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How Do I Sleep at Night, Part II?

By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

If you read my last blog post, How Do I Sleep at Night, Part I?, you learned about seven ways to improve upon better sleep and sleep quality at night. Here is the next part to this two-part blog series that share more helpful information about improved sleep patterns and habits.  

  1. Cut back on alcohol 

Alcohol increases the “symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.” Additionally, it alters the body’s natural production of melatonin. Consuming alcohol at night decreases the natural flow of human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a big part in your circadian rhythm and many other bodily functions.  

  1. Optimize your bedroom environment 

Your bedroom should be your sanctuary and the setup of it can play a large role in getting a good night’s sleep. Factors you might want to pay attention to are noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement. When external noise and light are diminished, sleep quality has reportedly improved by about 50%.  

  1. Set your bedroom temperature 

It can be particularly difficult to get a good night’s sleep when it is too warm in your room. Although it can be dependent upon your personal preferences, typically 70 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable temperature for sleeping. 

  1. Don’t eat late in the evening 

Eating late in the evening has the ability to negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural releases of important sleep components in the body such as HGH and natural melatonin. Typically, eating 4 hours before bed will have you best suited for a good night’s sleep.  

  1. Relax and clear your mind in the evening 

A pre-bedtime and sleep routine in the evening can help you to relax and sleep better. Strategies that you can rely on are as follows: 

  • Meditation 
  • Deep breathing
  • Hot baths
  • Reading
  • Visualization techniques
  1. Take a relaxing bath or shower 

Taking a warm bath, shower, or foot bath before going to bed can aid you in relaxing and improving your sleep quality. Given that it’s more comfortable to be clean, it makes sense that being clean results in enhanced sleep quality.  

  1. Rule out sleep disorders 

Have you ever consulted a doctor in regards to your sleep difficulties? Although it may be a scary thought, an underlying health condition could be the main cause of your sleep problems. Be mindful of sleep difficulties such as apnea or other common medically diagnosed issues. If you can’t remember the last time you slept well or had a good night’s sleep, it might be time to consult with your healthcare provider. 

  1. Get a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow 

Reportedly, people have shared that they tend to sleep better in hotels. New bedding can enhance sleep, and your bed and sleep materials should be an investment, given that you spend around 8 out of 24 hours of a day there. It’s recommended that you upgrade and refresh your bedding every 5-8 years. Time to treat yourself!  

  1. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed

Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons, but it’s “one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health.” It has reportedly nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided people with 41 more minutes of sleep at night. Due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, performing too late in the day can lead to sleep struggles. When we exercise, our bodies become stimulated, which “increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.”

  1. Cut back on liquid consumption before bed

Although some people are more sensitive than others, drinking liquids before going to sleep can serve as a barrier. It’s important to find a healthy balance, as proper hydration is vital for your health. Make sure you avoid liquids at least 1-2 hours before bed and use the bathroom immediately before going to bed as this will decrease your chances of waking during the night.  

Sleep plays a key role in your health and has a ripple effect on your mood, energy levels, emotional well-being, work performance, functionality, and weight. Hopefully, these tips provided you with some new information and will encourage you to better prioritize sleep. Incorporating some of the tips above can help you in making sleep a top priority.  


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