How to Improve Your Sleep Quality

How to improve your sleep quality

Sleep plays an integral role in our overall health and well-being. It impacts our moods, brain and heart health, immunity levels, creativity levels energy levels and weight. Sleep ensures we get enough of it!

Unfortunately, many people struggle with insomnia. This can be discouraging as adequate sleep is essential for optimal functioning.

1. Change your sleeping environment

A conducive sleeping environment is essential for getting enough shut-eye at night. Studies have even found that it can have an impact on your overall health and wellness.

Though many people overlook it, your sleep environment plays a vital role in improving the quality of sleep you get. A dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable environment will help you drift off faster and stay asleep for longer periods of time.

When designing a sleep space, take into account these elements:


Are you having difficulty sleeping? Try changing your bedroom temperature. The ideal room temperature ranges between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.


A sleep environment that’s either too damp or dry can disrupt your ability to drift off. A room with high humidity levels may make you feel clammy and uncomfortably damp while you try to sleep.


Noises such as traffic, neighbors or other noises can disrupt your sleep. A simple solution is to invest in ear plugs or an eye mask that blocks out distracting sound sources.


The amount of light in your sleeping area plays a significant role in determining the quality of sleep you get. A room that’s too dark may make it hard to fall asleep, while one with too much illumination could wake you up during the night.

To create the optimal sleep environment, switch off all electronics two hours before bedtime and avoid exposure to blue lights from TV, computer, and smartphone screens.

A conducive sleep environment should be quiet and cool, but it can also include white noise machines or fan noises. These low-cost solutions can help you achieve a peaceful night’s rest and improve your overall quality of sleep.

2. Set a sleep schedule

To improve your sleep quality, create a regular schedule that includes an established bedtime and wake-up time. Doing this helps you prioritize other aspects of life while preventing poor sleeping patterns.

Michael Breus, a psychologist and author of The Sleep Revolution, recommends taking small steps in 15-minute increments every few days when making major changes to your schedule. This is especially important if the new schedule is drastically different from your current one as your body will need time to adjust before fully adopting it.

Start by creating a sleep journal where you keep track of your daily schedule and record how much sleep you get each night. Doing this will provide insight into when you experience optimal rest and when difficulty falling asleep.

You can also use this to identify any patterns that might be disrupting your sleep, such as abstaining from caffeine late in the day, taking a nightly bath or exercising too close to bedtime. These changes can have an enormous effect on how quickly you fall asleep when it’s time for bed.

Another essential step is to eliminate any external factors that might be interfering with your sleep patterns. These could include a stressful job, unhealthy food choices or exercise regimen, as well as any other stressors that are interfering with getting adequate rest each night.

If you suffer from a sleep disorder such as insomnia, consulting your doctor about resetting your sleep schedule could be beneficial. Many sleep disorders affect the timing of your circadian rhythm which may make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

3. Exercise

Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for both your health and sleep quality. Not only does it lift your spirits, it makes you feel more alert, but it also helps you relax and drift off faster to sleep.

Sleep can even reduce your risk for sleep disorders like insomnia. Furthermore, it increases the amount of time spent in deep, restorative stages of sleep (stages 3 and 4), when your body repairs itself most effectively.

Timing your workout can influence sleep quality. To ensure optimal rest, avoid high-intensity exercises before bedtime since they cause your heart rate and core body temperature to increase, potentially delaying sleep onset.

If you must exercise before bed, Michelle Drerup, PsyD – a sleep medicine psychologist at Future Healthcare in Chicago – suggests moderate-intensity activities that force your body to expend energy and fatigue it. This will cut down on the time needed for getting to bed and waking up in the morning.

She suggests working with a personal trainer who can help you create an achievable schedule that works for your lifestyle. For instance, she suggests three 10-minute moderate intensity walks throughout the day and one 30-minute resistance or strength-training session five days per week.

Another option is to work out at a different time than usual, such as in the morning. Studies have shown that those who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to stick with their routine than those who start later in the day (e.g., afternoon).

Exercising at a different time of the day than usual can have several advantages, including helping you wake up feeling more refreshed. It may also increase your energy levels and give you motivation to work out again the following day.

4. Avoid caffeine

If you are having difficulty sleeping, it is wise to limit caffeine consumption as much as possible. Caffeine has a highly stimulating effect that can disrupt sleep and cause many unpleasant side effects like irritability, headaches, anxiety and difficulty concentrating.

Caffeine consumption can have detrimental effects on your sex hormones, liver and kidney function, as well as cause high blood pressure and increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.

One study suggests that drinking large amounts of caffeine late in the day may negatively impact REM sleep, which is essential for feeling rested. This occurs because adenosine receptors become activated during REM sleep and block serotonin release.

Research has demonstrated that you can improve your sleep quality by abstaining from caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime. Unfortunately, this may prove challenging to accomplish.

If you find yourself frequently drinking coffee in the afternoon, try switching to decaf. Doing this will help avoid overconsumption of caffeine later on and leading to poorer quality sleep at night.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is recommended that adults limit their caffeine consumption to no more than 400mg daily for healthy adults and 200mg for pregnant women.

Caffeine not only affects your sleep, but it can also have an adverse effect on your mood and cause nausea, headaches and anxiety. Furthermore, caffeine interferes with nutrient absorption from food which could lead to issues in digestion.

If you do have a caffeine problem, it is essential to address the situation before completely eliminating caffeine from your diet. However, this can be challenging as it’s easy to overindulge and become addicted.

5. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol has a detrimental impact on sleep quality, so it is best to abstain from drinking altogether. Even one glass of wine can disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Drinking disrupts your brain waves, causing them to accelerate and slow down in synchrony with normal sleep cycles. This disrupts the way your body cycles through the four distinct stages of sleep – from light and shallow stage 1 through deep and restorative REM sleep – as it disrupts how quickly these brainwaves travel between each stage.

Additionally, smoking significantly increases your risk for obstructive sleep apnea–a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. These interruptions in oxygen delivery may result in snoring, gasping for breath, or waking up frequently throughout the night.

Binge-drinking, or consuming an excessive amount of alcohol quickly, can have an adverse effect on sleep quality. Studies show that men and women who binge-drink regularly report more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep than those who don’t drink.

Experts advise against drinking any amount of alcohol before bedtime and suggest creating a buffer zone of at least three hours between your last drink and when you plan to go to sleep.

No matter your age, abstaining from alcohol will improve sleep quality and leave you feeling more refreshed. To achieve this, limit your daily drinking to no more than two drinks for men and one for women each day.

If you’re struggling to sleep due to alcohol abuse, try taking a break for several weeks and assessing its effects on your quality of sleep. Doing this can help you better comprehend your relationship with alcohol and make cutting back or eliminating easier.

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