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5 Ways to Improve Sleep

October 16, 2020

Written by Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

Getting a good night’s sleep is an integral part of your overall health and wellbeing, especially as a student. You need that sleep to be able to focus in class and do your homework well. If you’re having trouble sleeping or want to get better, deeper sleep, check out these five tips for improving your sleep quality.

Dim Your Lights

Having lights on around you at night will delay your melatonin production, telling your body that it’s not time to sleep and making it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. Instead of turning all your lights on at full brightness, dim them if they have a dimmer switch or unscrew a couple of lightbulbs if it’s a multi-bulb light. Also consider completely turning off overhead lights and switching on a lamp that’s not as bright.

You can also light a few candles or hang string lights to set the mood in the evening so by bedtime you’re ready to fall asleep.

One more thing to note is that darkness is crucial for a good night’s sleep, so try to shut out as much light as possible. Blackout curtains might be a good investment if it’s bright outside your bedroom windows and be sure to close your bedroom door if there’s light out in your living area.

Stay Off Screens

You can dim your lights all you want but if you’re still looking at your bright, blue-light producing screens up until bedtime, you won’t be ready to fall asleep because your brain will still be wide awake. Try staying off your phone, tablet, and computer at least 90 minutes before bed.

If you must look at your screen devices, try turning on a yellow-orange filter like night shift mode for Apple products, and wear blue-light blocking glasses to prevent exposing your eyes to the harmful light.

Instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram before bed, try doing non-screen activities like…

  • Journaling
  • Doing a jigsaw puzzle
  • Stretching
  • Drawing or painting
  • Coloring in a coloring book
  • Doing a crossword puzzle
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Reading a traditional paper book, like your Bible!

Have a Consistent Bedtime

Studies suggest that in order to get the best sleep, you need to go to sleep at the same time every night. This will get your body into a rhythm so you can fall asleep better and wake up more refreshed. Similarly, it’s also important to wake up at the same time every morning so your body gets used to waking up at that time.

Avoid Certain Foods

The foods you eat before bed actually have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep, so here are some foods to avoid and why:

  • Protein: protein takes a lot of energy to digest, and one of the amino acids in protein promotes brain activity which will keep you up into the night
  • Dairy: avoid eating that late-night ice cream snack because the high fat content triggers a higher acid production in your stomach, leading to acid reflux or heartburn
  • Celery: yes, celery is a healthy vegetable, but avoid this food before bed unless you want to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night
  • Spicy food: these will get your blood pumping and raise your body temperature, neither of which are conducive to a good night’s sleep

Eat Certain Foods

If you are still hungry after dinner but before bedtime, try eating these types of foods instead:

  • Protein + carbs: protein by itself might not be the best nighttime snack, but protein coupled with carbs, like almond butter with apple slices, will help stabilize your blood sugar levels for better sleep through the night
  • Bananas: these yellow fruits contain lots of magnesium which is known to be relaxing for muscles and nerves
  • Honey: just one teaspoon of honey before bed can stimulate melatonin production and shut off orexin, the hormone that makes you alert
  • Oats: grab a bowl of oatmeal or granola for a bedtime snack rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which encourages insulin and melatonin production

Give a few of these tips a try and you will notice your sleep quality improve!