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10 Mindful Ways to Have Better Sleep

Ah, sleep – the one thing we can never get enough of (at least I don’t). Our generation struggles with sleep quality more than ever before, and for good reason! From smart devices to busy schedules and anxiety, these are just a few reasons we can’t close our eyes at night.

While it is normal to have the occasional sleepless night, consistently experiencing poor sleep can have negative effects on your health. If you are having difficulty sleeping or are consistently waking up feeling tired, it’s time to make a change… but where do you begin?

Here are a few tips to get started:

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Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Experts advise to go to sleep and wake up at the same daily, including weekends! This helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

A consistent sleep schedule is important because it helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as your circadian rhythm. This internal clock helps regulate various physiological processes, including sleep, appetite, and hormone production.

When you follow a consistent sleep schedule, your body learns when it is time to sleep and can prepare itself for sleep by releasing sleep-promoting hormones and lowering your body temperature. As a result, you may find it easier to to stay asleep every night.

Inconsistent sleep schedules, on the other hand, can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can lead to sleep deprivation, a serious condition affecting your physical and mental health.

For example, sleep deprivation can affect your mood, memory, and cognitive function, and it has been linked to an increased risk of various health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. By following a consistent sleep schedule, you can help ensure that you get the recommended amount of sleep and maintain good health.

 

Make Your Bedroom an Inviting Sleep Environment

Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Use comfortable bedding and a supportive mattress.

Mattresses are important for the quality of sleep because they provide the surface on which you sleep, and the comfort and support of the mattress can affect how well you sleep. A good mattress should be comfortable and supportive, and it should help keep your body in a neutral position while you sleep.

If your mattress is too hard or too soft, it can cause discomfort and disrupt your sleep. A mattress too hard means too much pressure on your joints and muscles. Meanwhile, a mattress that is too soft may not give your muscles enough support. In either case, you may find it difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep, or you may wake up feeling sore or tired.

A good mattress should also be able to distribute your weight evenly, which can help reduce the risk of developing pressure points and alleviate back pain. It should also be able to contour to your body, providing the necessary support for your head, neck, and spine.

In summary, a good mattress is important for the quality of sleep because it can help you sleep comfortably and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

 

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed

Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with your sleep quality. Avoid consuming these substances, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep by making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Caffeine can also interfere with the quality of your sleep by reducing the amount of deep sleep you get. It is recommended to avoid consuming caffeine for at least four to six hours before bedtime.

Alcohol is a sedative that can make you feel drowsy and fall asleep more quickly. However, alcohol can also disrupt your sleep by reducing the amount of deep sleep you get and increasing the number of times you wake up during the night. As a result, you may wake up feeling unrefreshed and groggy the next morning. It is recommended to avoid consuming alcohol for at least two hours before bedtime.

In summary, consuming caffeine and alcohol before bedtime can affect your sleep quality. To help ensure a good night’s sleep, it is generally recommended to avoid consuming these substances close to bedtime.

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Exercise Regularly

Love it or hate it, exercise can do wonders for your sleep quality! Things like intensity, duration, and timing of the exercise can benefit your rest time every night. In fact, experts recommend a minimum of two hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Make sure that you find an exercise routine that you enjoy so you can keep going even when you lack motivation.

In a matter of weeks, you’ll be able to fall asleep, sleep deeper, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

WARNING: Always finish your workout a few hours before bed, as vigorous exercise close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.

 

Practice Mindfulness

Focus on the present moment and let go of racing thoughts or worries about the past or future. This can help calm the mind and improve sleep.  Mindfulness can help reduce stress and anxiety by helping you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and by providing a sense of calm and relaxation.

I know this is all easier said than done. If you’re a beginner in mindfulness practice (or barely know what it is), I highly recommend our post on 10 mindfulness exercises that reduce anxiety!

 

Try Relaxation Techniques

How often do you actually make an effort to relax? If you’re an usual American citizen, the answer is probably once a week or even less. Deep breathing, gradual muscle relaxation, or guided meditation can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep.

There are several relaxation techniques that you can try before bedtime to help calm your mind and body and improve the quality of your sleep. Some options include:

  • Deep breathing: This involves taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. This can help calm the mind and relax the body.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, starting at your toes and working your way up to the top of your head. This can help release tension in the body and relax the mind.
  • Guided imagery: This involves using your imagination to visualize a calming scene or place, such as a beach or a forest. This can help distract the mind and relax the body.
  • Yoga or tai chi: These practices involve mindful movement and breathing techniques that can help relax the body and mind.

 

Avoid Screens Before Bed

I know, I know, nothing compares to chilling on the sofa to watch your favorite show at the end of a long day. However, the artificial light of any screen affects your natural production of melatonin – the sleep hormone. That’s precisely why experts recommend everyone to avoid screen time one hour before sleep. It’s not that bad, right?

For example, scrolling through your phone before bedtime can be disruptive to your sleep for several reasons:

  • ¬†stimulating content on your phone, such as social media feeds or news updates, can keep your mind active and make it harder to relax and fall asleep
  • the constant notifications and alerts on your phone can be disruptive and can make it difficult to disconnect and relax before bedtime
  • using your phone before bedtime can create a habit of relying on screens as a form of relaxation, which can make it harder to wind down and fall asleep without the use of screens

What else can you do? For example, try to engage in activities that are calming and relaxing, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music. By creating a bedtime routine that does not involve screens, you can help your body and mind relax and prepare for sleep.

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Eat a Healthy Diet

A diet rich in fruits, veggies, can support healthy sleep. Avoid heavy, rich meals close to bedtime, as they may cause indigestion and disrupt sleep.

A healthy diet can help ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to function properly, including those that are important for sleep. For example, getting enough vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and vitamin D can help support healthy sleep.

A healthy diet also helps with weight issues that also affect your sleep quality. In fact, being overweight or obese was linked to an increased risk of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and insomnia.

A diet that is high in processed and sugary foods can contribute to inflammation in the body, which has been linked to an increased risk of sleep disorders. On the other hand, a balanced diet can help reduce inflammation and support healthy sleep.

In summary, a healthy diet is important for the quality of your sleep because it can help support your overall health and well-being, including your sleep. By making sure you are getting the nutrients you need and following a balanced diet, you can help improve your sleep quality.

 

Get Some Natural Light During the Day

Spending time in natural light daily can help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to get some sunlight during the day, especially in the morning.

Your circadian rhythm is driven by the release of certain hormones, including melatonin, which is responsible for making you feel sleepy.

During the day, exposure to natural light helps suppress the production of melatonin, keeping you awake and alert. At night, the absence of natural light allows melatonin production to increase, helping you feel sleepy. By getting enough exposure to natural light during the day, you can regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Theodor
Theodor
Passionate about cognitive psychology and data research, Tudor aims to highlight the importance of prioritizing self-care regardless of age, gender, or nationality. For over two years, he has been prioritizing extensive research in mindfulness and meditation techniques delivered to everyday people in a simple, meaningful manner.

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