10 Ways To Improve Your Sleep

By Nicky Ruszkowski

Sleep is frequently dismissed, but it's a component of your wellbeing capable of changing your whole life.

When people consistently have insufficient or poor quality sleep, there can be damaging and even life-threatening consequences long term. Inadequate sleep contributes to decrease cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning, plus increases likelihood of developing in mental health problems. With insufficient sleep, the body is not able to repair and rebuild. If you're an athlete, it will significantly hinder your recovery. Your immune system will be weaker and you will be more susceptible to gain weight. Research has shown that variable sleep schedules, going to bed thirsty, environmental noise, use of electronics devices in the 30 minutes prior to sleeping and stress contribute to poor sleep quality.

Here are some things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. 

  1. No electronics  (phone, TV, iPad, kindle etc) in the 30 minutes before you go to sleep.

  2. Go to bed (and turn off the lights) 15 minutes earlier than usual.

  3. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only. No eating, reading, working, pets sleeping with you etc

  4. No caffeine after 3pm. Caffeine stays in your system for over six hours.

  5. No exercise within 90 minutes of your bedtime. Exercise increases levels of hormones that keep you awake. Get that workout done in the morning instead.

  6. Keep a journal or to-do list by your bed and note down any sources of stress or things that are on your mind before you go to bed. By writing them down, you are putting a pin in them until tomorrow, allowing you to sleep better.

  7. Lower you thermostat by 2 degrees, a cool sleeping environment will improve sleep.

  8. If you tend to nap for more than 30 minutes, reduce naptime or remove naps completely. Short naps can be beneficial but naps over 30 minutes negatively impact you much more important nighttime sleep.

  9. No alcohol. Alcohol consumption at night will decrease the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone, which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions.

  10. Reduce fluid intake in the late evening and make sure you use the bathroom right before you go to bed.

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