8 Tips for Better Sleep

When it comes to achieving and maintaining good health, eating healthy and getting regular physical exercise are the two things that often come to mind. However, there is one equally important yet commonly overlooked factor that plays a role in your overall health: your quality of sleep. 

According to the clinical director of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Stuart Quan, sleep deficiency is associated with an increased risk of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. 

How can I improve my quality of sleep?

Dr. Quan specializes in treating sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and narcolepsy. He has shared some of his tips for achieving better sleep:

1. Make sleep a priority

The first step towards improving your quality of sleep is making a commitment to sleep better. Telling family and friends that you are making sleep a priority will help in keeping you accountable and will make you more likely to uphold your commitment.

2. Establish a sleep routine

Sticking to a regular sleep routine allows you to get better quality sleep and also more of it. Stuart recommends going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day – yes, even on weekends. 

Dr. Quan suggests that while the amount of sleep you should get will vary from one individual to another, you should ensure that you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

3. Create a sleep-friendly environment

Exposure to light reduces your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Thus, it is important that you keep your room completely dark when going to sleep. To minimize your exposure to light while sleeping, consider investing in blackout curtains, using an eye mask, or positioning your bed away from windows. 

Dr. Quan adds that you also need to keep your sleeping environment as quiet as possible. In case you have noisy neighbors or live in a busy area, a white noise machine can help to drown the unwanted outdoor noise and replace it with ambient sounds. 

Also, make sure to switch off your phone before going to bed or turn on the “do not disturb setting”. It is generally recommended that you avoid using any electronic devices in bed. Living Spaces quality furniture will create a beautiful relaxing space that is conducive to sleep.

4. Keep your bedroom cool

The recommended temperature for sleep ranges between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Make time for regular physical exercise

According to research, exercising regularly three-to-four times a week is beneficial for sleep. Consider exercising during the morning or afternoon hours for maximum effect. But if you have to exercise in the evening, avoid doing it within 2 hours of bedtime since the adrenaline boost is likely to interfere with your sleep. 

6. Avoid heavy meals before going to bed

Refrain from eating a heavy meal before going to bed as it can cause discomfort and prevent you from enjoying quality sleep. This includes carbohydrate-rich foods – which are known to cause heartburn and bloating. 

7. Morning light exposure

Dr. Quan says that exposure to morning sunlight helps to keep you alert during the day and also helps to keep your circadian rhythm in check. 

During the winter months, you can choose to sit in front of a light therapy box or lay in a red light therapy bed for at least half an hour. Take morning walks during summer. Avoid wearing sunglasses to ensure that your eyes are exposed to the light.  

8. Curb your caffeine and nicotine intake

Nicotine is known to increase heart rate and brain activity, which in turn interfere with your sleep. If you are struggling to quit smoking, consider joining a smoking cessation program.

Leave a Comment