We all know we need better sleep. And we know by now that eliminating blue light exposure from your computer and mobile devices is one way to get better rest at night, but it certainly isn’t the only way. In fact, keeping technology out of your bedroom altogether is better insurance you’ll be well-rested since you’ll avoid the temptation to reach for your phone or be interrupted by notifications. But if you simply must keep your phone within reach, you can increase your chances of waking up refreshed by trying out these five other secrets to getting your best sleep tonight.
Mind Your Meals
A 2014 study published by the National Center For Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported that certain functional foods could promote sleep in human beings. Researchers found that foods high in calcium and potassium are “the most ideal functional food promoting sleep.” It turns out there’s wisdom behind drinking a warm glass of milk before bed, but you might consider adding a nighttime snack of healthy high-potassium foods like avocado, sweet potato, or coconut. Bon appe-sleep!
Cut Down on Caffeine
Sleep Medicine Reviews published a study in 2017 that found “caffeine typically prolonged sleep latency, reduced total sleep time and sleep efficiency, and worsened perceived sleep quality.” Most of the studies were done on men in Western countries, but if you’re waking up groggy or feel tired even after a full seven to nine hours of sleep, your daily cup of coffee or caffeinated tea could be the culprit. Instead, opt for herbal tea.
Put a Cap on Alcohol
A 2015 study in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine aimed to find the effects of alcohol on sleep quality. Their findings “showed significant correlations with subjective sleep quality, sleep duration, and sleep disturbances” even on subjects who were considered good sleepers. A significant amount of sleep disturbances after alcohol consumption came from snoring! Replace that cocktail with coconut water and you’ll likely get a better (and quieter) night’s rest.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published a 2004 study on the correlation between nasal congestion (a common symptom of allergic rhinitis) and sleep disturbance. Inflammation resulting from allergies that result in nasal congestion causes disruptive sleep. One solution is to take intranasal corticosteroids to “reduce congestion, improve sleep and sleep problems, and reduce daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and inflammation,” the study reports. One such nasal remedy called Montelukast (the generic form of Singulair) was found to improve system thereby improving sleep and productivity. Montelukast is a prescription only medicine, so if you’re prone to allergies, talk to your doctor about using it as a possible treatment.
A 2017 study in Translational Psychiatry aimed to look at the effects of artificial light at night on mood and sleep. According to the study, the adoption of electric light has caused “circadian disruption” in our bodies which then have difficulty distinguishing between night and day; the study found a correlation between areas of high light pollution and a higher instance of major depression. Researchers point out that light pollution can reach individuals through many pathways like exposure through night lights, watching TV before bed, and the amount of artificial light in the workplace. It may sound extreme, but having a “lights out” time when you rely on using candlelight for the rest of the evening can help reset your circadian clock.
If getting good sleep has been hard thus far, try these tips today—they just might lead to a fresher you tomorrow.