You know that feeling when you’re exhausted but your body won’t let you fall asleep? We experience it all the time, but getting quality sleep is something we should all prioritize. Sleep keeps us healthy and allows time for our brains and bodies to recover from the day’s activity and stress. If you want to get more restful sleep at night, try these tips:
Eat to Sleep, All Day Long
Food plays an important role in how well you sleep. The foods you eat during the day can either make it more difficult to fall asleep at night or they can help your body get ready for rest. Try including:
• Lean proteins: Protein-rich foods such as meat or eggs help boost serotonin levels in the brain which makes us feel happier and calmer. They also contain tryptophan – an essential amino acid that helps produce melatonin (the chemical responsible for helping us fall asleep). As such, having a snack that contains lean protein before bedtime may help improve sleep quality because of its ability to increase serotonin production while also providing tryptophan needed by the body for melatonin synthesis.
• Magnesium-rich foods: Magnesium supports a healthy metabolism, nervous system, and muscle function, all of which support healthy sleep. Whole grains, almonds, walnuts, leafy greens and salmon are all high in magnesium. Include more of these items throughout your day for better sleep at night.
Leave Technology Out of the Bedroom
It is easy to slip into a pattern of watching TV or checking your phone before bedtime. But the blue light from these devices can suppress melatonin production and disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to fall asleep. Give yourself 30 minutes before bed to be blue light free and if you must use technology in the bedroom, consider purchasing glasses that filter out blue light.
Alcohol is a depressant with a drowsy effect. While it may help you fall asleep, alcohol decreases melatonin production and disrupts the normal sleep cycle. This, coupled with dehydration will make a good night’s sleep hard to achieve, along with a slow and sluggish day after.
Create the Perfect Environment
Creating an environment for good sleep can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up feeling refreshed. Here are some ways to create a restful space:
• Cooler temperatures: Your body temperature naturally drops at night, so make sure your room isn’t too hot, ideally about 65-70 degrees.
• Dark environment: Try using blackout curtains or an eye mask if necessary; even small amounts of light can disrupt your sleep cycle by telling your brain it’s time to wake up rather than relax into a deep slumber.
• Ambient sounds: Use white noise machines to help mask sounds that might otherwise distract you from sleeping deeply–like traffic outside in urban areas or dogs barking next door.
Have questions about how to solve your personal sleep problems? Learn more about sleep medicine at CaroMont Health.