10 Practical Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is a necessity. Without it you will be tired, irritable, and unproductive the entire next day. Long-term sleep difficulties are also linked to a variety of health problems, such as obesity. Sleep is vital for the body and mind to function properly, so it is no surprise that poor sleep is so damaging. Sadly, trouble sleeping is a common malady. Though mediocre sleep may sometimes be unavoidable, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. If you are one of the unfortunates who struggle regularly to get your nightly rest, see if these 10 tips will help relieve your problem.

1. Maintain the same sleeping schedule throughout the week.

Most people have to get up at the same time every weekday, but have no such restrictions on the weekend. Social activities that extend late into the evening are also common on Fridays and Saturdays. As a result it is common to sleep according to a very different schedule during the weekend in comparison to the workweek. The problem with this is that it upsets the natural rhythms of the body’s Circadian sleep cycle, and ultimately reduces the quality of your sleep. If your body gets used to going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday, it will be easier for you to fall asleep, and stay soundly asleep for the entire night.

2. Exercise.

If you don’t get enough exercise, you will have excess energy as you approach the evening, making it even more difficult to fall asleep. Exercise is part of a healthy life, and multiple studies have shown that habitual exercise supports deep, quality sleep. A good workout session will leave you fatigued, weary, and ready for a good night’s sleep when bedtime comes.

3. Reduce the stress in your life.

Peace of mind is as important to restful sleep (and falling asleep in the first place) as anything else. If you are overwhelmed with worries and anxieties, your mind will not be able to rest, relax, and let go. Now, eliminating stress completely may be impossible. Many people have numerous responsibilities and genuine problems they can’t help but worry about. Still, at least leave your cares outside your bed. Put your worries aside until tomorrow, and let a good night’s sleep prepare you for the next day.

4. Avoid daytime naps.

Sure, a catnap in the afternoon may feel great, and may even give you more energy for the rest of the day — but unfortunately, it will also upset your body’s internal sleep clock. If you are tired from a bad night of sleep, a nap can be hard to resist. The problem is that though a nap may relieve the negative effects of bad sleep temporarily, in the long run it will contribute to the problem.

5. Use alcohol in moderation.

It is true that consuming alcohol — especially in very large doses — can put the drinker to sleep. Alcohol is even used as a makeshift sleep aid by some. However, while alcohol does have a soporific effect, it promotes bad, non-restful sleep. If you go to sleep while drunk or tipsy you won’t be getting the positive effects of deep sleep. As the night continues the alcohol will disturb your sleep more and more, even if it does help you go under initially.

6. Don't consume caffeine in the late afternoons or evening.

Caffeine is a popular stimulant that promotes alertness and mental focus. These qualities are why caffeine is a daily ritual for millions. Unfortunately, those same attributes can keep you awake late into the evening. While there’s no need to give up caffeine entirely (unless you are unusually sensitive to the drug), try to eliminate any intake late in the day. Though tempting, consuming more caffeine to counteract the symptoms of bad sleep is a short-term solution that is destructive and counterproductive in the long run.

7. Avoid using electronics with bright screens in the hours before bedtime.

Research has shown that the sort of artificial light put off by screens has a stimulating effect, which disrupts natural tiredness and makes going to sleep harder. Turn off your daylight-imitating electronic screens a few hours before bedtime to avoid this problem, and engage in a quiet, calming activity instead. During the day, expose yourself to natural light if possible.

8. Create an environment conducive to sleep.

This means your room should be quiet and dark, and your bed comfortable and properly supportive. Try using a sleep mask if you cannot eliminate all light. Since most people sleep better in cooler temperatures, make sure your room isn’t hot or warm — and consider setting your thermostat lower at night, or having a fan blowing on you while you sleep. Your goal should be for your bedroom to have a soothing, restful atmosphere.

9. See if 'white noise' will help.

While sleeping in total silence is probably ideal, small ambient noises will often interrupt the quiet and disturb or prevent sleep. A better option might be a steady background noise. This is the sort of sound called ‘white noise’ — a consistent, repeating sound that hides ambient noise while remaining unobtrusive itself. White noise is found to be soothing and relaxing by most people; it can be provided by a white noise machine, or played on your computer or smart phone. A fan’s hum is also white noise.

10. See a specialist in sleep medicine if your condition persists.

If you’ve tried a variety of solutions and you still can’t get a good night’s sleep, it’s possible the source of your troubles is a more serious sleep disorder (such as sleep apnea). Poor sleep can also be a sign of a major health issue, such as cardiac or pulmonary diseases. Even if your problem is not so severe, a doctor will be able to help you identify the underlying causes of your sleeplessness. If necessary, a doctor can also prescribe sleeping pills.

A good night’s sleep is one of the cornerstones a life well-lived, since sleep is vital for health, productivity, and happiness. Without sleep’s rejuvenating effects, you will feel sluggish, anxious, and unfocused. Don’t fall into the trap of accepting bad sleep as an inevitable and normal part of life — everyone should be able to sleep well. Good sleep is too important to be forsaken. Following these ten guidelines should help you on your way to the deep, restful, quality sleep that you need.

Stephen Ralph
Stephen Ralph
Stephen is the Founder of Health Haxor, an active duty USAF service member, online entrepreneur and fitness buff. In between a busy schedule Stephen is an active contributor to Health Haxor and regularly posts articles related to men's health, fitness and nutrition.
Stephen Ralph
- 8 years ago
Stephen Ralph
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