Because of your willingness to read about the tips to improve sleep, you may be already familiar with the consequences of poor quality sleep.
You may know how it affects your health and your next day's mood, but as we tend to get used to doing things in the same way, many of us may develop poor sleep habits for a long time. Chronic sleep deprivation can threaten your health by causing other problems.
Believe it or not, many of the illnesses which have introduced to today's busy man have their root in insufficient sleep, such as obesity, heart disease, hair fall, and fatty liver.
To break the bad cycle you must retrain your body to sleep well. Those with sleep deficiency tend to eat more and use less energy because they feel tired. If you do not often have enough sleep and also struggle with overweight, it becomes more essential for you to work on your sleep quality because it has a significant role in gaining weight or losing it.
In the following, the best sleeping methods based on the many conducted studies over 10 years, are suggested. It will tell you how to improve sleep quality and also in consequence of that your life quality.
Whether you have difficulty to fall asleep, wake up too early, or wake several times at night, implement as many as possible of these lifestyle modifications to experience your best sleep ever! To sleep better and faster, you may also want to begin using natural sleep aids I will suggest at the end of the article.
What causes poor quality sleep?
Sleep may be disrupted for many reasons. From psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder to medical disorders such as hyperthyroidism and sleep apnea.
To cure the sleep disruption, you must identify the root causes behind it since the treatment of them will resolve the sleep problem. Some common sleep disruption causes are listed below:
The difficulty to fall asleep may be the result of excessive cortisol, depression, anxiety and the other reasons which the majority of them have a hormonal reason. Fortunately, most of them can be cured by a healthy diet.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which results in getting awaken several times during sleep. Although patients often don't notice it, their poor-quality sleep leads to fatigue during the day. To deal with this disorder researchers have proposed ways to discover and treat sleep apnea.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
RLS is an unpleasant urge to move your legs in sleep or while rest which causes bad sleep quality and frequent waking up. RLS syndrome can be treated by changing lifestyle and curing the main cause of the syndrome.
Scientific ways to improve sleep quality
Create a hormone-friendly environment
Melatonin is a hormone which is similar to an internal clock for your body. Melatonin regulates your body with the sun. It is also known as the jet-lag hormone.
The pineal gland increases melatonin production as getting close to nighttime to make you prepared to sleep and at the beginning of the day, melatonin level goes down to make you feel energetic and prepared to start the day.
In conclusion, you need to increase melatonin amount of your blood to fall asleep deeply. There are some strategies to help you do so, which will be discussed below.
Make your bedroom as dark as possible
Try to keep the lights dim as you get closer to the bedtime. When the light hits your skin at the night, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland which has the duty of producing melatonin.
Active your phone's and laptop's night-shift or night-mode
If you have to stay awake some hours in the night, try to prepare your body for sleeping by dimming the lights - also on your laptop and phone.
Night mode prevents disrupting your sleep by shifting to warmer colors. Based on studies blue light affects the circadian rhythm of your body by disrupting melatonin production. Being exposed to the blue light causes less amount of melatonin release since the body is sensitive to this ray of light.
Take a hot bath, shower before bed
Taking a hot bath 30 minutes before going to bed can improve sleep quality. After exposing to the hot water your body tries to cool down, drop in body temperature makes us feel tired and sleepy.
Avoid napping at the daytime
Drowsiness during the daytime indicates poor quality sleep. If you sleep enough at night you wouldn't feel sleepy during the day. The very first step is to try to not sleep during the day. Stay awake until nighttime but if you have to take a nap, keep it less than 20 minutes.
Caffeine usually gets 15 to 30 minutes to take effect and lasts for about 4 hours. Don't drink coffee in the afternoon. Try to avoid drinking coffee, but if you have to, drink in the morning. Caffeine affects the natural cycle of cortisol secretion which is highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Cortisol prevents to have a perfect sleep. Cortisol release slightly increases to 6 am. Disrupting of its natural cycle can awake you at peak times.
Exercise, 3 hours before bed
Exercising less than 2-3 hours before the bedtime can also cause sleep improvement because after exercising body temperature goes down and the fall of the body temperature makes you feel tired.
You can take a bath with moderately hot water after exercising to relax your muscles and increase drowsiness.
Reassociate bed and bedroom with sleep and sleepiness
When you struggle to sleep every night, your bed and bedroom become conditioned cues for frustrated wakefulness. After a while, your bed increases your concern about sleeping so as you may find yourself snoozing on the couch in the bedtime, but staying awake when you go to your bed.
To solve this problem there is an approach named stimulus control or bed reassociation training (Bootzin et al.1991). It instructs as follow:
- Go to bed only when you are sleepy.
- Get out of bed if you wake up at night and unable to sleep.
- Use the bedroom just for sleeping not for watching TV and etc.
- Wake up every morning at the same time.
- No napping at daytime.
It is said enough about how to get a good night's sleep in natural ways, there are also some natural sleep aids. Natural supplements can be a good help to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. If you have practiced hormone balance tips for 2 weeks and still don't see improvement in your sleep, natural sleep aids can accelerate your treatment.
If you have a special illness and you take medicines, Consult your doctor before taking the supplements.
Supplements that can affect your sleep quality are magnesium, vitamin E, Calcium.
Magnesium and calcium
Magnesium has a stress relieving effect and decreases anxiety. It also helps the absorbance of calcium. Calcium itself is one of the best supplements to improve sleep quality. But take caution about calcium usage and consult a knowledgeable physician before using calcium supplements. For optimal absorption and to avoid calcium deposits (calcification) in plaque you can take two tablets of calcium-magnesium combination which is one of the best remedies for good sleep. The best sources of magnesium are:
- Sunflower seeds
- Almonds, a rich source of both magnesium and calcium
- Sesame seeds
- Shredded wheat cereal
- Black beans
- Peanut butter
- Raw shrimp
- Black-eyed peas
- Brown rice
- Kidney beans
- Cow's milk
The rich-calcium sources are:
- Seeds including poppy
- Celery and chia seeds
- Sardines and Canned Salmon
- Beans and Lentils
- Whey Protein
- Dark, leafy greens
- Milk and Yogurt
Melatonin: A favorite choice for shift workers
If you have high blood pressure, if you are over 50, if you are shift worker melatonin supplements can be useful for you.
As we grow old Melatonin decreases by age. Melatonin supplement comes to help you if you are over 50. As already explained, melatonin supplement can help you sleep by increasing melatonin amount of your blood. It also is a miracle for people with sleep disorder and shift workers.
Studies show that up to 5 mg is safe to take. According to researches melatonin has been used safely for up to two years in some people.
Vitamin B6 is useful to cure insomnia caused by abnormally high cortisol through the night. The syndromes such as frequent waking up are due to a high level of cortisol during the night. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin so it's better to take it 30 minutes before the meal to increase absorption. Vitamin B6 is also helpful for liver detoxification.
Some of the best sources of vitamin B6 you can use for your sleep disruption are:
- Bell peppers
- Bok Choy
Poor quality sleep can be defined as frequent waking ups at night or lack of dreaming during the night, tiredness in the morning. Implement the mentioned tips on how to improve sleep quality to avoid chronic sleep disorder - which itself is the culprit for many other disorders and diseases.
Suggested Reading: Why Can't I Lose Weight? Boost Your Fat-burning Hormones