Amid a sea of offerings on Facebook and Google that tout the latest and greatest sleep gadgets, it may be hard to decide on which method to implement in order to improve sleep effectively. Is there a way to improve sleep without using costly modern technology? Everything from wearable sleep monitors, sound machines, eye masks, temperature controlling pads to weighted blankets can have their benefits. But are they really worth the time and money investment?
You can improve your sleep naturally starting today by simply making a few changes to some lifestyle habits and forego dependency on a gadget that might just create another distraction.
So here’s the list. I go into more detail on every point further down.
How To Improve Sleep In 6 Easy Steps
Most of these are completely free. Make no more excuses, implement these tips today so you can sleep more soundly and wake up rejuvenated and full of energy in the morning.
- Don’t eat anything at least two hours before going to bed.
- Avoid screen time at least two hours before going to bed.
- Eat a healthy, mostly plant-based diet.
- Make sure you have a comfortable and supportive bed that is not sagging or worn out.
- Get at least 10 minutes of high energy exercise per day.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule and daily sun exposure.
How to Get Better Sleep By Making A Paradigm Shift: Replacing Instead Of Depriving
People are often reluctant to change habits because doing so involves making sacrifices. This is true. But making sacrifices isn’t necessarily the only approach.
An alternative approach is to replace the feeling of satisfaction after giving in to unhealthy cravings with something equally satisfying but a lot healthier.
Quick example: Instead of drinking a soda with ice while watching TV in the evening, try replacing it with some herbal tea and a good book, or even an audiobook. There are a wide variety of herbal teas available, even berry flavoured.
Let’s get into some more details about the tips in the “How To Improve Sleep” list.
1. Don’t eat anything at least two hours before going to bed
Alternative: have a glass of water or herbal tea.
When you get a food craving, have a glass of water instead of a snack. You will feel satisfied and you won’t be stimulated by the water in any way. At the same time, you will be hydrating yourself. Proper hydration is needed to optimize digestion, especially if your meal was on the salty side.
Eating right before bed may give you an energy boost that won’t be conducive to falling asleep quickly. You may get insomnia as a result of eating right before going to bed.
2. Avoid screen time at least two hours before going to bed
Alternative: listen to a podcast.
Avoiding blue light that comes from your TV, cellphone, tablet and daylight lightbulbs can prevent you from falling asleep.
Podcasts are a great alternative to watching videos or scrolling through social media posts. Choose a relaxing subject matter to quickly get into a relaxed state.
3. Avoid Processed Foods
Alternative: Eat a healthy, mostly plant-based diet
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins that help promote deep and restful sleep.
Summer is a good time to eat salad-meals. Avoid dousing the salad with so much salad dressing that you can’t taste the vegetables anymore. The first ingredient in most salad dressing is oil, so dress up your veggies in moderation.
While in the grocery store, spend most of your time in the fruits and vegetables section. Avoid buying precooked and processed foods. These are full of sodium and preservatives that may negatively impact your health.
4. Make sure you have a comfortable and supportive bed that is not sagging
Alternative: switch to a more durable, responsive and pressure-relieving natural latex mattress.
If you’re constantly tossing and turning, it may be because your mattress is causing excessive pressure points. This can cause you to change sleeping positions more frequently.
Also, you might have noticed that your mattress is starting to sag and you feel like you’re sleeping in a ditch.
Natural latex foam is more durable and pressure relieving than polyurethane foam. Those that try a natural latex bed for the first time often report a feeling of buoyancy, like sleeping on a cloud. Natural latex is particularly good in offering pressure relief, which helps relieve pain in the shoulders and hips.
I have an easy test that you can do to determine whether or not your mattress is sagging using household items. If you discover that the indentation exceeds 1.5 inches, you might want to consider replacing your mattress.
5. Quit That Sedentary Lifestyle
Alternative: Get at least 10 minutes of high energy exercise per day
Why 10 minutes, because no one can deny having at least 10 minutes per day to spare to do something fun, energetic and healthy.
To avoid putting off high energy exercise, here are some ideas for combining high cardio movement with fun.
- Walk, run or bike to go to the store, mailbox or to visit a friend.
- Like music? Dance to it for 10 minutes.
- Play tag with your kids.
- Go for a hike in nature.
6. Do you Have An Erratic Sleep Routine?
Alternative: maintain a regular sleep schedule and get some sun.
Expose as much skin as possible to the sun on a daily basis. Just avoid burning by limiting your exposure time.
This will help tune your body to the circadian rhythm. Your body responds to light by inhibiting the production of the melatonin hormone. At night, under the right conditions, melatonin is realeased and aids the body in falling and staying asleep. The melatonin hormone that is released during sleep decreases the body temperature and respiration rate.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and putting aside at least 8 hours for sleep per day keeps melatonin production in check.