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Five Tips for Excellent Sleep

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Five Tips for Excellent Sleep

writtenByWritten by: Sara Menges
Sara Menges

Sara Menges

Sara enjoys research, art, and seeking a sustainably fun life, balancing physical and mental health. Read more on how she explores, learns, and balances all her interests at www.saramenges.com.

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March 31, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

Get 5 Tips for Better Sleep

Sometimes we have so much to do, sleep gets a backseat and caffeine takes its place. But are we more productive with less sleep? 

According to studies on workplace productivity, poor sleep leads to worse productivity, performance, and safety outcomes. Sleep also prevents burnout and helps boost memory and decision-making abilities, making it a great asset to an active life filled with to-dos. 

Get all the bang for your sleep tonight and wake up ready for a productive day by trying these tips for better sleep.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Better Sleep Tips: How to Sleep Better

Consider What You Consume

We are not intended to digest during sleep, so eating before bed can cause indigestion and disrupt our bodies from focusing on sleep. Avoiding big meals close to bedtime and considering what we consume can prevent indigestion. 

Our digestive systems can also benefit from limiting greasy food items, hard-to-digest foods like proteins, and meals that trigger acid reflux, such as spicy foods or too much citrus close to bedtime. Meals high in quality carbohydrates have been found to help people fall asleep faster when eaten at least four hours before bed.

While staying hydrated is recommended, drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can keep you up with trips to the bathroom. If you must drink, stick with water. 

Drinking alcohol reduces natural melatonin production and can cause restless sleep after it fully breaks down in your system. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a key role in our body’s circadian rhythm, sometimes referred to as our sleep and wake cycle. To trigger melatonin production, a spoonful of raw honey is much more effective as a nightcap!

Pay Attention to Your Sleep Environment

When you’re getting ready to fall asleep, the environment you choose to wind down in contributes to sleep quality. Too much light, such as the brightness from your cellphone or television screen, can prevent melatonin release in the body. 

Avoid any area that is brightly lit and activities that can overstimulate you such as listening to fast-paced music. Instead, create a positive sleep environment by dimming the lighting in rooms and choosing soothing music or background noise.

You can also sit and engage in breathing exercises. Deep breaths mimic our body’s natural relaxed state when you focus on exhaling and inhaling deeply a few times.

Exercise and Sleep: Exercise Daily, Any Time of Day

Being active during the day is great for deep sleep, even for chronic insomniacs—and exercise is closely tied to mental health benefits. It also doesn’t take much activity to improve sleep. If you are inactive, simply adding a 10-minute daily walk can bring in benefits. 

Contrary to popular belief, activity before bedtime does not disrupt sleep quality for everyone. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2013 confirmed this, with results showing that exercising at any time of the day was better than no activity. 

Some sensitive sleepers might still want to avoid stimulating exercises at least 2 hours before bed or opt for more relaxation-inducing options. For instance, yoga stretches leave you in a state of relaxation or aid with digestion. It’s important to try different methods and see what works best for you!

Be Mindful of Your Medications or Supplements

Some medications or supplements can disrupt sleep depending on their chemical makeup. Knowing which medications disrupt your sleep can help you determine what to avoid close to bedtime. 

It is important to always discuss medications and sleeping habits with your doctor before straying from recommended doses. Medication types to be aware of include:

  • Beta-blockers prescribed for high blood pressure, migraines, and certain kinds of glaucoma that can inhibit melatonin production
  • Medication with chemicals related to caffeine such as asthma pills
  • Diuretics that can increase frequency of bathroom visits

Don’t Stay in Bed

If you’ve been in bed trying to fall asleep for a while, don’t stay there. Getting out of bed after 20 minutes of not falling asleep can prevent frustration from developing, including associating your bed with negative emotions. 

Instead of stressing yourself by continuing to count sheep, get up and sit in another part of the house, making yourself aware of the environment. Try breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques before getting back into bed again once you feel tired.

What Causes Poor Sleep Quality?

Several factors contribute to poor sleep quality, including:

  • Poor sleep hygiene, which might involve irregular sleep schedules or consuming caffeine before bed
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic health conditions, such as chronic lung diseases, asthma, and chronic pain
  • Sleep disorders, such as chronic insomnia and narcolepsy

How Can I Improve My Quality of Sleep?

Managing stress and anxiety, cultivating sleep hygiene, and consulting your doctor about poor sleep quality can help you improve your quality of sleep.

Other helpful tips for better sleep include:

  • Stop watching your television and using your phone 30 minutes before bed
  • Turn your bedroom into a quiet, cool, dark space by blocking windows, using a white noise machine, and lowering your thermostat
  • Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time
  • Avoid taking naps during the day
  • Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake before bed

How Can I Sleep Better at Night Naturally?

In addition to watching your diet and exercising regularly, incorporating natural at-home remedies such as warm milk into your bedtime routine can help you sleep better at night.

“It’s not always necessary to get a prescription for a sleep aid,” according to Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital. “There are natural ways to make adjustments to your sleeping habits.”

Some natural home remedies and tips for better sleep include:

  • Drinking warm milk or chamomile tea before bed
  • Taking melatonin supplements
  • Using calming essential oils such as lavender
  • Practicing mindfulness meditation or progressive muscle relaxation
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Insomnia Treatment Online

If you are struggling with poor sleep quality, talk to your doctor. If left untreated, sleep problems can leave you exhausted and negatively affect your quality of life. Fortunately, there are several insomnia treatment options available for poor sleep quality, including behavior therapy and medication.

To discuss your treatment options, book an online video or phone appointment with one of the licensed medical doctors at PlushCare. Our doctors will review your symptoms and medical history to prescribe a treatment plan so you can feel rested.


Read More About Sleep Problems


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

John Hopkins Medicine. Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies to Help You Sleep. Accessed on March 28, 2021 at https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/natural-sleep-aids-home-remedies-to-help-you-sleep 

National Institutes of Health. Effect of acute physical exercise on patients with chronic primary insomnia. Accessed on March 28, 2021 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20572421

Sleep Foundation. How to Determine Poor Sleep Quality. Accessed on March 28, 2021 at https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/how-to-determine-poor-quality-sleep

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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