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14 Healthy Sleep Habits: How to Sleep Properly

We all want to know how to get good sleep. Getting restful sleep is as important as eating a healthy diet and performing regular exercise.
A girl sleeping

According to research, poor sleep can cause immediate detrimental effects to your brain function, hormones, and exercise performance. If you want to maintain your health, you should try hard to get a good night’s sleep. 

Sleep and health 

Maintaining healthy sleep habits is important for a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping poorly can have negative effects on your health.

Not getting enough sleep can cause immediate detrimental effects to your exercise performance, brain function, and hormones. It can also cause weight gain and increase the risk of disease in children and adults.

In the past few decades, both the quantity and quality of our sleep have declined. Very few individuals regularly get a good night’s sleep.

How to get good sleep

One of the essential parts of optimizing your health and maintaining a healthy weight is to get restful sleep at night. When you follow certain healthy sleep habits, your body is healthier and you feel better. Here are some easy ways to improve sleep.  

Easy ways to improve sleep

A woman exposuring herself to bright light during the day to improve sleep
  • Increase your exposure to bright light during the day. Your body contains a natural clock — your circadian rhythm. It helps you stay awake and tells your body when to sleep. Exposure to bright light or natural sunlight during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. A healthy circadian rhythm enhances energy during the day and the duration and quality of sleep at night. 
  • Reduce exposure to blue light in the evening. Exposure to blue light at night reduces hormones such as melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep. Electronic devices such as computers and smartphones emit blue light and may interfere with your sleep. One of the easiest ways to improve sleep is to turn off computers, smartphones, TVs, etc. two hours before going to bed. Cover any screens that you can’t turn off.
A cup of coffee
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can prevent your body from relaxing at night. It can worsen your sleep quality significantly, especially if you consume a large quantity in the evening or late afternoon. To get good sleep, avoid consuming caffeine at least six hours before going to bed. 
  • Reduce long naps during the day. Long naps during the day can negatively affect your sleep at night. If you want to nap during the day, keep it short: 30 minutes or less. If you do nap, try to do it during the earlier hours of the day. Going for a walk, calling a friend, or sipping a cold glass of water can help you overcome the afternoon energy slump. 

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  • Try to get up and go to sleep at the same times every day. Irregular sleep patterns can alter your body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin levels, deteriorating your quality of sleep. Maintaining healthy sleep habits means sticking to consistent waking and sleeping times, which help improve your sleep quality. 
A woman swithching off an alarm
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages at night. Alcohol can increase or cause snoring, disrupted sleep patterns, or sleep apnea. It can also disturb the production of melatonin at night, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Optimize the environment of your bedroom. To get good sleep, optimize the environment of your bedroom by minimizing artificial lights and noise from devices such as alarm clocks. Ensure that your bedroom is dark, relaxing, clean, and quiet for a good night’s sleep. Your bed should be for sex and sleep only. Don’t sit in your bed and watch television, browse the web, or work. 
  • Set a comfortable temperature for your bedroom. Bedroom and body temperature can impact your quality of sleep profoundly. Set your bedroom to a comfortable temperature. Keeping your bedroom cool — between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (about 17–18 degrees Celsius) can help promote healthy sleep.
  • Don’t eat a large meal late in the evening. Eating a large meal especially before going to bed can lead to disruption of hormones and poor sleep. 
  • Relax your mind before going to bed. One of the best healthy sleep habits is to have a pre-sleep routine that relaxes you before going to bed. Relaxation techniques can improve the quality of your sleep and treat insomnia. Some relaxation strategies to try could be reading a book, listening to music, meditating, practicing positive visualization, deep breathing, taking a hot shower or bath, having a relaxing massage, or taking a foot bath. 
A woman taking a bath to get a good sleep
  • Talk to your doctor to rule out any sleep problems. If you are consistently experiencing poor sleep, talk to your doctor to rule out any sleep problems. There are many conditions that could be the cause of bad sleep, such as sleep apnea, circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, and sleep movement disorders. 
  • Get regular exercise during the day. Getting regular exercise during the day is one of the best ways to improve sleep. It can improve all aspects of your sleep and may even reduce insomnia. Make sure to exercise most days of the week. 
  • Get yourself a comfortable bed, pillow, and mattress. The quality of the bed, pillow, and mattress can also affect your sleep quality. One important sleep recommendation is to purchase a high-quality mattress every 9–10 years.
  • Don’t sleep wearing a bra at night. Sleeping in a bra at night can lead to disturbed and restless sleep.

Sleep recommendations from doctors

The National Sleep Foundation issued the following recommendations for the amount of sleep different age groups need:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours per day
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours per day
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours per day
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours per day
  • Children of school age (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours per day
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours per day
  • Younger adults (18 to 25 years): 7 to 9 hours per day
  • Adults (26 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours per day
  • Older adults (65 years or older): 7 to 8 hours per day

You should always try to get a good sleep at night, as it’s important to maintaining good health. Sleeping poorly can cause detrimental effects to your health and may increase your risk of disease.

There are many ways to improve sleep. Some healthy sleep habits include increasing your exposure to bright light during the day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol during the evening, relaxing your mind before going to bed, and getting regular exercise.

Talk with your doctor if you are consistently sleeping badly to rule out any problems. 

 

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/healthy-sleep-habits

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#section13

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