We all know that sleep is vital for our overall well-being. But when you’re up tossing, turning and counting sheep, both sleep quantity and sleep quality seem more of a dream than a reality. Getting those ZZZs is possible, however, when you properly prepare for bedtime. Here are six simple suggestions to help support a restful night’s sleep:
#1 Exercise during the day – Some studies suggest that being physically active during the day has been shown to help you fall asleep faster and may even help you stay asleep longer. The more active you are, the more your body may need to sleep at night. Just try to avoid strenuous exercise within an hour of your bedtime, as that will stimulate your body, not help it calm down for sleep. Instead, try some gentle yoga or stretches before bed to help practice mindfulness and relax your mind and body.
#2 Remove distractions from your bedroom – It might seem like common sense that the bedroom should be used primarily for sleep, yet an increasing number of adults are using their bedrooms as workspaces and entertainment rooms. Do you have a television in your room? Do you like to work on your laptop in bed? Although this may work for you, for those struggling with falling and staying asleep, it is best to train your body that sleep is imminent when you enter your bedroom and crawl into bed. It also helps if you enjoy the feel of your bed, so use your favorite comfy pillows, sheets and bed covers.
#3 Change the lighting – Is the light in your bedroom soft and welcoming or too bright? Do your curtains block out any bright lights from outside your window? These are important questions, because artificial light in the hours right before bedtime might be delaying your sleep. Same goes for the blue light emitted by digital devices, which can reduce the body’s natural production of melatonin and negatively affect sleep. To help keep your sleep-wake cycle on track, opt for soft lighting from bed lamps versus bright overhead lights, and experiment with the “night shift” feature on your smartphone—it’ll warm up the background from blue to soft yellow.
#4 Avoid Caffeine – If you find yourself tossing and turning at bedtime, think back on your day. Did it include a late afternoon coffee, caffeinated soda or tea or even chocolate? These all contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that can affect your ability to fall asleep. Instead, opt for non-caffeinated herbal tea, hot water and lemon, or fruit-infused water to enjoy in the evenings to help support your bedtime routine.
#5 Relax - Relaxing activities before bedtime can also be an important factor in your sleep routine. Reading a book or listening to tranquil music may help your mind steer clear of thoughts that might be stressful or pressing. Taking a warm bath can help your body relax and feel more prepared for rest. If you still find yourself wide awake at bedtime, try taking five minutes to focus on deep breathing. It’ll help soothe your mind and body.
#6 Supplement when needed - Darkness assists in the production of Melatonin – a hormone found in the body that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Yet due to aging, diet, stress or other lifestyle factors, your body may not produce sufficient Melatonin, and you may benefit from an occasional supplement. Nature Made® has a line of Melatonin supplements in a variety of strengths and forms to help you fall asleep faster and support restful sleep. Before considering a sleep aid, it is important to talk to your preferred health care provider about your sleep to be sure that occasional Melatonin supplementation is right for you.†
Sleep doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are some ways to encourage sleep, but different techniques work for different people. What are some of the ways you find that work best for you when it comes to getting to sleep? Is it settling down with a good read? Taking some deep breaths and reflecting on the day’s accomplishments? (positive thoughts only!) Keep these in mind and the tips above to help you get on the path to some restful sleep.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Dolezal BA, Neufeld EV, Boland DM, Martin JL, Cooper CB. Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review [published correction appears in Adv Prev Med. 2017;2017:5979510]. Adv Prev Med. 2017;2017:1364387. doi:10.1155/2017/1364387.
Blume C, Garbazza C, Spitschan M. Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. Somnologie (Berl). 2019;23(3):147-156. doi:10.1007/s11818-019-00215-x.
Amy has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a credentialed English teacher, though she left the classroom to write full time. She especially enjoys creating educational content about health, wellness, and nutrition. Her happy place is in the kitchen, and when not writing, you can find her trying out “kid-friendly recipes” and “healthy desserts for chocolate lovers” from her Pinterest board.
Senior Manager, Medical and Scientific Communications
Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and provides leadership to Pharmavite’s Medical and Scientific Education team. She has over 20 years of experience educating consumers, healthcare professionals, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements, and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Affairs department and worked as a clinical dietitian throughout Southern California. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange New Jersey.