Better sleep is everyone’s craving. Anxiety and stress can keep us awake throughout the night. This hampers our productivity because during the day, instead of being active and attentive, we become drowsy. This is the main reason why most Americans come online searching for tips on how to sleep through the night.
According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), sleep deprivation is directly associated with strokes and heart attacks. SAS reports more than 100,000 fatalities annually that are as a result of errors due to sleep deprivation. Drowsy driving has also claimed so many lives in the US alone.
It’s evident that sleep not only affects mental health, but physical health too. But despite the fact that sleep is an essential part of our productive life, few people have mastered the art of doing it right.
With the aim of ensuring a productive nation, this article has been designed to reach out to many people by sharing workable experiences. In this article, we will look at some actionable tips on how to sleep through the night. Read on.
1. Stick to a strict sleep routine
Most of us make appointments with our doctors or a date with our loved ones and we follow through. We keep time and delaying by a few minutes can be detrimental to our relationships.
The time to go to bed and wake up should be equally important to us. This should be consistent day in day out for guaranteed quality sleep.
A healthy adult requires at least seven hours of sleep. Ensure that you have between seven and nine hours of sleep time set aside.
Choose a bed time when you are extremely tired to avoid tossing and turning before you catch sleep.
A regular time for sleep-wake will leave you more refreshed and energized than sleeping for the same amount of time every day at different times.
If you get enough sleep daily, you should be able to wake up without an alarm. If you still find yourself not in a position to wake up without alarm, it means you need to go to bed earlier.
2. Synchronize weekday and weekend schedule
If anything, try to maintain the same sleep-wake schedule for the weekday on weekends. Any difference in the weekends and weekdays schedule will worsen jetlag-like symptoms you experience.
The weekends sleep-in should not be used to make up for a late night. Rather, opt for a daytime nap and keep your night schedule intact. This way, your natural sleep-wake rhythm won’t be affected.
3. Keep daytime naps shorter or avoid them totally
Naps could be perfect for making up lost sleep at night. However, if you experience difficulty falling asleep at night, that late afternoon nap could be the culprit.
Focus on getting sufficient sleep at night and sticking to your sleep-wake schedule. This will make you feel energetic even in the afternoon when it’s so tempting to take a nap due to feeling exhausted.
Talking about afternoon naps doesn’t mean that they are bad. The problem is that many people take a power nap which turns to over an hour. Others even take a nap late in the evening.
A good and effective nap should be restricted to 15 – 30 minutes maximum. It should also be before 5 pm.
Those who work during the night can however be exempted from this rule. It might be necessary to nap late in the evening to cover up for the sleep debt.
4. Avoid after-dinner drowsiness
It’s often tempting to fall asleep just after dinner and way before bedtime. It is understandable because of the day’s activities. In most cases, you will find yourself comfortable on the couch which makes it so welcoming for a short nap.
Should you find yourself in this state, try to be active. Get off the couch and do something that stimulates your mind. Wash the dishes, call a friend, or get clothes ready for the following day.
Falling for the short nap can hamper your sleep when the time comes. You may find yourself waking up later in the night, only to be unable to go back to sleep.
5. Take charge of your exposure to sunlight
Melatonin hormone is important for the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is released at night when it’s dark hence making us sleepy, but its production is reduced when there is exposure to light. This keeps the circadian rhythm intact if the exposure to sunlight is fully taken advantage of.
In the morning after waking up, get as much exposure to sunlight as much as you can. If it’s possible to get sunlight immediately after waking up, that will be better. Take your breakfast in the sunlight to expose your face to sunlight. This will help you wake up fully.
During the day, whenever possible, spend more time in the sunlight. Get breaks in between your work and catch a little sunlight. Exercise in the sun. Go for a walk when it’s still sunny instead of doing so late in the evenings.
Allow natural light to get into your house or your office as much as possible. Keep the curtains and blinds open during the day. Whenever possible, position your desk near the window.
6. Minimize light exposure 1-2 hours before bed
Reduce the screen time on electronics some time before your bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens such as phones, tablets, computers, and TVs are disruptive. Try to reduce the light by using light filtering mechanisms or software.
Late night TVs are also disruptive to your sleep. TVs emit light that suppress the production of melatonin. The programs played on TV also tend to be stimulating rather than relaxing.
Avoid reading with backlit devices such as tablets or smartphones. Try to use devices such as e-readers which lack their own source of light.
7. Keep your room dark during sleep time
Melatonin hormone which is responsible for sleep is produced in abundance by the body when it is dark. Creating a completely dark environment when sleeping at night gives your body a conducive environment for sleep.
The use of heavy curtains can enable you to achieve total darkness. You can also try a sleep mask to block light to your eyes. Should there be any electronics that emit light, cover them with an opaque material.
If you happen to wake up at night and need light to move around, try to keep the lights down. You can install a dim nightlight in the room, or use a small flashlight that emits dim light. This ensures that you fall back to sleep faster.
8. Engage in regular physical activity
Physical activity is one of the actionable tips on how to sleep through the night that you can start immediately. Regular exercise will keep you active and less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also helps to ease the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. It increases the time spent in the deep restorative stages of sleep.
Physical activity plays a big role in the stimulation of endorphins and other feel-good hormones. These hormones boost your mood and well being, which are the crucial factors for quality sleep.
The amount of physical exercise carried out doesn’t matter. However, the more vigorous the exercise is, the better the sleep benefits you will achieve. Strive to be active, even if it is just walking for 10 minutes a day.
The sleep benefits may take long to be realized, even up to months of physical exercise. However, consistency is key for these benefits to be realized.
An alternative to physical exercise is yoga which helps the body and mind to relax and focus.
9. Keep the right timing for exercises
Rapid exercises result in increased metabolism and body temperatures. It also stimulates the production of cortisol hormone. This makes the body active and boosts concentration. Therefore, for the exercises to be effective, it should be in the morning or afternoon, but not close to bedtime. This is because it will interfere with sleep by making the body active instead of relaxing it.
Work on the moderate and more vigorous exercises earlier, and if necessary, finish them 3 hours before bedtime. If you still find it difficult to fall asleep on time, move your exercises to morning hours.
Yoga and low-impact exercises that are relaxing rather than vigorous can be performed at night to promote sleep.
10. Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to 10 to 12 hours after consuming it.
It’s proven that caffeine can delay the schedule of the body’s circadian rhythm. This results in reduced total sleep time. The amount of deep sleep that can be enjoyed is also drastically reduced.
Nicotine disrupts sleep especially when smoked close to bedtime. This is because nicotine is a stimulant and can mask exhaustion giving your body a false impression that you don’t need to rest.
Nicotine can result in other sleep conditions such as sleep apnea and insomnia. The effects go for long even after you quit smoking.
11. Say no to big meals before bed
The type of meals you take before going to bed impacts a lot on your sleep. Heavy meals can be troublesome during digestion giving your body a lot of work.
Normalize taking dinner some time before going to bed. Two hours earlier can be perfect to give your body sufficient time for digestion.
Spicy and acidic food can cause heartburn and stomach troubles. You would want to avoid this if you want quality and restful sleep.
12. Don’t drink and drive
Alcohol doesn’t improve the quality of sleep contrary to many people’s belief. Despite the fact that alcohol enables healthy people to fall asleep faster and sleep soundly for some time, studies have shown that it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep after some time. The more you drink before bed, the more pronounced the REM effects become.
REM sleep is experienced roughly after 90 minutes of sleep. This stage of sleep is when it is believed that people dream and is thought to be responsible for restoration.
Some of the effects of disrupting REM sleep include drowsiness during the day, lack of concentration, and reduced quality sleep at night.
Drinking alcohol before bed is also thought to cause difficulties in breathing. This may precipitate sleep apnea.
13. Too many drinks before bed will disrupt your sleep
Too much drinks before bed causes your bladder to be full. This calls for unlimited trips to the washroom throughout the night.
Frequently waking up at night affects the circadian rhythm hence reducing the quality of sleep and the cumulative time that you sleep at night.
For some, once they wake up in the middle of the night, it becomes hard to go back to sleep.
Cut on the drinks at night. Take as many drinks as possible during the day but reduce this some hours, at least two before you go to bed. This will ease your bladder of any pressure from the excessive liquids.
Should you find it necessary to wake up in the middle of the night, ensure that you keep lights dim to avoid signaling to your brain that it’s time to wake up.
14. Use a weighted blanket
A Weighted blanket comes in as a completely different tool for getting that quality sleep. Among the tips on how to sleep through the night, a weighted blanket comes out as the most effective and therapeutic tool.
Weighted blanket not only soothes and calms you to sleep, but it has other numerous health benefits hence making it a number one non-medical tool for catching that elusive sleep.
A weighted blanket is a blanket that has extra weights sewn into its fabrics. These extra weights come from filler materials such as plastic poly pellets and micro glass beads. The filler materials are sewn into pockets in the weighted blanket to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed.
A weighted blanket uses the principle of deep touch pressure (DTP) therapy where it exerts firm but gentle pressure on the body stimulating the sensory nerves to produce serotonin hormone which is responsible for sleep.
There are several weighted blankets available in the market, hence a proper method should be used to make the right choice. However, you can avoid the stress and pick on the best weighted blankets from the comprehensive list provided in this blog.
Despite the numerous health benefits of weighted blankets, they may not work for a number of individuals. Safety measures should be observed and the weighted blanket should only be used to treat underlying health issues upon the doctor’s recommendation.
You might want t read more on: How to Choose the Best Weighted Blanket.
15. Relax your mind and meditate before bed
The buildup of the day’s stress, anger, and worry can greatly impact on your sleep. You might find yourself unable to fall asleep in time, or waking up in the middle of the night.
One of the tips on how to sleep through the night involves the ability to manage your overall stress levels and curb the worry habit. This has everything to do with your mind relaxation and meditation has proven to be the most effective technique.
Some of the relaxing techniques that can be adopted include listening to soft music or to an audio book. Dimming of lights also works magic.
During the day, avoid overstimulating your mind by trying to do several tasks at a go. This can be checking on social media and emails on our phone as we embark on our daily tasks. The brain gets overstimulated such that it becomes hard to slow it down to relaxation mode when it is time to sleep.
Before going to bed, you can also try deep breath exercise as a relaxation technique. When you take time to focus on your breath and take note of it, it helps to lower the heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels hence calming you to sleep.
16. Keep the room temperature and noise down
Keeping your bedroom cool and silent is a sure tip on how to sleep through the night. Slightly higher temperature and a little bit of noise can disrupt your sleep to a great extent.
Keep noise down to achieve a slightly silent environment. However, this may be a challenge at times if the source of noise comes from the neighborhood such as traffic or other people in the room. You can mask this noise using a mask or an earplug.
Keep the room cool as well. The ideal temperature for perfect sleep for most people is around 65° F or 18° C. This can be achieved with the help of good ventilation. Using a fan can also help. Extreme temperatures can interfere with the quality of sleep.
17. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex
Your mind adapts according to the environment. If you train it to know that the bedroom is only meant for sleep and sex, it will adjust to it and associate it to sleep and sex. Whenever you are in your bedroom, your. Ind will only expect two things, sleep or sex.
Sex is powerful for sleep. Those who engage in passionate sex sleep soundly. Therefore, you will never go wrong by associating the two with a bedroom environment.
You will never have challenges falling asleep as long as you are in your bedroom.
18. Create a comfortable sleep environment
Comfortable environment is an essential part of getting quality sleep. You wouldn’t be feeling refreshed and energized every morning if you wake up with a painful back.
Most of the people who search for tips on how to sleep through the night would find out that among the underlying issues that causes them not to get quality sleep is lack of a comfortable bedroom environment.
Ensure that your beddings are clean and dry. This can be achieved by ensuring sufficient aeration of the room during the day. Open windows and curtains for sufficient air circulation and light.
Change your beddings at least once a week to ensure a clean environment. Sheets and bed covers can be washed at least once a week while blankets should also be kept clean. You can however use a duvet cover to make it easy to clean it frequently.
If you happen to use a weighted blanket, cleaning it might be a challenge. However, there are various guides for cleaning a weighted blanket that will make your work easier.
A hard or worn-out mattress can also create a hell of an experience that culminates into a lack of sleep quality. Get a perfect mattress and foam toppers.
19. The right pillow might be what you need
The use of pillows is not everyone’s preference. Some people like it lying down on the bed without a pillow. Others would rather have a pillow and miss a blanket. However, your habits when it comes to using a pillow could be distracting your sleep.
The use of hard pillows that hardly curve in when you sleep on it could be the reason why you toss and turn in bed. It could be the main reason why you take a long time to fall asleep.
The type of pillow used depends on the type of sleeper you are. Stomach sleepers need a softer and slimmer pillow to accommodate the head and the shoulders. Back sleepers however need a firmer pillow to contour the neck and body for a better fit.
If you are having neck and back pain issues, try to get a prescription orthopedic pillow from your doctor. An orthopedic pillow could be a game changer, however, you need to choose wisely since orthopedic pillow vary greatly.
The use of pillows for pregnant women also varies greatly. There are special pregnancy pillows that can be used to support the belly hence easing the weight off the mother’s spine and shoulders.
20. Refresh your body with a bath
Taking a warm refreshing bath is one of the tips on how to sleep through the night. A warm bath will help ease the tension on your muscles and massage the body hence calming you to sleep.
Researchers suggest that a hot bath helps one to fall asleep faster. According to their study, taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed could be a perfect precursor for sound sleep. From their explanation, a hot bath will raise the body’s internal temperature. Since this temperature is not sustainable, the rate at which it will drop will be high. This drastic change in temperatures signals the body that it is time to go to bed, hence guaranteeing deep sleep.
A professor at the NY University School of Medicine carried out research that shows that the body temperature drops down naturally during the night. This process of loss in temperature starts a few hours before bed and peaks at 4 am in the morning. This drop in temperature is necessary for the body to understand that it is time for sleep.
21. Sleep pills will only worsen your situation
Among the tips on how to sleep through the night, the use of sleeping pills is not one of them. Sleeping pills can be helpful on some occasions but it’s a bad idea in the long run.
The problem with sleeping pills is that it can lead to addiction.
Sleeping pills can also have some side effects and potential dangers especially if it’s not recommended by a doctor.
The side effects of using sleeping pills ranges from mild headaches to gastrointestinal issues. It can also lead to memory problems and even death in extreme cases.
It’s always good to seek the doctor’s recommendation before using any pills.
22. Your bedroom is not your workstation
One of the tips on how to sleep through the night is to avoid the temptation to turn your bedroom into a workstation. The temptation to snuggle up a blanket and complete that pending task as you wait for the sleep to ‘catch’ could be overwhelming. However, that could be the beginning of a long night of turning and tossing and subsequently waking up feeling tired the following day.
Exposure to screen lights just before bed will reduce melatonin levels in your body. Remember that melatonin is the hormone responsible for sleep.
Lowering the levels of melatonin could significantly affect your quality of sleep and might give you difficulties falling asleep. This can significantly affect your productivity the following day, hence affecting the very work that you wanted to salvage.
Restrict your bedroom activities to sleep-related only. Also, learn the habit of switching off all the electronics light before bed. These include laptops, phones, and tablets.
23. Your underlying health might be your problem
You could have searched for tips on how to sleep through the night and you’ve done everything within your power to ensure that you get a better sleep through the night. But still, sleep doesn’t come through. Your enemy could be within.
Your underlying health conditions play a key role on how you sleep. These could be skin allergies that result in uncontrolled itching at night. Others include stomach ache, toothache, heartburns and similar conditions.
It is advisable that you speak to your doctor about these problems and let them guide you on what to do.
24. Pets might disrupt your sleep
Pets are good to have around, but they could be the very reason you are asking for tips on how to sleep through the night.
It’s okay to spend the rest of your day with pets, but when night falls, train them to understand that you need your space for quality sleep.
There’s a lot of available information on whether to let pets into your room or not. I don’t object to any of the information, but, hey, your sleep is so important than anything else, right?
Keep the pets out of your bedroom. You will never regret it. Let them spend the night in their own room. It never hurts but works well for you.
However, this may vary with the type of pets you have. It will also depend on how close you are with the pets. You know cannot end a flourishing relationship without notice.
25. Seek the doctor’s help
This article gives general information on the tips on how to sleep through the night based on our experience, however, it doesn’t mean that this will work for everyone else. If you have tried everything here but nothing seems to work, it might be the right time to see your doctor.
Doctors have experience dealing with sleep related conditions and they can advise you accordingly. The doctor will be able to tell you what the root cause of your sleep problem is and how you can get rid of it.
There are thousands of reasons that can lead to poor sleep, hence it’s a difficult job diagnosing them on your own. Let the experts do it for you.
There are so many tips on how to sleep through the night. Mentioning all of them in this article will take a lot of space and time. However, I have chosen to mention only the tips that are actionable and within our reach. These tips will guarantee that you get quality sleep and re-energize yourself.
It is worth mentioning that sleep is an essential factor for your health and general wellbeing. Never let anything come between you and your sleep. This is one thing that you should guard jealously. However, should you notice that you still have a problem falling asleep and remaining asleep throughout the night despite trying these actionable tips on how to sleep through the night, it is high time to consult your doctor. Never take anything for granted. You could be trying to treat the effects of an underlying condition that will always prove to be futile.
This blog is however dedicated to sharing experiences and things that work for the author, but they should never be used as a substitute to the doctor’s diagnosis. But rather, use the information contained herein for complementary purposes only.