April 17, 2024

You may struggle to get enough sleep every night, despite how vital sleep is for your physical and mental health. Poor sleep hurts all aspects of your life. Sleep hygiene, or the sleep habits that you practice each day, can improve your sleep.

Our guide to better sleep includes clear steps on how to improve your sleeping habits. Our approach to better sleep includes specific steps that you can follow to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and feel rested when you wake up.

Sleep Tips: 9 Steps to Better Sleep

You can improve your sleep by doing several things throughout the day.

1. Mental Tricks

Some people feel that mental tricks can cause them to fall asleep.

Try counting gently backward from 100.

You can also reflect on three key points from the day.

  • What are your three favorite things?
  • You can perform three actions well
  • What you’ve learned in the past 24 hours

This activity will help you to reflect on the positives of your day.

2. What you eat and what you drink is important

Do not go to sleep hungry or full. Avoid heavy meals or large portions within two hours of going to bed. Discomfort might keep you up.

Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are also substances that should be treated with caution. Nicotine and caffeine have a stimulating effect that takes hours to wear off, and this can disrupt sleep. Even though alcohol can make you sleepy initially, it will disrupt your sleep later on.

3. Minimize Noise

It is important to keep noise levels low to create a sleeping-friendly environment. Consider using a white noise machine or fan to drown out nearby noises if you can’t eliminate them. You can also use earplugs or headphones to block out noises when you are trying to sleep.

4. Limit daytime naps

Sleeping too much during the day can affect your sleep at night. Avoid napping at night and limit naps to one hour.

If you work at night, you may need to nap in the afternoon before you go to work to make up for your sleep deficit.

5. Sleep disorders: Seeking help

You should be aware of the more unusual sleep behaviors that people engage in since they can harm sleep quality.

It may be helpful to consult an expert if you experience any of the following phenomena (or others not listed) that are affecting your sleep (Lange 2016):

  • Sleep paralysis During REM, our bodies become temporarily paralyzed to prevent excessive movement.

Some people find this paralysis continues for a few minutes after they awake and is sometimes accompanied by pressure on the chest.

  • Hypnagogic jerks
    Science does not understand why people twitch or feel like they are falling when drifting to sleep. This can cause a sudden waking. It is unlikely that this will need any further attention if it only occurs occasionally.
  • REM sleep disorder
    It can be disturbing and even harmful to you both if you talk, shout, or hit your partner while they are sleeping. This can occur during bad dreams when the body is not fully paralyzed.
  • The ‘exploding head syndrome is not as bad as you think
    One in ten of us will experience this condition after the age of fifty. We hear a loud bang, similar to a gunshot, as we fall asleep. This could be due to physical changes in the middle ear that are associated with age.

6. Get Seven Hours of Sleep Minimum

You need to plan your day so that you get the recommended amount of rest each night. Consider your fixed wake-up and work backward to identify a bedtime target that allows at least seven uninterrupted hours.

7. Manage worries

Before you go to bed, try to solve any worries or concerns. Write down your thoughts and concerns, then put them aside for tomorrow.

Stress management may help. Get organized, set priorities, and delegate tasks. Meditation can also help to reduce anxiety.

8. Overcoming insomnia

Insomnia, as a medical term, is a persistent problem with sleep lasting more than one month and involving at least one of the following symptoms (Centre for Clinical Interventions 2020):

  • Insomnia (insomnia onset)
  • Waking up in the middle of the night
  • Poor sleep quality

Negative thoughts about sleep can exacerbate insomnia, even if it is caused by stress, pain, or other factors.

  • Assume the worst
    Sleeping problems can be a sign of a lack of confidence
  • Sleep is the culprit for everything
    You can blame your lack of sleep for everything that goes wrong in the day
  • Unrealistic expectations
    Everyone has the same sleeping pattern
  • Unhelpful Thinking Styles
    Sleep can be portrayed as either a ‘great experience’ or an ‘awful one’ by categorizing, overgeneralizing, and thinking in black and white.

A thought diary is a useful tool to challenge negative thinking.

9. Set your alarm for the same time each day

Your body will never become accustomed to a regular sleep schedule if you keep waking up at different times. Choose a time to wake up and stick to it. This is true even on weekends or days you might otherwise want a longer sleep.

When to call your healthcare provider

Almost everyone experiences a sleepless night from time to time. If you have difficulty sleeping often, it is best to contact your doctor. You can get better sleep by identifying and treating the underlying causes.

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