6 science-backed ways to get a better night’s sleep

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images
If daily chores and work stresses keep you from getting a good night’s rest, try these science-backed hack to help you enter into a peaceful slumber

Tossing and turning all night is infuriating – especially when you’ve got a big day ahead of you. But if you’re struggling to get a good night’s kip, you may want to test drive some of these helpful tips, that may get you better prepped for a great night’s rest.

1. Understand your circadian rhythm 

By going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day (yes, even on weekends), your body will function better by aligning itself with the sunrise and sunset. A study showed that participants that had a consistent sleep schedule demonstrated better long-term sleep quality, whereas those with irregular sleep patterns reported poor sleep quality.

2. Reduce screen time

One of the best ways to immediately improve sleep quality is by avoiding screens for the last couple of hours before bed. Screens give off blue light, which ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking it’s still day time, and reduces the release of melatonin. However, if you can’t quite tear yourself from your smart device, you may want to invest in glasses that block blue light or apps such as f.lux that reduce blue light.

3. Kick caffeine 

We live in a coffee culture that of course can bring us numerous benefits throughout the day, for example, helping us feel more awake and alert. Yet although these effects serve us well through the day, they’re less than ideal at night. Studies have suggested that our bodies can continue to see the effects of caffeine for up to six hours after it was last consumed, so try to avoid caffeine from mid-afternoon onwards. 

4. Up your melatonin 

Melatonin, informally known as the sleep hormone, tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed. So if you’re struggling, try to incorporate supplements into your day. Although some counties require prescriptions for melatonin supplements, others will allow you to purchase it over the counter. If you’re not keen on supplementation, try introducing melatonin-rich foods into your diet, such as milk, fatty fish or tart cherries.

5. Avoid alcohol 

Having a couple of drinks each night has been shown to have a negative effect on sleep quality. For example, studies have suggested that consuming alcohol in the evening can inhibit melatonin production, while also disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm.

6. Carefully arrange your room

There are a number of elements in your bedroom that can impact the way in which you sleep. For example, one study found that temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement can have a fundamental impact. A second study focused on women found that when noise and light diminished, 50% of participants reported a better night’s rest.

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