10 Tips to Improve Sleep Quality

Improving sleep quality is crucial for overall health and well-being. The importance of sleep extends beyond simply feeling rested. Adequate and quality sleep plays a vital role in various physiological and psychological processes. Below will highlight 10 tips to improve sleep quality. To learn more about why quality sleep is important for overall health and well-being, check out my previous post covering The Power of a Good Night’s Sleep.

Tips to Improve Sleep Quality

(1) Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock. A 2017 research study demonstrated that an irregular sleep schedule is associated with shorter sleep duration, which can have adverse effect on health and well-being, especially in older adults.

(2) Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Develop calming pre-sleep rituals, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques. Multiple research studies continue to support bedtime routines aiding in better sleep quality, regardless of age, as long as the activity chosen becomes ritual.

(3) Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Make your bedroom comfortable and conducive to sleep. This includes a comfortable mattress and pillows, as well as a cool, dark, and quiet environment. Interestingly, a 2018 review found and shared important information on optimal noise levels, temperature, lighting, and air quality in order to get the best night’s sleep.

(4) Limit Exposure to Screens Before Bed

The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Try to avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime. When research is conducted on sleep quality, most research overwhelming shows screen time (electronic devices) before bedtime leads the way in causing diminished sleep quality.

(5) Watch Your Diet

Avoid large meals, caffeine, and nicotine close to bedtime. These can disrupt sleep patterns. It should be pointed out that there are certain foods eaten before bedtime that can improve sleep quality, as this 2016 review has shown.

(6) Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Because sleep can be disrupted if exercise is undertaken close to bedtime, try to finish your workout a few hours earlier. This latter suggestion has been contradicted at times. For instance, a 2013 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll found that moderate to vigorous evening exercise was not associated with worse sleep. However, those who reported morning vigorous exercise had the most favorable sleep outcomes.

(7) Manage Stress

Because research shows stress (and worrying) to be predictors of sleep quality, if you are experiencing this, it’s important to practice stress-reducing techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to help calm your mind before bedtime.

(8) Limit Naps

If you need to nap, keep it short (20-30 minutes) and avoid napping too close to bedtime. If done right and at the right time, there’s plenty of support showing naps can improve cognitive function, sleep quality, and quality of life.

(9) Evaluate Your Mattress and Pillows

Ensure that your mattress and pillows provide adequate support and comfort. Replace them if they are old or uncomfortable. Over time, a worn-out mattress can cause bodily pain (especially back pain) and thus adversely affecting sleep quality. Evidence suggests that the appropriate firmness of your mattress should match your sleeping style/position in order to stave off potential pain.

(10) Address Sleep Disorders

If you consistently struggle with sleep, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea.

Remember that individual sleep needs can vary, so it may take some experimentation to find the strategies that work best for you. If sleep problems persist, consider seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist.

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