Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep . If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are evidence-based tips to sleep better at night.
1. Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm .
It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep .
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quaIn people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83% .
A similar study in older adults found that two hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by two hours and sleep efficiency by 80%.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect).
Again, this is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep).
Blue light — which electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit in large amounts — is the worst in this regard.
There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:
• Wear glasses that block blue light .Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
• Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
• Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights two hours before heading to bed.
3. Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
However, when consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality .
Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended — especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping
4. Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night .
In fact, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps .
Another study noted that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can negatively affect health and sleep quality .
However, some studies demonstrate that those who are used to taking regular daytime naps do not experience poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you shouldn’t have to worry. The effects of napping depend on the individual .
5. Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality.
One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep).
Other studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep