Top 10 Tips for Good Sleep

There are many ways to improve the quality of your sleep, but some of the best strategies include regular exercise, reducing screen-time before bed, avoid certain chemicals, make your bedroom your sleep spot, regulate your eating schedule, keep your eyes off the clock, and many more!

Healthy, Restful Sleep

One of the things that unifies us as human beings is our need for sleep. Some people may be “morning people” or “night owls”, but every single human body requires rest, which comes in the form of sleep. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced, technology-driven, stress-filled lives, proper rest can sometimes be hard to achieve. Studies show that most adults require seven to nine hours of rest for proper functioning; this can be achieved through a single bout of sleep, or a shorter sleep pattern supplemented with naps. Sleep is a tricky thing, and affects everyone slightly differently. Your Circadian rhythms and natural habits form the basis of your sleep. If your schedule causes your sleep patterns to change regularly, then you may have adjusted to that lifestyle, while a disruption for other people can be chaotic, affecting their mental and physical prowess.good sleep

Good sleep should have a few key characteristics: undisturbed, a feeling of refreshment upon waking, alertness during the day, a lack of snoring/ fitfulness/ disturbed breathing, and the sleep should come on roughly twenty minutes after lying down with the intention to sleep. If you aren’t getting your 7-9 hours or feel beaten down and tired during the day, there are probably some very good reasons for this. Whether you are suffering from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, or simply a lack of good sleep habits, there are ways you can improve your situation. If you want to get back into the high-energy side of life, a few changes to your diet, daily schedule, and habits are all that you require. Now, take a closer look at the 10 Best Tips for Good Sleep.

10 Best Tips for Good Sleep

1. Avoid Late-Night Screen Time: In today’s tech-heavy world, it seems impossible to tear ourselves away from our gadgets and gizmos even long enough to grab some shut-eye. However, playing on a smartphone or tablet, working on the computer, or watching television late at night gets our brain stimulated and active, making it harder for us to go to sleep. Also, our mind is occupied by thoughts of work, social media platform updates, and the plot of our favorite television drama, all of which keep our mind from shutting down for sleep.

2. Your Bedroom is for Sleeping: If you make it a habit of doing other things in bed, such as eating, studying, reading, or hanging out with your partner, then your body won’t associate the bedroom with sleeping. A dark room with a comfortable bed should induce sleep, but if we are constantly in the bedroom, it becomes harder to wind down for restful sleep, as we’re half-expecting to start doing something else at any moment.

3. Be Consistent in Your Choices: Although some people function normally with non-regular sleep schedules, it has been shown that establishing a firm routine in your sleep patterns is key. Given the recent changes to the traditional “workday” and the prevalence of working from home and freelancing, it becomes easier to manipulate our schedules to our convenience. This can make it hard for our body to find a comfortable pattern. Try to go to bed and rise at the same time of day, when possible, if you are suffering from sleep deficiency or a sleep disorder.

4. Avoid Stimulating Chemicals: We often rely on coffee to wake us up in the morning, and maybe push us through the day. Energy drinks and supplements have also become very popular to squeeze out every drop of energy from the day, but this can also wire us well into our scheduled bed time. We may need to wake up at the same time the following day, but the chemicals we’ve infused our body with won’t let us fall asleep. Cut back on that third cup of coffee in the afternoon and eliminate energy drinks to see if your sleep patterns return to normal.

5. Exercise Regularly: Expending excess energy will increase the body’s demands for rest, often superseding any mental issue that are keeping you awake. If you regularly exercise in the morning or afternoon, your body will be ready for and need a restful sleep at night. Late-night exercising, however, can have a similar effect as late-night screen time – keeping your mind and body active well into your intended bed time.

6. Throw Away Your Alarm Clock: The jarring nature of the alarm clock can be very disruptive for sleep patterns and start the day in an uncomfortable way. Having progressively louder alarms on a particular time pattern can help ease one out of slumber and start the day in a positive way, rather than slamming an angry, exhausted hand for the alarm clock. Eventually, your body may even train itself to wake up a few minutes before the set alarm time, which is the most peaceful and natural way to wake up!

7. Meditation and Visualization: If you’re suffering from sleep problems, some alternative remedies can be meditation and visualization. Meditation helps soothe the mind and clear out distracting thoughts, while visualization can be a powerful tool in bed when your mind is going a million miles an hour. Visualize peaceful, restful sleep, and it will soon come to you!

8. Take a Nap When You Need It: Using naps sparingly throughout the day, when your body demands it, can be beneficial, particularly if you struggle to sleep for a solid 8 hours straight. Short catnaps can energize us for the day, eliminating the need for chemical stimulants, and also ensure that the final sleep of the day we get is restful and invigorating.

9. Cut Down on Alcohol and Cigarettes: Alcohol may help you “pass out”, but that isn’t restful sleep, and has a bevy of other health impacts that one would rather avoid. Similarly, the calming nature of a cigarette may seem ideal before you close your eyes, but cigarettes and nicotine are stimulants, technically making it harder for your pulse to slow and your mind to prepare for sleep.

10. Eat Wisely: Eating large meals late at night is unwise, but there are some sleep-inducing foods that can be helpful if you’re staring at the ceiling every night. Foods high in magnesium and other important nutrients (like trytophan) can cause the release of neurotransmitters that send you right into slumber. Try adding cottage cheese, fruit, yogurt, milk, or crackers to your late-night menu!

What do you think?

  • David Thomson

    A few other things help with sleeping. I have been a lucid dreamer since I was seven. I have found that not eating after 3pm empties the stomach and gives the body a rest from digesting food during the night. Most of our dream content is directly related to the food we are digesting and processing.

    Meditation is good, but what meditation actually does is teach the mind to be still. The hard rationalizing of the brain interferes with sleeping. Learning to lay down and turn off the rational mind while allowing the subconscious to roam is important to falling asleep quickly.

    An essential habit to learn while sleeping is to stay aware of your dreams. Don’t analyze them, but learn to feel the feelings of the dreams. Whenever fear arises, learn to recognize that you have the ability to replay the dream as many times as you want and to determine a different outcome. Learn to let go of fearful feelings and to force positive feelings. A book could be written about this topic, alone.

    The best thing I ever did to improve my sleep was to wear diapers at night. Nothing ruins sleep more than having to wake up in the middle of the night to go pee.

    I almost always sleep seven to eleven hours a night, but most nights I sleep eight to nine hours. I am aware of my dreams every night and always keep them filled with positive feelings. Depending on what my diet includes during the day, the dreams are mostly vibrant and colorful.

    Eating good quality fats and oils while completely avoiding hydrogenated fats and oils, and avoiding processed chemicals helps to maintain a healthy body and also to produce happy dreams. One commercial chemical that does produce incredibly vivid and positive dreams is paroxetine. Unfortunately, it is prescribed in way too high of a dose and isn’t worth the long term after effects. A serious researcher might try experimenting with lower doses and alternate forms of the molecular structure to produce a helpful sleep medicine.

    • ankits3a

      This was an interesting note David.

      I would love to hear some more on it. Do you have your own blog/article on such topics?

      • David Thomson

        You have likely heard the expression “to unwind?” When we are awake our consciousness has a quality of being stretched and tensed, like turning the spring on a mechanical clock. When we sleep well, our consciousness has the quality of being relaxed and literally unwinds.

        There is something about the mind that has non-material, yet physical structure. By virtue of being attached to a body, the Universe’s continual quantum particle half-spin in the direction of forward time exerts a winding effect on our consciousness, which has to be counteracted with a period of unwinding, which manifests in humans as sleep. All living things apparently manifest sleep, or dormancy, in one form or another.

        Just as exercise can be organized into a routine that develops specific manifestations of strength in the body, sleep can be organized into a discipline that maximizes the benefits of unwinding.

        Further, just as our consciousness can be organized into learning and training, our sleep time (subconscious) can be an organized process. The suggestions of the lead article are an excellent start and provide the physical steps we can take to prepare for good sleep. But this is only the beginning.

        Underlying the body and mind is a very real state of existence, which is the Will. Some people call it the soul or spirit or maybe something else. But there is an active spark of something which has the quality of pure will, and this will drives our mind and body. The will is not driven by consciousness or subconsciousness, but both are driven by the will. Nearly every living thing has a weak will. Some may be stronger than others, but all are weak compared to the will that drives the Universe.

        Manifestations of a weak will are fear, and the tendency to make choices that lead to poor health and misery. A strong will makes choices that lead to life via good health and happiness.

        Our dreams during sleep reveal the condition of our will. During the unwinding of the mind our feelings trigger sensations that may manifest as images and scenes. These dreams are also heavily influenced by the molecular and cellular processes present in our body. If we eat too much fat like from a juicy hamburger, we could “see” holes in our dreams that look like blobs in a lava lamp. If we eat fried chicken we could have really weird dreams with distorted shapes and strange plots. If we are afraid of someone in our waking life we could have dreams of being chased by unseen monsters. Dreams of dying, crashing, moving out of control, and similar situations are usually related to accumulated health problems such as clogged arteries and organs.

        Seemingly simple and harmless things like drinking sodas and eating deep fried foods without getting substantial exercise to metabolize them as they pass through the body will cause poor health and this will reflect in the dreams.

        Similarly, dreams of flying and having pleasant conversations reflect good health and a balanced mind. And our dreams are not necessarily effects of our physical health. We can use our will to intentionally change our dreams to positive themes and thus alter the body’s metabolism in a healthy way. I suspect that this is where the power of prayer and positive thinking associated with a religious life derives its effectiveness. Religious experiences can be intensely positive.

        Meditation helps us to still the mind and reveal to us our will. Learning to lucid dream and to provide the body with good health is an expression of the will as it manifests life. Giving as much attention to good sleep as we give to rational learning and healthy behaving balances the mind and leads the body to good health.

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