What are the Best Ways to get Better Sleep?

Trying to get better sleep can take different paths depending on the underlying reasons that are causing the sleep disturbance. Different sleep tips may work for you at different times, depending on what’s interfering with your rest. If these suggestions for getting better sleep do not work for you, it may be a good idea to consult your physician so that further observation and/or testing like a sleep study, for example, may help determine underlying causes, which may themselves need treatment. Getting better sleep may mean changing eating habits, changing your sleep habits, or—if you have a medical condition, such as sleep apnea or a psychological condition such as depression—seeking support from a health care professional.


One thing that can interrupt sleep is eating foods that can disturb sleep, but fortunately, one thing that can help bring about better sleep is consuming foods that help to induce good sleep. So, while you should avoid having too much fat or caffeine during the day as well as taking any medications that include caffeine close to bedtime, you might reach for tryptophan-rich foods like bananas, honey, milk, oats, and poultry to make a bedtime snack that can help you sleep. You should also avoid both alcohol and nicotine in the evening and heavy or spicy food within four hours of your bedtime. Since carbohydrates help to raise the tryptophan blood level, you might add some crackers, cereal, or bread to your snack, but don’t add protein-rich foods, which are more difficult to digest.

Other tactics you can use to help yourself have better sleep include choices you make earlier in the day. For example, if you can arrange your schedule to do exercise before it’s too late in the day, you can ensure that exercise won’t interfere with your sleep. Aim to finish prior to five or six hours before your bedtime. Since sunlight is important to your body’s rhythms, try to spend half an hour outside in natural light each day. Avoid taking naps after three p.m., and if you do nap earlier, keep your naps short.

As far as bedtime routines that can help promote better sleep, having a schedule for going to sleep at night and arising in the morning is helpful, even when vacations and weekends roll around. Relaxing before bed is also helpful, and a hot bath is recommended. Keeping distractions out of the bedroom is also recommended: this includes televisions, computers, bright lights, and anything else that will interfere with sleep. Finally, if you find you can’t sleep, get up and do something rather than lying awake, and go back to bed when you feel sleepy.



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