How to Improve Sleep Quality

Sadia Kabir

Every morning, you close your alarm, gets up, and start a new day, expecting it to be more productive and energetic than before. And it depends on your sleep quality.

“Beginning of a great day begins a night before.”― Sukant Ratnakar

A great quality of sleep charges your mind like a charger of an electrical device. And, the fresh mind works as the #1 source for creativity and energy-boosting.

Many people think that during sleeping, our brain shuts off, while it’s an active process.

While sleeping, things we saw, learned and heard get processed by our brain. Additionally, the body strengthens our immune system, regulates metabolism, and repairs damaged cells.

Without a night of sound sleep, your mind is like a room of trash. You can’t make a place for any of your plans before you clean the trash.

However, many people, nowadays are adopting some habits before going to bed, which are ruining their sleeping quality. Thus harming their productivity, health, and energy, in a long run.

Quite often, quitting these habits can improve your sleep quality massively and help you wake up with a more energetic, refreshed, and productive mind.

1. Avoid Thoughts before Bedtime

So many people are ruining their sleep by thinking about their activities throughout the day after going to bed.

The reality, however, is that you’ll never get up full of energy if you sleep with a bunch of thoughts.

You perhaps be thinking about your business or work-related things, the embarrassing moment of the day, the argument with your partner, what to do tomorrow, or something else.

These thoughts, most of the time, attack our minds before going to bed because our brain is free at that time.

As an online writer, I know how difficult it is to exclude thoughts before bed as I mostly work at night, and my bedroom is my office.

Yet, I try to disconnect myself from each of my work-related problems and go to bed without any thoughts at least one hour before.

As without disconnecting yourself from the world, you can’t get sound sleep by keeping your brain busy.

“Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential for wisdom.” — Arianna Huffington

How to do it:

At first, make your mind stronger and train yourself to prohibit every thought before bed. Say that: I’ll think about it later.

If negative thoughts come to your mind, then replace them with positive ones.

Additionally, you can make a bedtime routine and include a session of getting out of all your thoughts from the mind — the best time to do this is in the evening.

For this, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and start writing. You can write —

  • What’s the thing that embarrassed you much.
  • Why do you get embarrassed?
  • What’s the thing that brought a smile to your face?
  • What to do the next day?

2. Avoid Screens in the Bed

The key problem with sleeping with screens is that they make us extra active and fade our sleepiness away.

Whenever we use our devices, we feel a dopamine rush. Our brain releases a chemical named Dopamine when we do something we love. Gradually, we become tempted to use our devices more and land on a loop from where it’s hard to escape.

Even though you think about scrolling your social media feeds only for 5 minutes or replying to only one massage, you can barely realize when a ‘0’ gets added to the right side of the ‘5’.

After completing my work at night, I always refresh my mind by entertaining myself. I mostly do these by watching youtube videos. At that time, I also find it difficult to leave watching.

Still, I stop them by setting a timer and making my mind strong that I’ll stop watching when the timer will ring. And, honestly, that feeling is very relaxing.

More importantly, electronic devices emit artificial blue light, which is hazardous for our sleep as it interrupts the production of melatonin — a hormone that the brain produces to make us fall asleep.

When engaging with blue light, our brain can’t make difference between day and night. And, makes it difficult to release melatonin as it is produced only when we are in a dark place.

Devices keep your mind active while you need a calm and relaxed mind for a sound sleep.

How to do it:

Research states that avoiding screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime is important for sound sleep. But it’s recommended to leave screens within one or two hours of bedtime.

If you can’t fall asleep then, read a book in dim light, do some stretching exercises, use pink noise to calm your mind.

But if it’s urgent to use devices before bedtime, then install a blue light blocker into your devices. These apps transform blue lights into red lights, which is less harmful. As an alternative, you can use blue-light-blocking glasses.

3. Avoid Excessive Exercise

Before bedtime, excessive exercise isn’t recommended because while exercising, your body release endorphins that keep you awake, increase your body temperature, and make it difficult to feel sleepy.

Instead, you can do moderate-intensity exercise in the evening. It not only improves your sleep quality but also increases your flexibility, calms your mind, and decreases your tension.

But the opposite thing happens when you exercise vigorously. It makes you restless, increases your body temperature too much to fall asleep.

How to do it:

If you get stuck by a busy schedule and can’t provide time to exercise, at the same time you don’t want to pause your daily exercise, then adopt light exercises.

Light exercises (stretching, walking, swimming leisurely, light weight lifting, massaging the body with a foam roller) increase blood flow and flexibility, decrease muscle pain, and relaxes your mind.

But, complete your workout session at least 1 hour before going to bed as it gives your body more time to calm down.

4. Avoid Heavy Meals at Late Night

Eating late can lead to sleeping late, as the body keeps working to digest and metabolize food, while the body needs to rest before going to bed for quality sleep.

Moreover, when you eat late, your body can’t digest properly and causes acid secretion, which leads to gastric issues. And as a result increases your blood pressure, blood sugar, and heartburn.

However, heavy meals destroy sleep by disturbing the sleep cycle, which you need the most to feel refreshed the next day.

How to do it:

Try to have dinner at least 2 hours ago before bed. But in case of heartburn, have dinner 3–4 hours ago.

However, if you feel hungry at late night, make sure that you consume high protein and fiber-rich foods — a small handful of almonds, greek yogurt, cheese, fruits, etc.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine before Bedtime

Drinking alcohol too close to a bed causes bad sleep by interrupting the sleep cycle (especially the REM stage).

Quite often, people think that alcohol helps them to fall asleep faster, which is partially true.

Consuming alcohol might make you feel drowsy and sleep earlier. But you can’t get a deep sleep and prevent you from reaching the REM stage (the dreaming stage) — which is essential for memory boosting, concentration, and refreshed mind. Because, after the completion of alcohol metabolizing, the effect wears off and makes you wake up.

Besides, drinking caffeinated drinks before bed keeps you awake until the effect of caffeine wears off.

In addition, the consumption of caffeine increases anxiety in some cases. Thus, it prevents you from better sleep and makes you tired, energyless for the next day.

How to do it:

Make sure to avoid alcohol at least 3 hours ago before bed. But, it’s best not to drink alcohol as besides sleep it’s bad for health.

Additionally, you have to ensure to stop consuming caffeine from the evening, but it’s a must to avoid caffeine at least 6 hours ago before sleeping. So that, your body can completely get rid of caffeine before sleeping.

Instead of alcohol or caffeinated drinks, you can drink herbal teas — chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, etc. — before bedtime as it can enhance your sleep quality. Also, research says that chamomile tea reduces inflammation and treats insomnia as it contains an antioxidant called apigenin.

Final Thoughts

There’s no aspect of your emotional, mental, or physical performance, which is not influenced by the quality of sleep.

“You will perform better, make better decisions, and have a better body when you get the sleep you require.”
— Shawn Stevenson

Sleep determines how refreshed and productive our minds will be on the next day. And our bedtime habits determine our sleep quality.

Too often, parting ways from some of your bedtime habits might help you become more productive and mindful in the following days. And quitting these habits is not that complex. You can try to avoid them or change them with good ones.

What to avoid:

  • Avoid thinking about daily or non-daily activities or negative things, replace them with positive ones.
  • Avoid screens in the bed to reduce blue light.
  • Avoid excessive exercise before bed, choose some light exercises.
  • Avoid heavy or fatty meals at least 2 hours ago before going to bed, consume light snacks instead.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed or in the evening, drink herbal teas instead.

Making a bedtime schedule will help you to get rid of these habits. But, stay patient, take your time to throw these habits away, as moderation is the key to changing anything in life.

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Student, Learner & Dreamer. Love to explore. I write about personal growth, food, writing, and business.

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