How To Sleep Better At Night
December 12, 2012
If you regularly have trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 75% of American adults experience at least one symptom of a sleeping problem each year. 
You may think you’re doomed to restless nights forever, but think again: there are actually a few simple changes you can make to get a good night’s sleep every night. Read on to find out how to sleep better at night.
1. Don’t Use Electronics Right Before Bed
If you unwind by surfing the Internet or watching TV before hitting the sack, your nightly habits may contribute to your sleeping problems. A recent study suggests that using computer or TV screens before bedtime has a “significant effect on sleep demand and sleep quality.”
In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends you stop use of all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This improves sleep because “the artificial light generated by a laptop, tablet, or cell phone screen can interfere with your body’s sleepiness cues.”
2. Be Smart with What You Drink
Drinking caffeine or alcohol can throw off your sleep cycle. Caffeine can affect sleeping patterns even if you consume it six hours before going to bed. Additionally, alcoholic beverages worsen sleep—even though they make you feel drowsy. The alcohol fragments the sleep stages, making it impossible to sleep soundly throughout the night.
3. Enforce a Strict Bedtime
One of the most effective ways to ensure consistent sleep is to go to bed at the same time each night. This trains your body to feel instinctively tired at the right time every night, reducing the amount of time you spend tossing and turning.
4. Don’t Multitask in Your Bedroom
Avoid doing daytime activities in your bedroom. If you eat, read, watch TV, and work in your room, your body will start associating your sleeping area these things. Instead, train your body to connect resting with your bedroom and save all other activities for your living room.
5. Set the Right Tone
The way your room looks and feels is crucial to a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says to do the following to create the perfect sleeping environment 
- Prevent distracting noises by creating “white noise” with a soft fan or air conditioner.
- Keep the room between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Install a light dimmer switch so you can keep your bedroom lights dim while you are getting ready for bed.
6. Exercise Regularly
Working out every day improves your sleeping habits by helping you fall asleep more quickly and deepening your sleep. However, make sure not to exercise too close to bedtime. This makes it difficult to fall asleep since working out stimulates your heart, muscles, and brain. If you want to get a workout in before bed, limit yourself to calming exercises like yoga or simple stretching.
7. Don’t Eat Before Bed
When you eat, you activate the digestive system. Your body’s digestive processes can make it harder to fall asleep if you eat right before going to bed. Additionally, eating right before bed can aggravate conditions like heartburn.
8. Invest in Quality Bedding
Your mattress plays a major role in sleep quality. According to Michael Decker, PhD, RN, “When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels.”
This causes nerve cells to send messages to the brain, telling you to roll over. The constant movement interrupts sleep. While rolling over during the night is normal, you can prevent excessive movement by using a mattress that reduces the body’s pressure points.
Look for a mattress that is neither too soft nor too hard. Extremely firm mattresses put too much pressure on your shoulders and head, while overly soft mattresses may sag under your body weight.
9. Try a Natural Sleep Aid
Adding a natural sleep aid to your routine can make a world of difference for your sleeping habits. The right natural sleep aid helps you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep for the entire night.
When choosing a natural sleep aid, look for these ingredients:
10. Don’t Try and Wait it Out
If you do find yourself having trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night, don’t lie in bed and try to force yourself to fall asleep. Instead, leave your bedroom, go to a quiet place, and lie down. When you feel ready to fall asleep, go back to your room and try again.
Say Goodnight to Your Sleeping Problems
You don’t have to live with your sleeping troubles any longer: if you implement these 10 easy tips, you will be sleeping soundly in no time!
-  “Interesting Facts and Statistics About Sleep and Sleep Problems/Disorders (Provided courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation).” Sleep Health Centers. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.
-  “How to Sleep Better.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.
-  “The Sleep Environment.” The National Sleep Foundation. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.
-  “Coping with Excessive Sleepiness: The Best Mattress for a Better Night’s Sleep” WebMD. Mar. 2, 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.