5 min read

How To Sleep Better

We all wish we could enjoy a good night's sleep. Fall asleep fast and sleep through the night uninterrupted. The thing is, you can do it and best of all it doesn't require much. 

How to Sleep Better

woman-sleeping-well-after-taking-sleeping-advice-740

For some, getting a good night's sleep is a luxury, while others enjoy it like it is nothing. But what is separating the two groups? How can some fall asleep quickly and enjoy a night of excellent sleep quality while others twist and turn, and once fallen asleep, they have trouble sleeping throughout the night. Take yourself out of the "can't sleep" group and into the quality sleep group. 

Healthy sleep is not something we should take for granted, since it is essential for both our mental and physical health while sleep deprivation has the opposite effect. Now you might be questioning yourself or looking for ways to enjoy better sleep or be able to fall asleep faster. The good thing is, there are plenty of ways you could go about being part of the group that gets good sleep at night.

 

Identify What Causes Your Sleeping Issues

The first step to a good night's sleep is identifying what causes your sleep problems and then how you can resolve these. You will not enjoy better sleep if you have not found the root cause and worked on eliminating it. Your poor sleep could be due to several factors: medical, mental, or physiological. If you cannot identify your own cause, then it might be time to speak to an instructor, sleep expert, or medical professional that can provide medical advice.

 

Common Issues Behind Poor Sleep

The factors behind your poor sleep could be one of many. You might want to ask yourself these questions, and if you recognize any of them, then you might have found the source of your sleep problems. Keep in mind, there could be more than one cause behind your problems, so make sure you identify as many as you can and start from there. These causes could be:

  • Poor sleep environment
  • Suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Any of the different sleep disorders (sleep apnea, poor Circadian rhythm, Restless legs syndrome)
  • Mental health issues (anxiety and/or stress)
  • Inconsistent sleep schedule (not going to bed or waking up at the same time daily)
  • Not sticking to healthy habits
  • Being the weekend warrior (sleeping poorly during the week and trying to catch up on that sleep debt during the weekend)
  • Excess alcohol or caffeine consumption to close to bedtime
  • Having a heavy meal shortly before going to sleep

We could list more causes behind your poor sleep. These are a few but most common causes that could stand between you and good quality sleep.

 

What Helps You Sleep Better at Night?

There are many ways you can improve your sleep hygiene, get more sleep, and enough quality sleep at night, all on your own or with very little outside assistance. Best of all, it would not require much to get you there. Guided meditation for sleep is an excellent start; relaxation techniques that provide progressive muscle relaxation are another, along with deep breathing exercises such as 4-7-8 breathing, pranayama breathing, or box breathing, relaxing music, or regular exercise.

 

Five Tips for Improved Sleep Quality

We have listed five tips below to help you get better sleep at night. These tips are all so easy that anyone can do them.

 

Guided Meditation for Sleep

woman practicing sleep meditation to improve her sleep

Using guided meditation for sleep is one of the easiest ways to improve your sleep quality. By using this method, you will fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep during the night.

Guided meditation for sleep is done by listening to an instructor, either live or a recorded video/audio session. The meditation teacher will give you a set of instructions to follow that will relax the nervous system, promote muscle relaxation and help clear the mind. By following these instructions, you will sleep better and, above all, stay asleep for the entire night.

 

Yoga Nidra

When it comes to yoga and sleep, nothing beats Yoga Nidra.  This yoga exercise focuses on mind-body practice and a deep meditative state achieved with the help of an instructor performing guided meditation.

Consider using this excellent tool if you are looking for improved sleep quality or need help to fall asleep faster at night. Yoga Nidra meditation will not only help you get enough sleep at night, but it is also an excellent tool if you are struggling with stress or feeling overwhelmed. The practice helps you affect your thinking patterns, making you more acceptable to the rollercoaster of a life we sometimes experience.

With achieving a relaxation response through guided meditation, you will have no trouble falling asleep when the time comes for it.

 

Regular Exercise

Another essential element in getting better sleep is to exercise regularly. It does not matter what type of exercise you do as long as it brings your heart rate up and the blood pumping. Doing regular cardiovascular activities such as yoga or Pilates will not only make you feel better both physically and mentally, it will also reduce unwanted stress and anxiety in your life.

 

Breathing Exercises

There are several different breathing exercises you could try to help you get a better night's sleep. As mentioned, there is the 4-7-8 breathing method. Start by inhaling to a count of 4, holding to a count of 7 and exhaling to 8. Repeat this again and again over some time. You could start doing this for 10 minutes, then increase it as you go or if needed.

A similar breathing technique to 4-7-8 is called box breathing. But instead of doing the breathing exercise in a sequence of different lengths, box breathing is done with the same amount of time for each portion. Inhale, hold, exhale and hold, each to a count of 4. Begin with repeating the process for at least 5 minutes. Extend as you get more comfortable.

 

Healthy Habits

Practicing healthy habits, such as eating right, staying hydrated, keeping a sleep diary and a sleep schedule, promote healthy sleep. These are simple yet highly effective ways you can go about increasing your chances of disrupting those negative sleep patterns while requiring minimal effort from your side. Not only will this improve your chance of better sleep quality, but it will also improve your overall physical and mental health.

Regular exercise in combination with healthy eating habits and optimal daily hydration will put your body in an excellent condition, reduce stress and anxiety. And with that help, you fall asleep or experience undisturbed sleep throughout the night.

Other helpful tips when it comes to diet and hydration are to avoid alcohol and other drugs, reduce caffeine and sugar consumption to achieve optimal health. Overconsuming alcohol, drugs or sugar will make you feel sluggish and weak, and it brings stress, which, as we know, negatively affects sleep.

 

Additional Sleep Hygiene Tips for Better Sleep and Improved Sleep Health

ways to improve your sleep by using sleep journal and reducing caffeine consumption

Below you will find some easy and straightforward sleep tips to keep you asleep during the night and enjoy the health benefits that come with it.

  • Listen to the body clock and go to sleep when it tells you
  • Avoid long daytime naps
  • Introduce blue light into the bedroom, as it has proven to impact sleep and sleep patterns positively
  • Drink a glass of warm milk just before bedtime
  • Take a warm bath instead of a shower just before you go to bed; the hot water will relax your body and muscles, allowing you to fall asleep faster
  • Ensure that the bedroom promotes a restful environment, with a comfortable mattress and pillow
  • Instead of a heavy meal close to bedtime, eat a light snack rather, preferably fruits or something not containing sugar
  • Keep the room cool at night as this helps promote a good night's rest
  • Block out natural light, as bright light can disrupt sleep. If you cannot do this, buy a sleep mask that helps block light
  • Acquire earplugs to help you block out unwanted sounds, whether it is noise from outside or a loud partner.

 

Conclusion

We cannot deny that we will be deprived of the potential that tomorrow has if we do not get a good night's sleep. Think of it as an investment. The less we put on our sleeping habits, the more chances of not being productive, being irritable and having health problems. Luckily, we can control the factors that affect our sleeping habits. All it takes is a conscious decision if we actually want to improve on this small, yet important, part of our life. By following the tips mentioned above, anyone can achieve that well-rested feeling from a good sleep every morning after a good night's rest.

 

ANAHANA SLEEP RESOURCES

SLEEP WIKIS

Sleep Hygiene

Guided Meditation for Sleep

 

SLEEP BLOGS

Sleep Meditation

How to Sleep Better

What is Sleep Deprivation

I Can't Sleep

How Long Can You Go Without Sleep

 

References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2110998

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300190

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2009/issue61/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41465-018-0068-1#Tab1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328970/

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Cleveland Clinic

National Sleep Foundation

Harvard Medical School

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