We have discussed the importance of a good night’s sleep here on the blog, and also how difficult it is to achieve it with all the life stressors we deal with daily. It’s important to make a concerted effort to sleep well as lack of sleep can affect our day-to-day in detrimental ways.
Best Tips for How to Sleep Well All Night and Wake Up Refreshed
Quit hitting snooze.
Our greatest sleep mistakes happen in the morning, Dr. Winter says. After a bad night, it’s tempting to give ourselves a pity pass to sleep in or take a sick day. On the other hand, a regimented response at the start of the day helps set your brain’s sleep-wake clock. The exception: If you wake up too early, don’t try to force a return to sleep—it’s smarter to go ahead and get up. That reduces the chance of developing a chronic case of insomnia, according to research conducted by Penn Medicine.
Eat breakfast. Yes, even if you aren’t super hungry.
Banking calories for dinner leads to overeating in the evening, then a night of fitful sleep as you try to digest that appetizer, dinner, dessert, and drink. In the morning, be sure some protein—such as eggs, yogurt, meat, or milk—is on your plate. “In general, protein tends to facilitate the production of dopamine, a wakefulness neurotransmitter,” Dr. Winter says.
Step outside early.
Exposure to morning daylight, preferably combined with exercise like a walk with the dog or to the bus stop, supports internal clock regulation, as the sun suppresses melatonin. Even on a cloudy day, a 10- to 30-minute outdoor walk provides more light than being indoors with all the lights on. If you can do a heart-pumping workout, even better: That’ll increase the serotonin that enhances mood and wakefulness and informs your internal clock, Dr. Winter says.
Don’t chug coffee.
Our bodies produce adenosine, which promotes sleepiness, says Reeba Mathew, M.D., a sleep expert with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth/UT Physicians in Houston. As a stimulant, caffeine blocks adenosine and inhibits your brain’s natural increase in sleepiness as you move toward nighttime. Herbal tea or water is better in the afternoon. Plus, if you drink water throughout the day, you’ll need less in the evening, helping you avoid 2 a.m. bathroom trips.
Do a short meditation.
Decreasing daytime anxiety and worry can help you doze more deeply at night. Find five to 10 minutes to use the “body scan” meditation technique, observing your body’s sensations, moving slowly from toes to scalp (or the reverse). Melt away stress either on your own or using a guided meditation in an app or on YouTube.
Create a ritual.
Any kind of stimulus is problematic—even House Hunters reruns. You’ll experience subtle increases in blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, and pupil dilation. Instead, take at least 20 minutes to dial it down. Try gentle stretching, meditating, or taking a bath. Think of it as a “bookmark” at day’s end, Payne says, telling the body and brain it’s OK to sleep.
Stop eating at least two hours before bed.
And keep dinner on the lighter side. Your body’s digestive and waste functions need rest and downtime and to learn when “the kitchen is closed,” Panda says, to prevent midnight snacking.
How to Optimize Your Bedroom
- Temperature: Set your thermostat between 60°F and 67°F.
- Sound: Your bedroom should be at least as quiet as a library.
- Bedding: Most individuals prefer a medium-firm mattress, and bedding should allow you to sleep comfortably without sweating.
- Darkness: The room should be so dark that you are unable to see your hand in front of your face. Can’t get to peak opacity? An eye mask should do the trick.
- Clock position: Face the clock away from you. Clock-watching makes us anxious and increases stress hormones, Dr. Mathew says.
Contact us today for more information and to get started!
At Physician’s Weight Control and Wellness, our weight loss programs are unique in that they are physician-guided and individually tailored to each patient. Because every patient is different, no two treatment plans are the same. The same philosophy applies to our nutrition consulting and coaching programs. These programs are designed to be the next step after meeting with our doctors to ensure your investment in your new lifestyle takes root.