5 Ways To Get a Better Night’s Sleep
By Antonietta Marinelli | May 14, 2021
Often if a device is not working the first thing recommended to do is to “turn it off and back on again in order for it to work”. When it comes to humans, for us to feel refreshed and ‘recharged’, it’s recommended we get a good night’s rest.
A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health, arguably just as important as a healthy diet and exercise. Did you know that one-in-three Australians do not get enough sleep? (Anu, 2020). Getting a regular good night’s sleep between 7 to 8 hours is recommended to maintain better physical and mental health.
Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on our hormones, exercise performance and brain function (Leproult R, Van Cauter E. 2010) – one thing we know is super important for effective study and learning! In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier. If you want to optimize your health, or improve your concentration levels, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things to do.
So now we know just how impotant it is to get a good nights sleep, lets look at five ways we can make this happen.
1. Increasing Your Exposure To Bright Light During The Day
Depending on where you live and what season it is this may be tricky, however, our body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration (Maywer, 2020). A study in older adults found that 2 hours of bright exposure to light during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80% (Arne Fetveit 1, Arvid Skjerve, Bjørn Bjorvatn 2003). Try getting daily sunlight exposure - or if you live in a gloomy location - invest in some form of artificial lighting.
2. Reduction Of Blue Light Exposure In The Evening
Blue light is a portion of the visible light spectrum that can have unique effects on alertness, hormone production, and sleep cycles. The most effective way to reduce blue light in the evening is to simply turn off your electrical devices which contain the most light. This may mean dimming or reducing LED and fluorescent lighting and turning off all electronic devices once the day is over, or a couple of hours before going to sleep (Newsom, 2020).
3. Sleeping and Waking At Consistent Times
Being consistent with the time you go to bed and the time you wake up can aid long-term sleep quality. Most have troubles waking up early, but it takes practice! If you struggle with sleep, try to fall into the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times everyday. If you do this long enough, you may fall into the category of a natural wake up, and may not even need an alarm.
4. Taking A Hot Bath Or Shower
This is a great way to calm down all the muscles in your body. A study indicates that a hot bath or showercan improve your overall sleep quality and help people - especially older adults - fall asleep faster. You can even just place your feet in hot water to calm and relax you in order to improve your sleep.
5. Regular Exercise
Exercise can give a boost to your sleep in several ways. Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, which is the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health and control stress and anxiety (Breus, 2017). For adults, it is recommended that 30 minutes of exercise each day. Never fear though, if you’re new to exercise, it’s best to start slowly with something as simple as a walk.
● Australian National University, Sleeping Well, Australian National University Education. [Accessed 14 May 2021] https://www.anu.edu.au/students/health-safety-wellbeing/living-well/sleeping-well
● Breus, M. The Benefits of Exercise for Sleep. 2017. The Sleep Doctor. [Accessed 14 May 2021] https://thesleepdoctor.com/2017/05/22/benefits-exercise-sleep
● Fetveit A, Skjerve A, Bjorvatn B. Bright light treatment improves sleep in institutionalised elderly--an open trial. 2003. National Library of Medicine [Accessed 13 May 2021] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12789673/
● Leproult R., Van Cauter E. Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism. Endocr Dev. 2010.[Accessed 14 May 2021] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19955752/
● Mawer R., 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night. Healthline.[Accessed 14 May 2021] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
● Newsom, R. How Blue Light Affects Sleep. 2020. Sleep Foundation [Accessed 14 May 2021] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/blue-light#:~:text=The%20most%20effective%20way%20to,reducing%20exposure%20to%20blue%20light/