Getting better sleep doesn't have to be expensive. While they help, supplements and fancy gadgets are not the only ways to get better, more restful sleep. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to naturally improve your sleep –– and they won't cost you anything!
1. Establish a Sleep Schedule
Establishing a sleep schedule is one of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep quality. Having a consistent sleep schedule can help maintain your body's internal clock or circadian rhythm. This will help improve your sleep latency –– the time it takes to fall asleep.
Set a specific bedtime and wake-up time each day, even on weekends. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day--even if it's only by an hour or two--and avoid long naps during the day when you can.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night and getting into your routine, try going outside for some fresh air before bedtime; research shows that getting some fresh air before bed can actually help you fall asleep faster and can even improve overall sleep quality.
2. Exercise Regularly
Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep.
Ideally, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety--both of which interfere with sleep--and it also releases endorphins that make you feel good (which may be why people often feel more relaxed after exercising).
Try to finish your workout at least a few hours before bedtime so that it doesn't keep you up later than necessary. If this isn't an option for you right now but would be in the future, consider starting small by taking walks around your neighborhood during daylight hours instead!
3. Avoid Caffeine and Nicotine
This sounds easier said than done, but cutting back on caffeine can improve your energy levels when you first wake up. Without having to rely on caffeine for energy, your body will make up for it over time.
Both caffeine and nicotine can interfere with sleep, so try to avoid them for a few hours before bedtime. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and some sodas; nicotine is found in cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco products. If you think you're having trouble sleeping because of your caffeine or nicotine intake (or both), consider cutting back on these substances during the day as well as at night. The best option is to cut them out entirely, but this might be difficult for you, especially all at once. Instead of going cold turkey, consider just cutting it off by the afternoon,
4. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
While alcohol can make it easier to fall asleep, it can also interfere with the quality of your sleep. Drinking alcohol in the few hours before bedtime will disrupt your circadian rhythm and cause you to wake up more often during the night.
If you do choose to drink alcohol at night, try not to have more than one drink per hour. This will help prevent you from becoming too intoxicated while still allowing enough time for your body to metabolize all of its alcohol content before hitting the hay.
5. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
As silly as it sounds, your sleeping and environment can make or break a good night's rest. Aside from having a comfy mattress and bedding, there are a few things you can do to make your sleep environment sleep heaven.
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. If you're having trouble sleeping because of noise or heat, invest in some earplugs or a fan. Temperature is everything, and the Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees based on personal preferences. Cool temperatures can help your body fall into deeper sleep and help you stay asleep the whole night.
Another thing you can do to get better sleep is to Try to keep your bedroom free from distractions such as TVs, computers, and phones at night. Blue light can trick your body and mess up your circadian rhythm. This can help you relax before bedtime so that when it comes time for sleep, you'll be ready!
If you're already doing all of these things and still looking to improve your sleep quality, meet the Nodpod –– the weighted blanket for your eyes. This weighted eye mask can help improve your sleep latency (aka our 3-minute magic…), reduce anxiety, and can even provide migraine relief.