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How to sleep better

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Key Points:

  1. Most sleep issues are caused by stress, over-excitement, or some stimulants close to sleep, such as coffee and alcohols. Usually, you don't need to take any actions; everything will be fine by the next day.

  2. If there are something that affect your physical or mental health, you need to work on solving those issues. Once the issues are solved, you will have a better sleep naturally.

  3. There could be some people with sleep issues, who have some difficulties to sleep naturally. WikiHow has many articles about sleep, but we have picked the best article available for your convenience, because it includes some recommendations from experts at the National Sleep Foundation and Harvard Medical School. This article has provided some methods to help you sleep better, some of them could work.

Sleep is very important for good health and learning. According to Wikipedia, "The human organism physically restores itself during sleep, occurring mostly during slow-wave sleep during which body temperature, heart rate, and brain oxygen consumption decrease. In both the brain and body, the reduced rate of metabolism enables countervailing restorative processes." "It has been widely accepted that sleep must support the formation of long-term memory, and generally increasing previous learning and experiences recalls."

Some people may have some problems with their sleeping. According to Wikipedia, "Humans may suffer from various sleep disorders, including dyssomnias such as insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea; parasomnias such as sleepwalking and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder; bruxism; and circadian rhythm sleep disorders." Those sleep disorders are diseases that should be properly treated. But for this article, the focus is on how to sleep better for a normal person.

Here we quote the best way to have better sleep provided by wikiHow, a wiki that is building the world's largest and highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Sleep Better. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and well-being. If you are having trouble sleeping, you're probably getting all kinds of different advice on how to fix the problem. Don't worry! We performed the research for you and assembled all the most reliable tips for better sleep, including recommendations from experts at the National Sleep Foundation and Harvard Medical School.

Method 1: Getting to Sleep Quickly (Easy Methods)

  1. Relax in a nice warm bath or shower in the evening. As well as relaxing you, afterwards your body will cool down, which helps you sleep better. Putting on lotion after will help your skin be moisturized and warm.

  2. Take 400mg of a magnesium supplement 30 to 45 minutes before bed. Magnesium helps with insomnia by decreasing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It can also increase the quality and length that you sleep. Magnesium supplements can be purchased in the vitamin section of your pharmacy.

  3. Sleep naked. According to sleep specialists at the Cleveland Sleep Clinic, sleeping in the nude helps you regulate your temperature. Get a comfortable temperature using blankets or duvet (of suitable warmth), sheets, and pillows. It is usually best to be slightly on the cool side.

  4. Sleep in varying positions. Changing your sleeping position can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. When you go to sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, make a conscious effort to follow these guidelines until it becomes habitual: Keep your body in a "mid-line" position, where both your head and neck are kept roughly straight. This should help you sleep; avoid sleeping on your stomach. It's difficult to maintain the proper position, and it is more likely to cause aches and pains. If you wish to sleep on your stomach, put your pillow under your hips instead of under your head.

  5. Use a suitable pillow. If it's too thin, your head will tilt backwards, which is uncomfortable. Likewise, don't stack your pillows so that your head is propped at an angle. Try placing a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side. This will support your hips and make this position more comfortable. Try placing a pillow under your legs if you sleep on your back.

  6. Reduce your light exposure an hour or two before going to bed. Bright light before bedtime can disrupt your body's internal clock. It's one of the primary clues to the body that it's either sleep time, or waking time.

  7. Add gentle sounds. Use a white noise generator that generates various soothing sounds—surf, wind, steam—these are sounds that have no shape, and they can help your brain to de-focus on right now: White noise has been shown to not only help people fall asleep more quickly, but also it can disguise other noises that may wake you during the night. White noise or natural sound machines are often wonderful. But if you cannot afford one, a fan can make soothing noise. So can a radio tuned to "between stations," where it creates static. Make sure that the radio is not too loud. Repetitive or ambient music is very good for falling asleep. What's especially important is that there be no dramatic shifts in the dynamics of the music.

Method 2: Moderating Your Diet

  1. Eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime. A full stomach may disrupt your sleep, and, the heavier the meal, the longer it takes for your stomach to settle down.

  2. Avoid going to bed on an empty stomach. A completely empty stomach may interfere with your sleeping patterns just as much as going to bed with a full stomach. High protein foods like turkey, yogurt, soy beans, tuna, and peanuts contain tryptophan, which can help the body produce serotonin in order to relax. They also have natural, complex fats that can satiate your hunger.

  3. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. This includes coffee, black teas, cocoa, and caffeinated soda. Caffeine can keep you awake even if you drank it earlier in the day, as its effects can last up to 12 hours. This also includes other stimulants like those found in energy drinks even if they are not caffeine.

  4. Drink a relaxing warm beverage. Highly recommended beverages include a warm glass of milk or chamomile tea. Most herbal teas are fine, as long as they do not contain any caffeine. Avoid drinking more than a few ounces of fluid directly before bedtime.

  5. Avoid drinking water or other fluids within 1 ½ to 2 hours of your appointed bedtime. Ensure, though, that you drink at least two liters of water during the day.

  6. Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol will make you feel sleepy, but it will also reduce the quality of your sleep as your body processes the alcohol and sugars. Alcohol tends to produce broken, shallow sleep (even if you don't notice the periods of waking during the night), which does not refresh.

Method 3: Making Your Bed and Bedroom Welcoming

  1. Use your bedroom for bedtime. If your body is used to doing all sorts of things in the room besides sleep, it may not make a smooth transition to sleep when it is time. Your mind should associate your bedroom with sleep and perhaps soothing, relaxing activities.

  2. Make your bedroom a haven. The more comfortable your bed and bedroom are, the more conducive they are to a restful sleep.

  3. Clean your room. Get rid of the cobwebs, dust the shelves, and vacuum the floor. Empty the wastepaper basket. Remove dirty plates, cups, and water-bottles. A clean room sets the emotional stage for your room being a safe, healthy place, not a neglected dumping-ground to wallow in. Also, regular cleaning can alleviate allergies which can disrupt sleep. It also keeps pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches from invading your space.

  4. Beautify your room. An aesthetically pleasing room will make you happier than one that's displeasing. You do not necessarily have to have your room be a page from the Ikea catalog. But simple changes, such as getting rid of an ugly bedspread or repainting your walls can subtly shift your mood.

  5. Maintain your mattress. Replace it after five to seven years of regular use. If you feel springs or ridges beneath the surface when you're lying on the bed, or you and your partner tend to roll over each other a lot at night (unintentionally), it's time to go mattress shopping!

  6. Consider getting a new mattress. The newer types of mattresses that allow for adjustment or that mold around you may help you get a better night's sleep. One type of mattress lets you adjust the firmness of your bed, individually, for both you and your partner. This is ideal if you can never agree on which mattress feels right. You may both have different needs, and trying to find one you will both like generally means finding a mattress that neither of you will get a good night's sleep on. Another type of mattress uses memory foam, which moulds to the contours of your body as it warms up. This leaves no pressure points to cause numbness, irritation or other physical issues. This is especially useful for those with bad hips or other joints.

Method 4: Changing Your Daily Routine

  1. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Varying your sleeping times by more than an hour can severely disrupt your sleep quality by breaking your circadian rhythm.

  2. Consider allowing less time for sleeping. Different people need different amounts of sleep. If you take longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, or often wake up for long periods during the night, you may be allowing too much time for sleep. You need deep, continuous sleep, even if it's shorter, rather than shallow broken-up sleep.

  3. Develop a sleep routine. Try doing the same steps each night before you go to bed, to ready yourself for sleep. Consistency is the key. For a truly soothing evening, try the following steps: Put on some ambient music, and instead of incandescent lights, light several candles in your living room and in your bedroom; practice breathing exercises (see below) or meditation, focusing on relaxing your body.

  4. Try deep breathing relaxation before bed. Find a comfortable position. Make sure your environment is relaxed. Not much light, calm music and a space where you know you will not be interrupted are ideal. Clear your mind. Close your eyes and imagine all those problems that you keep in your mind everyday fading out with each breath. Pull in the positive. Inhale positive images that make you happy. While you do this keep, smile. Focus on your breath. Feel the oxygen within your body. You should start feeling a relaxing sensation across your body and mind. Try to maintain this for 10 minutes every night before going to sleep. You could even add a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow, which calms the nerves and helps you sleep. If your mind wanders off throughout the day, these breathing exercises will help your mind and body to relax and keep your mind in one place so you feel the calm in your body.

  5. Exercise regularly. If you have a sedentary job, a lack of physical exertion may contribute to reducing the quality of your sleep. The human body uses sleep to repair and recover. If there isn't much from which to recover, your body's sleep cycle could be disrupted.

  6. Consider taking a nap. For some people (depending on work and your daily routine), a short rest in the afternoon can help alleviate drowsiness experienced during the day. Though naps are not for everyone - many people feel even drowsier after a nap.

Method 5: Using Medication for Better Sleep

  1. Try melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain. The pineal actively converts serotonin to melatonin when it is dark, but when light is present it does not do so, and the melatonin oxidizes back into serotonin. Consult with your physician about taking melatonin. Taking melatonin pills is a natural way to induce sleep, especially if you are physically tired at night but are still unable to fall asleep. However, keep in mind melatonin is a hormone (like estrogen or testosterone) and just because it is natural does not necessarily mean it is harmless.

  2. Try plain antihistamine products that cause drowsiness. These are safe when taken "without extra ingredients"—i.e. no pain relievers, decongestants, expectorants, etc., but only for a night or two, as tolerance to them quickly builds.

  3. Tell your doctor if you are concerned that you might have a sleep disorder. Some of the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, narcolepsy and parasomnias. If you are indeed suffering from and are diagnosed with any of these conditions, your doctor will recommend treatment accordingly.

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