15 Useful Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

The Zs you want.

Young woman wearing a pink sleep mask
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A bad night’s sleep can be disastrous to your work productivity.

We’ve all been there: tossing and turning all night, barely managing to squeeze in even a couple of winks of sleep before our alarm goes off in the morning. We then spend the rest of the day, and sometimes week, at work feeling lethargic and unable to focus – all while looking forward to the weekend to catch up on all those lost hours of sleep and hopefully feel some kind of normal again.

You’re probably thinking: ‘That sounds like me, but how can I break out of this vicious cycle?’

Well, lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place because we have the answer.

In fact, here’s a list of 15 tips for a better night’s sleep.

1. Exercise in the morning

It’s no secret that exercise improves sleep, as well as our overall health and work efficiency, but where many people go wrong is when they work out.

When you exercise, you increase your energy levels and body temperature, and it takes more than six hours for your body to cool back down to normal – meaning that a morning workout will affect the quality of your sleep for the better.

Remember: the more time you give your body to cool off, the better adjusted your body will be for a good night’s sleep.

2. Stick to a set sleeping pattern

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is essential to reap the benefits of decent sleep.

Your body will naturally be used to sleeping at certain times and will rejuvenate and replenish during this period. In addition, your sleep cycle won’t be thrown off balance, and your body won’t feel the need to fight to make up for lost sleep, which would only make you feel more exhausted in the long run.

3. Stop napping

If you’re guilty of dozing off during the day, then you need to stop immediately – that ‘harmless’ 40-minute nap could be the main cause of your insomnia!

Napping for anything over 20 minutes will send your body into a deep sleep mode, meaning that it will be difficult for you to wake up, and even more difficult for you to get back to sleep when bedtime comes around.

4. Consider using natural sleep remedies

There are a number of science-based natural sleep remedies that can have a positive effect on your sleeping pattern; from drinking warm milk and honey or herbal teas to taking melatonin supplements, there’s bound to be something that will work for you.

Before taking any supplements, though, it’s wise to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that they don’t interfere with any other medication or vitamins that you may be taking.

5. Have a light bedtime snack

If you think warm milk is so 90s, you could opt for a light bedtime snack, instead; after all, there’s nothing worse than going to bed with a growling belly.

Protein-rich foods, like eggs, milk and peanuts, are excellent choices. They contain an amino acid called tryptophan which causes sleepiness, and by combining them with some form of carbohydrates, you can help more tryptophan enter your brain.

6. Mind the room temperature

You probably already know that if you’re too cold or too hot, you’ll have trouble getting to sleep at night.

So, what is the best temperature to sleep in? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that, to sleep comfortably, the room temperature should be around 65F (18-19C).

Your body temperatures will naturally cool down throughout the night and begin to rise at 5am, so if it’s too hot or cold, this will interfere with your body’s natural dip, resulting in a restless night.

7. Turn off all electronic devices

Are you guilty of getting into bed and scrolling through an endless feed of pictures on Instagram or Facebook? If so, you’re single-handedly damaging your sleep pattern.

This not only keeps your brain alert, but the blue light emitted from the screen restrains the production of melatonin that controls your sleep cycle.

8. Eliminate sound

For some people, the slightest sound can keep them awake at night, while others can benefit significantly from a noise machine that plays soothing sounds, eliminating any annoying background noise in the process.

If, on the other hand, you really can’t bear to hear any sound at all, you could consider investing in some earplugs that can naturally help you sleep better.

9. Black it out

If you think that light from your phone or other electronic device isn’t affecting the quality of your sleep, you’re mistaken. To make sure you don’t disrupt the production of melatonin during your sleep cycle, be sure to black out your room.

Even if you wake up for a toilet break during the night, use a dim light to find your way instead of waking yourself up by switching lights on.

10. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed

If you find yourself tossing and turning for the best part of an hour, get out of bed and move into a different environment.

Do something that will relax your mind and help you get to sleep faster, like reading a book or meditating. Once you feel drowsy, crawl back into bed for a better night’s sleep.

11. Do mental maths

If you’re lying in bed wide awake at night, you could consider doing some mental maths. Counting back from 300 by 3s will most definitely do the trick, as it’s difficult for your brain to stay focused and, as a result, will make you fall asleep faster.

12. Have a pre-sleep routine

A bedtime routine can be the ideal wind-down to get you into sleep mode if you follow the same pattern every night. This could be something like reading a chapter of a book, brushing your teeth or washing your face.

By following the same pattern on a daily basis, your brain will get familiar with the actions and will not use as much power to think through the steps – it will be on some kind of autopilot.

13. Eat the right foods

Eating the right food to maintain a healthy body can help you get some more shut-eye at night. It’s been reported that foods heavy in magnesium can help with insomnia because it calms down the nervous system.

To give it a try, increase your intake of almonds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, spinach, peanuts, black beans and brown rice.

14. Sleep with a furry friend

Sleeping with your pet can be beneficial, as long as they’re in their own bed.

If you let your pooch crawl into your covers, you’ll have a poorer sleep quality from all the movement, but if they sleep on the floor next to you, you’ll both have an undisturbed night of sleep.

15. Practise cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is mainly used to treat anxiety and depression – its primary goal is to shift the patient’s mindset and change the thoughts that trigger any negative feelings.

But, in recent years, it’s also been used as a drug-free method to treat insomnia. In a Harvard Medical School study of 63 subjects, CBT was more effective than prescription pills. In fact, participants fell asleep 20 minutes faster, and their sleep quality was improved by 17%.

Final thoughts

Having difficulty sleeping is never easy, but with a combination of these useful tips, you should be on the road to a much smoother path.

Do you have any additional tips that will be useful for our readers? If so, join the conversation below and let us know!