14 Tips for Quality Sleep

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Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise are extremely important for a healthy lifestyle, but the role of a good night’s sleep is sometimes overlooked.

The more apparent benefits of getting good amounts of quality sleep are things like feeling well-rested and performing better at work. However, there are many more, less obvious benefits to getting quality sleep. Research shows that getting better sleep can contribute to reduced appetite, better exercise performance and overall health.

On the flipside, a lack of quality sleep can have a negative effect on hormones, physical exercise and mental function. It has also been linked with a number of health problems in children and adults, including weight gain and increased risk of disease.

Tips for Quality Sleep

It’s clear that getting better sleep is paramount when trying to get in shape or improve our general wellbeing, even though we sometimes procrastinate doing it. Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to get better sleep at night.

1. Get more bright light during daytime

Our circadian rhythm is our body’s natural, built-in system that keeps time. It’s basically how our body understands when it’s time to sleep and what keeps it awake when it needs to be.

Exposure to plenty of natural sunlight or bright light during the day can help us maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, thus resulting in higher energy levels during the day, improved amounts of sleep and better quality sleep during nighttime.

Research has found that being exposed to just 2 hours of bright light during the day can have very positive results, both in the amount and the quality of sleep.

Most research focuses on individuals with severe sleep issues, but despite this, getting some sunlight or bright light during the day should help you sleep better at night. If sunlight is not practical or possible, you might want to consider getting a bright light lamp. They have a similar effect on the body as natural sunlight.

2. Less exposure to blue light before bedtime

Exposure to bright light is beneficial for our circadian rhythm if it’s done during the day, but in the evening or before bedtime it can have the opposite effect. It can throw our circadian rhythm off, as it fools our brain into thinking it’s still daytime and we’re still a long way from going to sleep.

Commonly used devices such as computer monitors, smartphones, TVs or tablets all emit blue light, the type of light which has the most adverse effects on our circadian rhythm.

One of the things most commonly recommended to counter these adverse effects and increase quality of sleep is to entirely avoid using such devices for a couple of hours before bedtime. Alternatively, you can alter your device’s light settings to be more night-time friendly. A lot of electronic devices include pre-set nighttime settings that reduce blue light emission to help us sleep better, but if your device does not have this functionality, you can download an app that does the same thing.

3. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon

Caffeine has stimulating properties for the nervous system. For many of us, caffeine provides a boost of energy and focus that helps us perform better during the day.

The same stimulation that proves beneficial in daytime, however, can be detrimental to our sleep health if we consume caffeine later in the day. It can make it harder for us to relax at night, leading to worse sleep quality.

Since high levels of caffeine can be present in the blood for up to 8 hours, it is generally recommended to avoid consuming heavily caffeinated products from 3-4 p.m. onwards, particularly if you have trouble sleeping or if you’re sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

4. Cut down on irregular naps during the day

Taking long or irregular naps during daytime can throw your circadian rhythm off and lead to sleep problems, even though shorter naps can be highly beneficial.

One study showed that daytime naps that last 30 minutes at most can be beneficial for the function of the brain, whereas longer naps can actually have a detrimental effect on our health and quality of sleep. Another study has found that the participants ended up feeling more sleepy after napping during the day.

However, if you are used to napping regularly it’s possible that you do not experience any negative effects in your nighttime sleep because of it.

5. Stick to a consistent sleeping pattern

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help “train” your internal clock and result in better sleep quality.

A lot of people tend to go to bed later in the weekends, taking advantage of the fact that they don’t have to wake up early the next morning. Unfortunately, a study has found that this type of sleeping pattern can lead to worse sleep quality in the long run.

Other studies, like this one, have found that sleeping and waking at varying times can lead to a disruption of the circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin in your body, keeping you alert when you’re actually trying to sleep and sleepy when you want to be alert.

Try setting a time for bed and stick to it for a few weeks. Eventually, your body could fall into this pattern naturally, improving the amount and quality of sleep you get.

6. Use melatonin supplements

Melatonin is the hormone which signals our brain to relax and get ready to go to sleep. Available in the form of supplements, one study has shown that melatonin supplements helped participants fall asleep faster and made them more alert in the morning, with no withdrawal symptoms.

Melatonin supplements can also help with jet lag. They can help bring balance to our circadian rhythm and adjust our bodies to new time zones.

Depending on where you live, you may need a prescription for melatonin. Make sure to consult with your doctor before you take any supplements.

7. Avoid alcohol before bedtime

Alcohol at night can massively impact your sleep quality. It is known to exacerbate problems such as snoring and sleep apnea, as well as disrupt the pattern of sleep.

Not only that, studies show that alcohol also affects the levels of melatonin and human growth hormone (HGH) at night, thus altering the body’s circadian rhythm.

In order to get better quality sleep, avoid the consumption of alcohol a few hours before bedtime.

8. Create a beneficial bedroom environment

It’s no surprise that a good bedroom environment can put us to sleep more easily and help us get quality sleep. The factors that play a part in sleep quality are light, levels of noise, temperature, and even furniture arrangement.

Studies show that a noisy sleep environment can lead to a number of health issues, due to low-quality sleep. One study, examining the bedroom surroundings of females, has found that around half of the participants experienced better sleep quality with lower levels of light and noise.

In addition to noise, temperature has also been found to be one of the most determining factors regarding sleep quality. A high temperature in the sleeping environment can have a detrimental effect on sleep quality, making us feel more awake. For most people, 70°F (20°C) seems to be quite comfortable for sleeping, although that number can vary based on personal preferences.

9. Avoid food late in the evening

Generally speaking, late night eating disrupts sleep, as it affects the release of melatonin and HGH, preventing us from getting quality sleep.

However, studies show that the kind of foods you’re having may also play a part in your sleeping. One study has found that meals high in carbohydrates, taken 4 hours before bedtime, helped participants fall asleep more quickly. On the other hand, a different study showed that a diet low in carbohydrates can help us get better sleep, especially if we’re generally eating a low-carb diet.

10. Create a nighttime relaxation routine

For many people, a nighttime relaxation routine is a must to ensure they get quality sleep. Studies support this, finding that relaxation techniques are effective in the treatment of insomnia and improve sleep quality.

Common bedtime relaxation techniques include stretching, breathing exercises or meditation. A lot of people also relax by reading a book, listening to calming music or taking a hot bath. Even bathing feet in warm water can help relax the body and bring on sleep.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so don’t be afraid to try out different techniques and strategies in order to figure out what works best for you.

11. Make sure you’re comfortable

Your mattress and pillow bedding can play a vital role in your comfort levels during sleep time. One study has found that a lower-quality bed can increase pain in the lower back.

It’s important that you sleep on a bedding system that suits your needs for quality sleep. Different people need different types of beds. For example, some people will benefit from a soft mattress, whereas others will be more comfortable with a firmer mattress.

If you have had the same mattress for a long time, it’s probably time to consider investing in a new one, as it is recommended that we upgrade our mattress every 6-8 years.

12. Avoid drinking fluids before bedtime

A lot of people experience excessive urination during the nighttime, known as nocturia. It can have a negative effect on sleep quality and lower energy levels during the day.

Drinking fluids before bedtime can interrupt sleep, so it’s best to avoid consuming liquids for a couple of hours before bed. Hydration is important for our health however, so make sure that you drink enough water during the day.

In addition to reducing liquid consumption before bedtime, it would be good to add using the bathroom to your bedtime routine. This will make it less likely that you will have to get up for a midnight trip to the bathroom.

13. Move your body regularly

One of the ways that have proven to be most effective in the improvement of overall health and the increase in quality of sleep is exercise. It has proven effective in treating insomnia by a few studies.

Specifically, one study examining the effects of exercise on sleep quality in older adults has demonstrated that exercise cut the time needed to go to sleep down by half and increased nighttime sleep time by 41 minutes.

Another study focusing on severe insomnia sufferers found that exercise was more effective than most medications. The time to fall asleep went down by 55%, night wakefulness was reduced by 30% and anxiety fell by 15%, whereas total sleep time went up by 18%.

14. Consult with a specialist

If you have been experiencing sleep problems for a while, there may be an underlying medical condition causing them.

One of the most common sleep problems is sleep apnea, a disorder which is characterized by irregular and interrupted breathing. Sufferers will repeatedly stop breathing while sleeping, causing a number of health problems and resulting in low quality sleep, waking up not feeling refreshed.

In order to rule out a medical condition, consult with your doctor.


Sleep is a major factor in both physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. A chronic lack of sleep has been linked to numerous health issues such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

If you feel like sleep is something you have trouble with, make it a priority and try applying some of the sleep tips above.

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