How To Improve Sleep Quality in 2024
Sleep is directly connected to your overall health and wellness but is often difficult to prioritize. Managing a busy daily schedule makes time a commodity, and there never seems to be enough. As we begin a new year, however, committing to learning and implementing ways to improve sleep quality will have a profound positive impact on your daily life.
Today, we’re giving you tips and techniques to sleep better this year. Keep reading and learn how to improve sleep quality with daytime activities, before bed, and as you lie down to sleep at night. Supporting good sleep hygiene all day long will quickly become a healthy habit you’ll wonder how you lived without.
Causes of Poor Sleep Quality
Do you wake up feeling groggy or like you never slept a wink? You’re not alone. According to the American Sleep Apnea Institute, an estimated 1 in 3 Americans (almost 84 million people) report getting less than the recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep per night. Of those, 50 to 70 million people experience common sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia.
Part of learning how to improve sleep quality is identifying the causes of poor sleep. Once you’ve recognized areas for improvement, you can make the necessary changes for how to get more restorative sleep and awaken feeling ready to take on each day.
Some common causes of poor sleep include:
- Screen time and blue light exposure: Between TV, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices, we all average more screen time than ever before. The blue light emitted by screens interferes with melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Excessive screen time before bed can result in trouble falling asleep.
- Stress and anxiety: We all experience stress. Whether that is acute vs chronic stress has a major impact on sleep quality over time. Left unchecked, stress and anxiety lead to disrupted sleep cycles and poor sleep quality.
- Irregular sleep schedules: We are creatures of habit, and our bodies crave structured timelines for a sleep/wake cycle. Having an irregular sleep schedule can throw off your internal clock. Going to bed and waking up at different times disrupts your natural circadian rhythm, making it challenging for the body to anticipate and prepare for sleep.
- Caffeine and other stimulants: Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can have a negative impact on sleep. Consuming these substances close to bedtime may interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep. Switch to non-caffeinated beverages and night and quit smoking to improve sleep quality.
- Poor sleep environment: Our surroundings affect sleep quality as much as our actions. An uncomfortable mattress, pillows lacking support, or a room that is too hot or too cold can all contribute to poor sleep. Creating a conducive sleep environment is essential for how to improve sleep quality.
Daytime Activities to Improve Sleep Quality
Learning how to improve sleep quality isn’t limited to the evening. In fact, it begins with daytime activities that support better sleep and prepare your body properly. From innovative seating designs like zero gravity chairs to increasing sunlight exposure, there are many ways to improve sleep at night with daytime activities.
- Zero gravity chairs
- Regular exercise
- Nutrition and hydration
- Mindfulness practices
- Sunlight exposure
1. Zero Gravity Chairs
One of the most effective and comfortable methods for how to improve sleep quality is choosing a zero gravity chair. These chairs recliner back into the zero gravity position and are designed to alleviate excess pressure from the lower back while distributing weight evenly along the body. It increases blood circulation, provides back pain relief, and gives you a zero gravity sleep position to improve sleep quality by deepening relaxation.
Zero gravity vibration massage chair models or air pressure massage zero gravity chairs enhance your experience even further, helping alleviate physical discomfort and reduce stress. Heated zero gravity chairs add another element of relaxation, making zero gravity chairs the perfect daytime solution for how to improve sleep quality at night.
2. Regular Exercise
Engaging in regular physical activity, including low impact exercises, may help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Exercise promotes the regulation of sleep patterns and contributes to restorative sleep. Aim for activities that suit your fitness level, and be aware of not exercising too intensely close to bedtime.
3. Nutrition and Hydration
What you consume during the day can affect how you sleep at night. Be aware of your diet and avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. In addition to a well-balanced nutritional diet, make sure you’re staying hydrated each day. Staying hydrated can come from drinking water, tea, or other beverages. Be sure to avoid caffeinated beverages close to bedtime.
4. Mindfulness Practices
Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your daily routine to improve sleep quality. Activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and gentle stretching help alleviate stress and anxiety. You can also combine different daytime activities, such as meditating in a zero gravity chair. Zero gravity meditation deepens your experience and helps your mind process your day, allowing you to get better sleep at night.
5. Sunlight Exposure
The natural circadian rhythm of your body means you need sunlight to stay healthy. If you’re feeling lethargic during the day or having difficulty sleeping at night, you may be experiencing a vitamin D deficiency.
Spend time outdoors during daylight hours to regulate your internal clock. Natural light exposure helps synchronize your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night. During winter months, you might consider alternative methods for how to combat seasonal depression like using a light box as an alternative to direct sunlight exposure.
Ways to Improve Sleep Before Bed
As your day begins to wind down, the lead-up to going to bed can influence how well you sleep. Practicing pre-bedtime activities that aid with how to improve sleep quality can signal to your body that it's time to transition into a state of relaxation.
Whether it’s a relaxing night time routine or minimizing screen time, these practices pave the way for a tranquil night ahead:
- Create an evening routine: Establishing pre-sleep routine acts as a gentle transition from the hectic part of the day to a more relaxing period. Activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretching create a calming feeling to prepare your mind and body for rest.
- Limit screen time: The blue light exposure from electronic screens can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep. Limit screen time at least an hour before bedtime to minimize their effects as you’re trying to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine: In the hours leading up to bedtime, steer clear of stimulants such as caffeine. It can interfere with your ability to relax and may disrupt your sleep.
- Establish a sleep schedule: Start going to bed at the same time each night so that your body gets into a natural rhythm. Humans are creatures of habit, making this an easy way to have your mind and body ready for sleep each evening.
How to Improve Sleep Quality at Bedtime
As you lie down at night, there are even more things you can do that support how to improve sleep quality and awaken feeling rested. It’s about creating an environment conducive to falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Aromatherapy for sleep: Consider using essential oils such as lavender or chamomile for their calming properties. Whether through a diffuser or a few drops on your pillow, aromatherapy can create a relaxing environment conducive to sleep.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: Ease tension and promote relaxation by practicing progressive muscle relaxation. Start from your toes and work your way up, tensing and then releasing each muscle group.
- Breathing exercises: Incorporate intentional breathing exercises to calm your nervous system. Techniques like diaphragmatic breathing or the 4-7-8 method can signal to your body that it's time to relax.
- Adjust noise in your bedroom: Pay attention to the noise in your bedroom. While some find white noise machines or gentle nature sounds soothing, others prefer complete silence. Experiment with different levels of background noise to find what works best for you.
Learning how to improve sleep quality is as easy as integrating new, healthy habits into your daily routine. These pre-bedtime activities, bedtime routines, and daytime habits create a conducive environment for restorative sleep. Prioritize your well-being by making sleep a priority this year to maximize your physical and mental health.
Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your health care professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.