5 Ways to Sleep Better
Raise your hand if you've been unable to go to sleep when you want to. Raise your other hand if you think you could use more sleep or better sleep. Sleep is so important, yet many of us don't get enough sleep or good sleep. Here are five easy changes that can help you sleep better so you can stop sabotaging your good night's sleep.
1) Stop Blue Light
Blue light confuses your body into thinking it's still day, when it's nearing bedtime. If you have an iphone, Night Shift will block the blue light emissions on the screen. If you're a student or work on a computer late at night, F.lux is an app that you can install that shifts the display of your computer so blue light emissions are reduced after sunset. In an ideal world, electronics wouldn't be used an hour before bedtime, but if that's not possible, make sure you're blocking blue light.
2) No Caffeine After ____
This tip is a fill in the blank because caffeine effects people differently. I don't do caffeine after 3pm if I'm trying to get to bed at my usual 10-11pm because I don't have a high tolerance for caffeine. Try switch up the time of your mid-afternoon caffeine pick me up and see if it effects your sleep habits at all.
3) Exercise Smartly
Exercise is another thing that effects people differently. Studies have proven that most people can exercise before bed without affecting their sleep habits or the quality of their sleep, but if you're not one of those people, make sure you get your exercise in early. Exercise in general improves sleep quality, so make sure you're getting in some physical exercise daily!
4) Move Your Phone (or at least put it on airplane mode)
Technology is sort of like the enemy of good sleep. I know plenty of people who like to sleep with the phone across the room or even in a different room so they're not tempted to look at it in bed. I'm not one of those people. My phone lives next to me (partially because I use it as my alarm, partially because I'm addicted), but I've gotten into the habit of setting an automatic do not disturb from 11pm-7am and turning it on airplane mode before going to sleep. If you're a doctor or someone who gets urgent calls, maybe don't turn your phone on airplane mode, but for everyone else, this is such a game changer. Mentally, you don't even think about your phone because you know you're not getting any texts until the morning, so you can sleep better.
I don't like recommending supplements and I think the way supplements are regulated in the US is scary, but sometimes this is a good last resort. Melatonin is often used as a sleep aid, but I only recommend it for resetting your circadian rhythm (i.e. after traveling) because most people's bodies produce enough on their own. I don't recommend using depressants to try and sleep (i.e. alcohol) because they've been shown to reduce quality of sleep.
Let me know in the comments below what tricks you use to sleep better and if there's anything I need to try out myself!