How to Sleep Better: 20 Science-Backed Tips for The Best Sleep of Your Life (Part 2)
Both darkness and light are key to getting good sleep. Light helps regulate circadian rhythms, increases daytime energy, and increases sleep time. Sunlight exposure early in the morning and dim lights in the evening help our body transition through the sleep-wake cycle. One study conducted with insomnia patients discovered daytime light exposure increased sleep quality and duration.
- 8. Ease Anxiety With Meditation
For most, this is easier said than done. Making the effort to ease worries and anxiety before bed can make a positive difference in your sleep. There are many practices and activities that can help ease anxiety before bed. One of the most effective with science-backed evidence is meditation.
In recent years, meditation has grown in popularity for its ability to ease anxiety and help with sleep. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is proven to increase sleep quality. From guided video and audio meditations to meditation apps, there are options for everyone to try meditation to improve their sleep.
- 9. Limit Day Time Napping
Naps are a great way to recharge when you’re tired or didn’t sleep enough the night before. However, naps can be too much of a good thing. If you must sleep in the middle of the day, it’s best to keep your naps short. Research shows that napping more than 30 minutes impacts sleep quality later at night. Napping during the day also confuses your internal clock.
While naps can be helpful, for optimal sleep quality, it’s best to keep them short.
- 10. Adjust Your Sleep Pattern
Not everyone thrives with the traditional day/night schedule. Called monophasic sleep, this consists of 7-8 hours of sleep with no naps during the day. Those looking to hack their sleep and improve productivity often shun monophasic sleep. Science recognizes three sleep patterns: monophasic, biphasic, and polyphasic.
In a 2017 study, researchers found that college students who adopted a polyphasic sleep pattern experienced sleep pattern disruptions and reduced academic performance.
When it's time to go to bed, it can be difficult to calm your thoughts. One of the best ways to calm your mind before bed is to read a printed book. One study found reading on an E-reader like a Kindle or an iPad before bed increased the time it took to fall asleep versus reading a printed book. Another study conducted in 2009 found reading before bed reduced stress by 68%.
Instead of catching up on the latest TV show, grab a book instead.
With most of our lives on screens, we are constantly taking in blue light. While blue light is beneficial during the morning to help us wake up, at night it has the opposite effect. Blue light is emitted by screens and inhibits melatonin production which is why you end up having trouble sleeping after scrolling through your phone in bed.
To avoid blue light exposure, invest in blue light blocking glasses to wear when you’re watching TV or using the phone at night. There are also apps and special screen shades that block blue light from your devices.