1. Avoid Caffeine
Perhaps the hardest and most necessary way to improve sleep quality is by avoiding coffee, tea, chocolate, or energy drinks. “But coffee’s just soooo goood” you may be thinking, and I couldn’t agree more, but for better or worse researchers from the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State College of Medicine conducted a study to analyze how caffeine disrupts sleep when consumed at different times in the day. What they found was no matter the time the participants went to sleep, caffeine disrupted sleep greatly. Even the dose of caffeine given 6 hours before bedtime affected the participants sleeping drastically. If you ever wonder why you get a good 8 hours of sleep and wake up feeling like you’ve been awake for 24 hours, this may be what’s causing it.
2. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
If you drink right before it’s bedtime because it helps you fall asleep, I have some good news and some bad news for you. There’s been enough scientific studies and anecdotes from people confirming that alcohol really does help you fall asleep quicker. However, alcohol causes you to wake up more often at different points in your sleep, and can actually makes you believe your sleep quality has improved when in reality it’s actually made your sleep quality so much worse because it decreases an important part of the sleep cycle REM (Rapid eye movement) as many studies have shown. So it’s best you lay off the liquor before sleeping and give it me for safe keeping.
3. Avoid Nicotine
There’s so many reasons to stop smoking as many of you know but not a lot of people talk about nicotine’s significant impact on sleep. A study by researcher at University of Rochester Medical Center in 2013 found that nicotine actually affects your circadian rhythm (your internal body clock), and causes you to wake up more often during the night, smokers are also more likely of suffering insomnia.
4. Dim or Turn Off Those Lights 1 Hour Before Bed
A portion of the brain called the hypothalamus controls your circadian rhythm (body clock) as previously mentioned in the article, it’s responsible for making you alert and awake during the beginning of the cycle (daytime) and sleepier during the end of the cycle (night time). If it’s functioning properly that is.
The presence of light and the absence of it is one of the ways the hypothalamus decides whether to make you more alert or sleepy. Since our hypothalamus can’t tell the difference between sunlight and the light being emitted from your screen apart from it’s intensity, and color as you would expect your TV/Computer Screen, Lights, Tablets, or Mobile Phone cause you to be in a relatively alert state instead of that sloth like state you’re chasing.
5. Aroma Therapy- Use Lavender To Scent Your Room
Lavender has been around for thousands of years, because people discovered very early on before the rise of technology that it has so many health benefits. Some of the benefits are:
- Battles the symptoms of diabetes
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Improves cognitive performance
- Assists with healing of wounds
- Improve your sleep
- Treat Headaches
- Anti oxidants and anti-aging
- Relieve pain
- Reduce acne
6. Use An Acupuncture Mat
Incase you don’t know what acupuncture is it’s a procedure meant for balancing the chakras (energy) flowing through the body using needles. It’s been practiced for 1000s of years in china and has been used to to:
- Prevent and treat disease
- Improve sleep
- Reduce anxiety
- improve physical health
i’m extremely skeptical about acupuncture because there’s no scientific evidence to back up the benefits of acupuncture. However I included it on this list because there’s a lot of people who swear by the power of acupuncture and regardless of whether it’s scientifically backed up I believe the power of belief itself has mental benefits.
7. Try Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is an extremely important part of yoga, singing and one of the techniques advocated by medical experts to reduce feelings of panic during a stressful or alerting event like a panic attack or even during exercise. A few other benefits of deep breathing are:
- It can regulate parasympathetic nervous system and make you feel more relaxed by slowing down your heart rate and can make you sleepier.
- It releases endorphins which are natural pain killers so if pain is the reason you’re staying awake it can help tremendously.
8. Try Bed-Time Stretches/Yoga
9. Get A Massage
Receiving a massage is an amazing way to relax and bond with your partner, relative, or friend. It releases serotonin a neurostimulator that can help you to feel happier and also improve your quality of sleep. It also releases Oxycontin a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter, it’s responsible for feelings of love and bonding. If you can’t receive a massage from a friend, relative or partner what can be equally as good or even better is a massage from a professional massage therapist that you can hire by the hour. However it can often be really expensive, so if you can’t afford it you’ll benefit from getting the affordable alternative, a self shiatsu massager.
11. Try Watching ASMR Videos
ASMR videos are used by a large amount of people including surprisingly Cardi B. They are designed to trigger asmr, relax, reduce anxiety and reduce stress. As described by wiki and people who experience ASMR ” Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.” The percentage of the population that can experience it is unclear due to the lack of scientific studies but there’s scientific evidence that ASMR is real and could be a form of synthesia. A phenomenon where one sense causes another sense to create a response, what I mean by this is basically if you have Synthesia you may be able to taste a color or see a sound because the two sensory pathways associated with sound, color, or taste in your brain are linked in one way or another.
12. Try Listening To White Noise
This really helps drown out thoughts and any background noise like a snoring partner or noisy neighbor. It’s a great way to fall asleep quicker and to increase the duration of your sleep.