8 ways to improve sleep quality

Poor quality sleep affects day-to-day functioning, reduces one's productivity and efficiency and also increases the risk of several chronic diseases

A woman waking up fresh in the morning facing the sun

One bad night of sleep once in a while isn’t something to worry about. But waking up tired every morning is a sure-shot sign that your sleep quality is poor. You don’t have to be an insomniac to suffer from health problems related to sleep deprivation. Even if you get sleep every night, you may still be at risk of sleep-related issues. Indeed, poor quality sleep is among the most common but also most neglected of health problems.

Poor quality sleep affects day-to-day functioning and reduces one’s productivity and efficiency. It also impairs cognitive abilities thereby making it hazardous to drive or operate machinery etc. What’s more, the long-term impact of poor sleeping is associated with a wide range of health conditions such as an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, dementia and more.

Let us look at the some of ways you can enhance your sleep quality.

8 ways to improve sleep quality

1. Switch to an adjustable bed

A good bed is essential for proper sleep. While a regular bedframe could help to keep your mattress in place, switching to one of the best adjustable beds could surely help to make your sleeping experience a lot better. This way, you can let your bed tilt how you want it to—you no longer have to adjust your pillows to reach your desired height, because now your bed will do it for you.

2. Use the right mattress

Apart from bedframe, your mattress also plays an crucial role in your sleep quality. Depending on your sleeping position, you may choose either a soft, firm, or medium mattress. Moreover, there are also plenty of mattress types that help to fit your sleeping needs. You can choose between spring, memory foam, or hybrid. With the right mattress, you can allow your body to lay comfortably without worrying about it being too stiff or too sinking for your liking.

3. Practice a good sleeping schedule

Even with the best beds available, you won’t achieve a good night’s sleep if you constantly disrupt your body’s regular sleeping schedule. You should sleep and wake up at the same time every morning to align with your body’s circadian rhythm. Avoid disrupting your sleeping pattern even during weekends and holidays no matter how tempting it is to stay up late nights or sleep longer on such occasions.

4. Reduce blue light exposure at night

While technology is an integral part of our work and leisure, it has its downsides too. Today, we are all surrounded by screens that emit blue light: smartphones, laptops, tablets etc. Blue light is known to hamper the production of melatonin, the hormone that is directly responsible for making us fall asleep. Avoiding exposure to screens for at least an hour or two before hitting the sack is a good habit.

5. Avoid caffeine past the afternoon

Caffeine in your hot cuppa may help pump you up in the mornings but it can also keep you awake at night or affect how deeply you sleep. Coffee, tea or any other beverages that contain caffeine should be restricted to the first half of the day. If you wish to sleep soundly, it’s best to avoid tea/coffee after lunch.

Remember, the nearer to bedtime you consume caffeine the more disturbed your sleep is likely to be.

6. Exercise in the morning

Body movement is essential for maintaining good health and fitness. Aerobics, yoga, resistance—exercising in any form not only keeps your body strong and supple, it also maintains mental health. We all experience some amount of stress during the day. Exercise releases endorphins, which keeps you in a relaxed and happier state of mind. Exercise is also known to reduce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Being more relaxed and less stressed is important for deep, sound sleep. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it can make you alert and energized. Early mornings are the best for working out.

7. Create a relaxing environment

Not everyone can fall asleep when they just lie on their bed and close their eyes. With a poor sleeping environment, people might have trouble drifting into sleep as there are plenty of distractions in the bedroom. If you wish to sleep quicker and better, you should create a calming environment that is conducive to sleep.

Switch to blackout curtains to block any external light from entering the bedroom. You may also play some white noise to reduce any ambient sounds. Using soft, breathable bed sheets also helps. Keep the temperature of the room slightly cooler as that is known to aid better quality sleep.

8. Wind down before sleeping

Some people enjoy light music before sleep — it helps them unwind. You may rub a little lavender essential oil on the bed sheet or add a few drops to your diffuser to create a fragrant ambience. If you are the type, you can pick up a nice, light book to read — something that doesn’t get you excited. A warm bath before bedtime is a great way to unwind and prepare yourself for a good night. You may also practise conscious breathing to help you relax deeply.

Conclusion

Improving one’s sleep quality can be a real challenge, especially for those who have trouble sleeping well at night. But with deliberate effort and lifestyle changes such as skipping caffeine and minimising blue light exposure close to bedtime, changing the bedroom environment and using the right bed/mattress can go a long way in improving your sleep quality and your overall wellbeing.

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