an extra blanket or cracking the window to get your room feeling just right.

Keep your tootsies warm.

Most people sleep better in cool temperatures, but not if their feet are cold! If your feet are cold, it could mean that you have poor blood circulation, but people with high metabolisms tend to lose heat quickly too. For whatever reason, cold feet reduces sleep quality. If your feet feel like ice under the sheets, consider wearing socks to bed, putting an extra blanket over them, or sleeping with a hot water bottle.

Consider how your partner sleeps.

If you wake up every time your partner rolls over in bed, you might have to re-evaluate your sleeping situation. You can find a mattress built to reduce motion transfer, so you don’t feel their movement. Alternatively, you can spring for a larger mattress so there’s less chance they roll onto you halfway through the night.

Choose the right pillow.

As 17% of your spine is in your neck, it’s important to have proper neck and spinal alignment when sleeping. Sleeping with the right pillow for your sleep position can prevent spinal nerve compression and reduce health issues like headaches, tightness in your shoulders or arm pain/tingling on waking.

Have a shower.

Those that shower before they go to bed at night fall asleep easier and get sick less than those that shower in the morning. When we got to bed without an evening shower, all the day's sweat and germs come to bed with you. So shower often ... at least before you go to bed.

Commit to getting enough sleep.

The amount of sleep a person needs depends on their age and health. Adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep can affect your stress hormone and thyroid levels. This can cause health issues like a weakened immune system, depression, weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and even an increased risk of diabetes.

Are your kids getting enough sleep? Here’s how much they need:

  • Newborns: 12 - 18 hours.
  • Infants: 14 to 15 hours.
  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours.
  • Preschoolers: 11 to 13 hours.
  • School aged children: 10 to 11 hours.
  • Teenagers 8.5 to 9 hours.

Get a sleep cycle app.

Purchase a sleep cycle app online. A good sleep cycle app can analyze your sleep cycles, and wake you up in the morning during a light sleep stage. This is a better alternative to an alarm clock, which can interrupt healthy REM and NREM sleep. The app can be set to wake you up during a light sleep phase up to half an hour before your regular alarm clock time, so that you wake up refreshed versus waking up during a sleep cycle that leaves you stressed and irritated for the day.

Get black out blinds.

The darker your room is at night, the better you’ll sleep. Sleep patterns are controlled by light, any light, including the street light shining into your bedroom window or even a nightlight. Get window coverings that keep the room dark, and unplug devices that allow light. If your body feels that it’s dark, it will produce melatonin, a natural hormone that helps you sleep.

Exercise.

Sleep quality and quantity naturally decline as we age. Half an hours exercise five days a week can improve sleep immensely. Afternoon exercise provides the greatest benefit. And walking or exercising outdoors is even better, as natural light regulates your body clock, which helps you rest at night.

Decaf coffee after lunch.

Did you know it takes up to 11 hours to metabolize the caffeine from a cup of coffee? Cut out those afternoon coffees or switch to decaf, and your sleep will improve.

No alcohol before bed.

You might feel tired after a few drinks, but that effect won’t last long. Alcohol reduces NREM and REM stages of sleep, and this can wake you up in the middle of the night. A good rule of thumb is to avoid drinking alcohol 3 hours before you go to bed. Passing out is not the same as sleeping.

If you must snack, make it high protein.

Eating a big meal or snack right before bed can disturb your sleep. If you’re really hungry, consider a small high protein snack. This could boost melatonin and increase drowsiness. Peanut butter on toast, or yogurt and/or a banana are good snack suggestions.

Read before bed.

Reading a book can help you relax. It's a better before-bedtime activity than TV screen time, as some TV shows can stimulate your brain in a way that can reduce restfulness.

Get cozy.

Avoid tight-fitting clothing when you go to bed. Choose loose, comfortable and breathable pajamas. You should also invest in comfortable sheets and bedding.

Limit nap time.

Having long afternoon naps might seem like a good idea, but these can reduce your nighttime sleep. And keep naps to under 30 minutes. Short naps can recharge your body, while long ones can make you feel groggy all day, and keep you up at night.

Surround yourself with family and friends.

Knowing you have a tribe you can count on is comforting, and helps ease stress, which translates to better sleep.

If you’re tried everything and you still can’t get some decent shut-eye, it might be time to see a medical doctor. Sometimes we can’t sleep because of a medical condition or a sleep disorder. But that doesn't mean there's no hope! Everyone deserves a good nights sleep, and we at GottaSleep, just want to help you get there.                           

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