Millions of people around the world spend a fortune each year on sleeping pills, bed accessories and gadgets with the hope of getting a good amount of sleep every night.
After all, with insufficient sleep, your body and brain won’t function optimally. If you continue to sleep badly or be sleep-deprived, your health will begin to deteriorate as well.
If you don’t always get the right amount of good quality sleep, it’s high time you start turning things around by following these free, simple and effective ways to get better shuteye every night.
1. Avoid drinking coffee after two in the afternoon
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages contain caffeine — a natural stimulant. When you drink these beverages, you will feel more alert temporarily since caffeine blocks the sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. It increases adrenaline production as well.
If you think caffeine has a profound effect on your body, you would do well to check if drinking coffee at 2 p.m. or at an earlier time will impact your sleep. Avoid drinking even a cup in the morning if this already affects your sleep at night.
In case you can’t give up drinking coffee, it would be best to switch to organic decaffeinated coffee.
2. Change your diet
Aside from cutting out coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the afternoon, another effective and simple way to improve your sleep pattern is to change the way you eat.
Since dinner is the last meal before you go to sleep, start making changes during this mealtime. Eat a light meal devoid of spicy or rich, tasty foods since they can keep you awake with heartburn or indigestion. Make sure you finish your meal a few hours before bedtime as well.
Eating low-mercury fish and seafood such as salmon, tuna and shrimp for dinner will help you sleep better, too. This is because these foods are rich in omega-3 which, in turn, helps promote better quality sleep.
Experts also recommend eating a tablespoon of raw honey before bedtime on an empty stomach.
When you are asleep, your brain uses liver glycogen and raw honey can help replenish this supply. This, in turn, will create stable glucose levels in your body for hours, thereby allowing you to sleep restfully.
3. Drink a natural supplement
Herbal supplements are inexpensive yet can help improve the quality of your sleep. Some of the most recommended natural sleep supplements are:
- Krill oil - Krill oil is rich in omega-3. If you drink this supplement at least two hours before bedtime, the fat will keep your energy level stable longer and will help you sleep more efficiently.
- Valerian - This is a powerful herb that acts like a sedative on the brain and nervous system. It is useful for treating sleep disorders including insomnia and even anxiety. Due to its potent effects, it is not advisable to drink this every night.
- Passionflower - This is a herbal supplement that works like valerian. However, its effects are less intense.
- Kava - Kava has been proven effective in treating insomnia and managing anxiety, stress, and restlessness.
- Chamomile - Chamomile tea is a gentle sleeping aid. It promotes sleep, relieves anxiety, and improves a person’s mood.
Although these supplements are herbal and natural, it is best to consult your doctor first before taking any as a sleeping aid.
4. Make your bedroom more conducive for sleeping
To enjoy better quality sleep, you need to improve your sleep environment as well.
Start by making your bedroom as dark as possible at night. If your windows let in light, invest in blackout window shades or use dark curtains to keep your bedroom dark.
This also means turning off your night lamp, TV and other appliances in the bedroom that give out even the smallest hint of light.
5. Change your pre-sleep routine
Lastly, you will be sure you will get longer and a better quality of sleep every night by following the right pre-sleep practices. These include:
- Winding down and preparing to sleep at least two hours before bedtime.
- Avoiding any kind of strenuous workout within two hours of bedtime. However, you can do yoga, Pilates and other kinds of relaxing workouts.
- Not watching TV or reading in bed, since these activities encourage your brain to associate your bed with wakefulness.
By following the tips above, you will get quality shuteye every night without having to spend a fortune on different medicines, sleep accessories and other expensive sleeping aids.
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Bulletproof Diet." Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you'd expect, without burning out, getting sick or allowing stress to control your decisions.