If you feel like you don’t get enough sleep at night – or you do sleep but don’t wake up in the morning feeling refreshed – you’re not alone. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, around 11 percent of Americans report that they experience poor or insufficient sleep every night. In some cases, poor sleep quality can be a symptom of an underlying condition that requires medical treatment. In many cases, though, poor sleep quality is simply the result of many small lifestyle decisions that, collectively, aren’t best for your sleep health. If that’s the case for you, improving your sleep quality doesn’t require medications, supplements or expensive gadgets – although investing in a good bed certainly doesn’t hurt.
If you’re not getting the rest you require, try these simple and actionable tips to improve your sleep quality right now.
Reduce Your Screen Time at Night
One of the features of modern society is that our electronic devices have become so useful, informative and entertaining that we end up remaining glued to our screens just about all of the time. The problem with using electronic devices at night, though, is that doing so interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythms. At the end of the day, reduced ambient light should your body to begin producing the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Bright lights – and particularly the blue light emitted by electronic devices – inhibit melatonin production, thus making it more difficult for you to fall asleep when you finally turn your devices off for the day.
Reducing your screen time at night can go a long way toward improving sleep quality – and the best way to do that is by making the commitment that you’ll turn off your TV, computer, game console and mobile devices at least an hour before bedtime. When you’re ready to wind down at the end of the day, read a book instead of using an electronic device.
In some situations, it may not be possible to completely stop using electronic devices at the end of the day. For instance, maybe you have a side gig as an independent contractor and earn money on your computer at night. Maybe your primary job requires you to remain available on the phone during the evening. If there’s no way for you to stop using all devices at the end of the day, it’s likely that your device still has a built-in “night mode” or “dark mode” that reduces the level of blue light produced by the screen. You may find that feature helpful for improving your sleep quality.
Reduce Your Stimulant Usage
Stimulants are a terrible trap for the body, and you’re well aware of that fact if you’ve ever had a cup of coffee or smoked a cigarette. At first, it’s an amazing rush, and you can always count on the caffeine or nicotine to pick you up when you’re feeling a little slow and need something that can give you a bit of a jolt. Eventually, though, you reach a point at which you need the stimulant just to feel normal. You wake up in the morning feeling like an absolute zombie until you’ve had your first cigarette or cup of coffee.
As you’re likely well aware, stimulants – even relatively harmless ones – are extremely difficult to simply stop using. It isn’t terribly hard, though, to reduce your stimulant usage. You may find that even a small reduction can improve your sleep quality. If you’re a caffeine drinker, try switching from coffee to tea. Tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, but you may actually find that it has a similar energizing effect because the caffeine is absorbed more slowly. If you don’t like tea, then try to limit yourself to just one serving of coffee per day.
If you’re a cigarette smoker, your strategy for improving sleep quality should be twofold. First, try to stop all nicotine usage for the last hour or two before you go to bed. Second, switch from smoking to vaping. Modern vaping devices like the Innokin Coolfire Z80 are powerful enough that they can deliver a completely satisfying dose of nicotine even if you’re using a low-strength e-liquid. Vaping also makes it easy for you to reduce your nicotine intake over time, either by vaping less frequently or by reducing the nicotine strength of your e-liquid.
Invest in a Better Mattress
Considering the number of people who report constant issues with poor sleep quality, it’s no surprise that high-quality bedding can be extremely expensive. Sleeping on the floor isn’t fun, so mattress manufacturers can almost charge whatever they want for their products. If you want a good bed badly enough, you’ll pay the asking price. If you already have a decent mattress, though, it can be difficult to convince yourself to buy a new one – even if you know that your mattress is well past its prime. There are so many other things that require your attention and money; can’t you continue using your old mattress for a while longer?
To get a better idea of how a new mattress might affect your sleep quality – and simultaneously do a bit of product scouting – consider spending some of your entertainment budget on a few one-night stays in nearby hotels and vacation rentals. Shopping for a new mattress is a great excuse for a staycation with your family, and you can often find good travel deals on sites like Hotwire if you’re not picky about the specific hotel at which you stay. Hotels almost always use premium brand-name mattresses, and a good vacation rental will also often have a higher-end bed that they use as a selling point. Check the vacation rental’s website before booking to find out.
If you stay at a hotel or vacation rental for an evening and find that your sleep quality improves dramatically, it’s a likely indicator that your mattress at home is overdue for a replacement. Staying in a hotel also gives you a good idea of how well a mattress that you’re considering buying will hold up to abuse. If you like a mattress in a hotel, you’ll probably love that mattress at home.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.