5 Ways to Get More Sleep
By Brad Gillman
Feb 17, 2016
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Here are five tricks that you can use for a better night sleep.
1- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco at night. Because the last few hours of the day should be when your body is winding down. So adding chemicals – like with alcohol, caffeine, tobacco - into your body can interrupt your sleep cycle.
Work to avoid these for the last few hours of your day.
2- Exercise will help – just don’t do it too late. There is a beneficial chemical reaction that occurs in your body when you work out.
“One of the many benefits of exercise is serotonin, a chemical released in the brain as we work out that helps our bodies adjust, and boosts our energy. Taking the time to exercise can make your body more able to adjust to the time,” said Tom Cloward, MD, medical director of the Intermountain Sleep Disorders Center at Intermountain Medical Center.
Lower levels of serotonin will cause problems for your sleep cycle. Thus making it hard to fall asleep and to stay asleep. So regular exercise will help maintain the levels.
But problems come if you are working out too close to bedtime. Your body has raised adrenaline and your brain is active. So the workout might leave you restless – despite being exhausted. So give a little time, around two hours, between the workout and your bedtime.
3- Take the time to relax before sleeping.
It’s easy to turn on the television or surf your phone while lying in bed. It might be your nightly routine to decompress from a long day. But it could be hurting you.
“Everyone develops coping strategies in times of stress, but once the stress is gone, those coping strategies may become habits that interfere with restful sleep,” said LoAndra Berg, nurse practitioner at the Alta View Hospital Sleep Lab.
Try spending the last few hours of the day away from electronics.
Also, take inventory on how your bedroom feels - room temperature, the bedding, pets and children coming in and out, etc. This is supposed to be a place where you feel completely relaxed. If you are not getting that relief, then see if the room and surroundings are the problem.
“Changing your environment can make your nights more conducive to sleep,” Berg said.
4- Don’t eat too late because Berg noted that eating too late may have an impact on your sleep as well.
Avoid heavy or spicy meals, tryptophan-heavy meals, and drinking too much liquid – all recipes for restless nights.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in foods like turkey and it can affect your serotonin levels.
5- Get checked for a possible sleep disorder. You have done everything you can, and still, can’t fall asleep - or maybe you can’t sleep peacefully throughout the entire night. If this sounds like you then it might be time to go visit the doctor.
It’s possible that you have a sleeping disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea. Find out more information on sleep disorders from Intermountain Healthcare.Whether the changes are small or major, it’s important to make sure you are getting peaceful rest every night.