10 Tips for Better Sleep: Your Pathway to Quality Rest

Photo by: Andisheh A 

Sleep is not just a luxury; it's a fundamental aspect of maintaining overall health and well-being. Yet, in our fast-paced world filled with distractions and stressors, achieving a good night's sleep can often feel like an elusive goal.

Fortunately, there are practical steps you can take to improve your sleep quality and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated most mornings.

Here are 10 tips to help you achieve better sleep.

If you have tried all of them already and still haven't been able to improve your sleep, maybe it is time to seek help from a professional. You can start by reaching out to your health care provider, and if you are ready to commit to truly changing your lifestyle in order to improve your sleep, get in touch with me, I'll be happy to chat with you and see if we could be a winning team!


But for now, let's review the 10 tips that could help you sleep better.

1. Allocate at least 8.5 hours to sleep each night

Prioritize sleep by ensuring you allocate an adequate amount of time for it. Aiming for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night to allow your body to complete its natural sleep cycles, is a great place to start.

Yet, if your goal is to sleep 8 hours, and you go to bed at 10 pm and your alarm goes off at 6 am, there is NO WAY you will get your 8 hours of sleep. You need to take into consideration the time it takes to fall asleep, and the times you wake up during the night, whether you get up or not. So, plan for a little extra each night! If you want to sleep 8 hours, set aside at least 8.5 hours and be ready in your bed, doing nothing else, for at least that long.

2. Drastically reduce or eliminate coffee, even in the morning

While coffee can provide a temporary energy boost, its stimulating effects can linger in your system for hours. Up to 18 hours, actually! Consider reducing your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening, but also in the morning, to prevent interference with your ability to fall asleep.

If you love the taste of coffee, no need to deprive yourself of that pleasure. Why not switch to decaf and see what happens? You can find good quality coffee that’s been decaffeinated without chemicals. Something worth considering if sleep is an issue for you, even if you feel like coffee “doesn’t do anything to you”… I have heard that times and times again, but I have yet to meet someone for whom it’s actually true. 

3. Avoid alcohol after 5 pm

Although alcohol may initially induce calm and serenity and help you fall asleep, it usually disrupts the quality of your sleep later in the night. Limit alcohol consumption, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime, to promote uninterrupted rest and better quality sleep.

Even half a glass of wine at 6 pm can negatively impact the quality of your sleep! Why don’t you experiment with 5 days in a row without alcohol and see what happens? I know you can do it!

4. Don’t eat chocolate in the evening

Chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, which can interfere with sleep. Opt for alternative evening snacks that are lighter and less likely to disrupt your sleep patterns, such as fruit for instance. The healthy sugar in fruit might actually even help you release serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin, also called the sleep hormone. It's a win-win all along, and it doesn't mean you won't be able to eat chocolate anymore... You can have some earlier in the day if you wish!

5. Expose yourself to more natural light, especially in the morning and evening

Natural light exposure helps regulate your body's internal clock, promoting wakefulness during the day and signaling the onset of sleep at night. Spend time outdoors or near windows to maximize your exposure to natural light. 

If you live in a safe neighborhood, consider taking a stroll after dinner. It will help you unwind after the day, facilitate digestion, and get you ready for bed. Just make sure to not go for a power walk at that time of day. You want to keep your body temperature down if possible, you are not trying to bring your heart rate up.

6. Reduce screen time, especially after dinner

The blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep. Limit screen time before bedtime to allow your body to prepare for rest.

For many people, this might be the hardest tip to implement from this list. Check out this article for strategies to help you unplug from technology.

7. Be physically active each day

Regular physical activity can promote deeper and more restorative sleep. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime, as they may energize rather than relax you. 

It is key that our body accumulates physical tiredness during the day if we want to fall asleep easily and sleep well through the night. You have most likely experienced that phenomenon in the past: you go for a long hike, or you spend the entire day playing at the beach, and when you get home, exhausted, you fall asleep almost immediately and wake up the next morning feeling perfectly rested and restored. That’s because your body has accumulated enough tiredness to induce a deep and regenerating sleep. You want to reproduce that scenario as often as you can.

Of course, it doesn't happen often that we can afford to spend the whole day running around outside. Maybe you can’t dedicate more than 30 minutes to physical activity each day, but that’s already great, especially if you go for a type of exercise that’s intense enough to get you really tired.

8. Try to be on the verge of being cold at night

That might come as a surprise. I am not saying that you should be freezing under the covers, but if you are perfectly comfortable when you get into your bed in the evening, chances are you will be too hot during the night and this will interfere with your sleep. 

Maintaining a slightly cooler room temperature can facilitate falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. Experiment with bedding and room temperature settings to find what feels most comfortable for you. Dressing in layers can also be a good idea. 

Make sure your extremities are not cold, though. Because if they are, your body will work hard to bring up the temperature and you might end up with a core temperature that’s too high. You want to feel a little chilly, but you might have to wear socks so that your feet don’t feel cold.

Personally, when I get to bed, I have to roll up into a ball in order to not feel cold.  After a few minutes, I am perfectly comfortable, and that temperature is what will allow me to sleep deeply through the night, unless I ate too much the evening before, which takes us to the next tip.

9. Eat a VERY light dinner

   Heavy meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it difficult to sleep soundly. Opt for light, easily digestible dinner options such as a vegetarian soup or salad to promote better sleep quality.

It’s not just BIG dinners that keep us from sleeping. It’s dinners that contain more calories than what we actually need. So, what might seem like a very reasonable meal could actually be way too much, especially if you are not very active during the day.

10. Talk to your healthcare provider about magnesium supplements

Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating neurotransmitters involved in sleep and relaxation. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if magnesium supplements could benefit your sleep quality and overall health.

If you have read my stuff before, you know that I am not a big fan of supplements. But sometimes, under supervision of a doctor, they can do wonders! Just make sure that the brand you choose has been tested and reviewed by an independent third party. Supplements are very poorly regulated in the US, and sometimes, you don’t get what you think you are getting, or you get way too much of it. For more information, you can check out the Consumer Lab website.

What's next in your journey toward good restorative sleep?

Quality sleep is essential for optimal physical and mental well-being. By incorporating these 10 tips into your nightly routine, you can create an environment conducive to better sleep and enjoy the numerous benefits that come with it.

Remember, establishing healthy sleeping habits takes time and commitment, but the rewards of waking up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated are well worth the effort. If you need support in this endeavor, feel free to reach out to me. You can request a complimentary Discovery Call to discuss the best strategies for reaching your goals. If you are committed to seeing results, I will be happy to help!


In the meantime, sleep tight, and keep in mind that sleep and rest are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle, but also key components of a sound training program. So, if you are trying to prepare for a race or if you have recently introduced strength training or cardio fitness into your daily life, make sure you also improve the quality of your sleep and increase the amount of rest you get each night. Otherwise, your workouts might not lead to the results you are expecting! 

Note: I have used the help of AI to improve the quality of my writing for this blog post. I hope you don't mind 🙂


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improve sleep, insomnia, poor sleep, sleep


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Disclaimer

None of my services or recommendations are intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information I provide should not take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices. I cannot guarantee the outcome of my services or suggestions. My comments are expressions of my personal opinion only. 

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