Let’s not sit here and act like we can turn a switch and start sleeping 8 hours a day instead of our usual five or six. We want to enjoy a deeper night’s sleep for the number of hours we do lay down, and we want to know how from doctors, not bloggers. I’ve collected five tips only from doctors and researchers on how to enjoy a deeper night’s sleep.
If you have been in a funk recently, with either not being able to fall asleep easily, or being restless in bed, try incorporating a workout into your day. In 2017, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s National Institute of Health published a study releasing many results. One of which found that over a pool of several thousand patients, “physical activity and exercise are advocated as effective interventions for the treatment of disordered sleeping.” Working out will expend lots of your energy, and your body will want to recover that energy in the form of sleep.
2. Limit Blue Light Exposure Before Bed
Our computers, smartwatches, and phones emit blue wavelengths, which help us stay awake. Read this article published in Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Letter, that explains how exposure to blue light suppresses the body’s melatonin levels. Before we go to bed and spend 15 minutes our phone, we are essentially telling our body that the sun is up, and it is time to start our day. Subsequently, our melatonin balances begin to skew, and the hormones in our body resist falling asleep.
So when you’re not cramming for a test or in a long text sesh with bae, control your exposure to your computer and phone screens in order to help yourself feel more tired. Thanks, Harvard!
3. Reading Before Bed
A study from the Mindlab International (sounds cool!) at the University of Sussex, in the U.K., found that reading for just six minutes before bed helps reduce stress levels by at least 68 percent. The researchers also found that listening to music and having a cup of tea was not as relaxing as reading a book. As neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis puts it “…by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape for the worries and stresses of the everyday world.”
4. Whole Grains Before Bed
I was all about the no-carb diet in my first couple of years in college, until I had a lot of trouble sleeping. Eventually, I visited our nutritionist and asked for help. She advised I eat more whole grains before bed, and before I knew it, I was waking up feeling more rested, even though I was still getting 6 hours. I researched this phenomenon just to make sure, and the science behind whole grains help you sleep better is they are high in Magnesium content.
Whole grains contain magnesium, which is a key component to a good night’s sleep. Having a sandwich with whole-grain bread, or cereals with low sugar content can help promote deeper sleep.
5. A Comfortable Mattress And Pillow
The National Sleep Foundation has 11 specific ways to help you fall asleep, but one of their standout ways to help you have a deeper night’s sleep is to evaluate your sleeping tools: mattresses and pillows. Mattresses are very expensive, as we all know. However, a mattress pad is significantly less expensive and can be a sleep-changing alternative if you are having a string of bad sleep nights. Pillows are also crucial to staying asleep.
Nowadays there are just about as many pillow types and manufacturers as there are people in the world. See this guide to pillow shopping to promote a deeper snooze fest.