3 Lifestyle Changes That Improve Sleep

Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.

Mahatma Gandhi

According to the Sleep Foundation, half of the American population says feeling sleepy throughout the day at least three times a week. Around 35% of all US adults report sleeping less than seven hours per night, with the recommended amount being of nine hours for adults between 18 and 65 years old. A global survey recently pointed out that 62% of adults admit not sleeping as well as they would like and, although they would like to sleep better, the majority don’t seek help to do so. It would be interesting if these surveys explored people’s attitudes toward sleep, and sleep education to better understand the context of these statistics.

Besides what we think and feel about sleep, there are lifestyle factors that can either hinder or promote a good night’s rest. Sleep plays a valuable role in our health and well-being. The lack of sleep can aggravate mental health problems and create an unwanted feedback loop. I know people who have slept poorly for years and see positive changes in their mood once they restore a natural sleeping cycle. Although we can’t change certain aspects that affect sleep, there are lifestyle factors that we can work with to improve sleep and repair not only our body but also our mind. Here are three changes that will help you restore sleep.

Avoid Caffeine After 2PM

This can be a hard one for those of us who love coffee or tea, but reducing caffeine after 2PM can help you benefit from greater sleep at night. Caffeine has the inconvenience of making our sleep shorter and lighter. It also seems to block adenosine, a neurotransmitter thought to promote sleep. If you are highly sensitive, especially avoid caffeine after 12PM.

Avoid Alcohol

In a similar fashion, alcohol also decreases the quality of sleep. Although some people may find it easier to fall asleep after a drink, the truth is that alcohol’s soporific effect is short-lived. It also suppresses REM sleep and it can cause us to wake up several times during the night.

Exercise More

Exercising during the day, and especially aerobic exercise (e.g. walking), helps us fall asleep faster and experience a greater amount of deep sleep. Practicing exercise regularly also decreases the chance of waking up in the middle of the night. Just avoid it 2h before bedtime since exercising activates and stimulates the nervous system, making it harder to fall asleep.

Tools to Help You Sleep Better

Concluding Thoughts

Sleep has a great impact on our health and well-being. A good night’s sleep means we give time to our body and mind repair and recover from the day’s activities. Although each person’s sleeping needs are individual, the average recommended amount of sleep is 9h for working adults. To make sure you stay asleep throughout this time, it’s good to rethink your lifestyle habits and change what you can. Eliminating caffeine after 2PM, avoiding alcohol, and exercising more are some of the lifestyle factors that impact sleep and which are under your control.

Other blogs you may like to read:

A Stoic Evening Routine For Success

Stoics seem to give great lifestyle advice. In a quick recent research, I discovered that Marcus Aurelius used to follow and suggest a set of behaviours and activities that are meant to generate stillness and promote both body and mind awareness. Altogether, these aspects contribute to a greater capacity to be virtuous and act accordingly.…

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Published by The Wellbeing Blogger

Wellbeing Designer, here to help you make Art with your Life

40 thoughts on “3 Lifestyle Changes That Improve Sleep

  1. I don’t typically find drinking tea affects my sleep but coffee definitely does! When I exercise regularly I always tend to sleep better too 🙂 I love doing a slow Yoga practice before bed, that always puts me in such a relaxed and sleepy state x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s great to hear, Jenny! That’s awesome, yoga can really help us unwind and prepare the body for a good night’s sleep. Also, not all teas have the same level of caffeine, and sensitivity to caffeine varies among people ❤️

      Like

  2. Sleep is one of these things I am not good at. I can sleep 5 hours and once I’m up, that’s me awake. My brain switches on and the thoughts flow. Lately I’ve been having a lot of naps. But that’s because I start work early, at 6.30. Hopefully this will change a bit when I leave my job.
    But this is a great post and excellent tips. Two of them I master. I don’t drink caffeine nor alcohol. Exercise is something I do need to pick up. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I drink two cups of tea a day as all the caffeine I have after cutting out all the Pepsi and Coke, but I don’t find tea affects my sleep. But I tend to have the last tea around this time. Thank you for sharing your tips!

    Lauren x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. Three amazing tips to get some better quality sleep. My favourite tip is exercise, I always found I sleep better when exercising regularly. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sleeping is so important for our overall health. I do understand your tips and what a great impact they have. I needed a good reminder of their importance because lately it seems that I have started having sleeping issues. Thank you Vanessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice one! Lifestyle and physiology changes definitely impact sleep. I admit with the tea and coffee factor but now life is so competitive that caffeine intake is a must for many. Though ofcourse to improve health these things need a check. And i agree either exercise any kind is good and walk is the easiest and best cardio known. If I ever do gym I sleep in those days. I also liked the factual info. Xx
    Isa A. Blogger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your input, Isa! I’m coffee guilty too, and you are right when you say that life became very competitive. However, we need to put our priorities straight. Our well-being and health must come first 🙌

      Like

  7. I don’t drink coffee so it’s not really a problem for me! Sometimes what makes me unable to sleep is my late-night thoughts, so I would usually try to calm myself down and pray or meditate before going to bed. Exercising during the day also helps improve my sleep. Thank you for sharing! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tyas! Your feedback is very interesting as well as the strategies you use to deal with your late-night thoughts. Have you tried to journal before bedtime? Sometimes it helps to write something down on paper to prevent it to come back when it’s to sleep x

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  8. My dad always used to say “We’ll sleep well tonight.” after visiting the beach and often chalked it up to “the salt air.” That said, it was probably all the fun exercise (swimming, etc) but curious if air quality affects our sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve had problems with my sleep since childhood. I’ve never drank tea or coffee, and rarely have anything with caffeine in it. I only drink alcohol about once a fortnight. My lack of exercise doesn’t help, but my health issues stop me from doing too much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great tips Vanessa! I do most of the things you have suggested in this post. 😊 tea doesn’t affect my sleep but one coffee, even if I have it first thing, will affect my sleep. I love wearing ear plugs too! I can only wear one at the moment though so I can hear if Teddy wakes 😊 thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes, earplugs can be life-saving, especially when living in the city 😄 I’m glad you know your limits with coffee. I only convinced myself recently that I can’t really go beyond two cups daily 🙈 haha

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, I’m sorry that your exercise is limited. Have you tried low-impact exercise? When I struggle a lot with pain or I’m dealing with a health crisis, I find it helpful. Sometimes just walking for a little bit and stretching is enough ❤️

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  10. These are great tips. Personally, I don’t really notice any difference in my sleep when I consume caffeine, but usually, stop before 12pm anyway so I guess that’s why. I find doing a brain dump before bed, stretching and Yoga Nidra puts me in the most relaxing state before bed. I need to make these a regular part of my evening routine.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is so helpful, for my fiance I’m always on him to stop his caffeine consumption after 3pm to help him improve his sleep. We’ve been working on switching to natural energy boosters for the afternoon fatigue! Thanks for this awesome post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alex! I personally struggle to quit coffee too but once I valued sleep more, I limited it to 2 cups a day and the last one before 2pm. Try to avoid simple carbs at lunch. When having sandwiches, opt for integral bread for instance. Afternoon fatigue is often aggravated by what we eat at lunchtime. If you need help reviewing that, let me know 🙌

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  12. Exercising or physical labor is what helps me the most. And the sleeping mask – during summer, it hardly gets dark in here and unless I have been up 24+ hours, I can only sleep in a pitch black room, so the sleeping mask is a lifesaver for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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