Sleep at night – or lack of it — has the potential to make or break your day. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining healthy body functions, from your brain to your kidneys. Activities during the day, as well as your sleep environment at night, can influence the quality and amount of sleep you get. Learn how to sleep better at night naturally with these tips.
See The Light
Light affects your sleeping patterns in two ways: by making it more difficult to fall asleep, and by throwing off our internal clock, which mirrors nature’s day and night cycles. One way to help you sleep better at night naturally is to minimize the amount of light around you while you’re trying to fall asleep, from lamps and overhead lights to natural light from the setting sun. Consider buying blackout curtains or dark shades for your windows and turn off all light sources when you hit the sack.
Another way you can improve your sleeping pattern is to begin dimming the lights around you as the light outside dwindles. This doesn’t mean sitting in the dark for hours; rather, you should replace bright overhead lights with softly-lit lamps after dusk, and avoid electronic devices, including computers and cell phones, an hour before your regular bedtime.
Each day, your brain deals with stress, anxiety, and overstimulation, and while these feelings are manageable during the day, they can lead to problems when it’s time to hit the pillow. Relaxation in different forms may help you sleep better at night. Deep breathing, visualizing a calm, peaceful spot, and listening to soft music are all tools to help you relax and fall asleep. If constant thoughts keep you up, store a journal or notebook by your bed to write down your thoughts and help you postpone your worries until morning.
Mind Your Diet
Next time you’re offered a cup of coffee with dessert, you should politely decline – the food you eat and beverages you drink can have an influence on your sleep patterns. Caffeine and alcohol before bed can disrupt your sleep cycle, and heavy, rich foods close to bedtime can cause upset stomach and heartburn. If you’re raiding the fridge for a snack before bed, try low-oxalate options like reduced-fat Wheat Thins; low-sugar corn or rice cereal and milk; or a banana.
Work It Out
Physical activity can help maintain your overall health and body functions in many ways, including how to sleep better naturally. A recent study found that about 150 minutes of moderate activity a week provided significant improvement in sleep quality. Try an early morning run, an extra lap or two around the office, or a lunchtime walk.
When sleep is near, your eyes close, body temperature drops and muscles relax, but one of your senses stays alert: your hearing. While you’re asleep, your brain continues to register sounds, which can wake you up just enough to disturb your sleeping pattern. Reducing sound can help how you sleep better at night naturally. White noise, known best as the type of sound created by a fan or air conditioner, is a consistent, soothing sound that masks background noises, helping you sleep through the night with fewer sound-based interruptions.
Improving your sleep patterns can help maintain your kidney health, heart health, concentration, mood and many more aspects of your health. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a more restful sleep and a brighter morning!