How to Improve Sleep Quality in 4 Simple and Uncomplicated Steps

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Did you know that approximately 70% of Americans have some type of sleep disorder?

According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over a third of Americans reported getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. How to Improve Sleep Quality

A National Sleep Foundation survey found that 45% of Americans stated that their daily activities had been affected in some way in the past 7 days due to a lack of sleep.

Initially, reading figures like these may give you a sense of comfort – “It’s not just me then who’s having an almighty struggle trying to sleep at night”.

However, I would suggest this is definitely one phenomenon where it’s best not be part of the crowd.

Sleep helps to coordinate certain functions of the mind and body, such as mood, appetite, alertness, hormone regulation, your immune system, and so much more.

So, let’s not waste anymore time and take a look at how to improve sleep quality.

1. Are You Taking Time to Wind Down Before Going to Sleep?

We seem to be under the illusion that the second we jump into bed and our head hits the pillow that we’re going to fall soundly asleep.

“If only”, I hear you cry.

However, in order to sleep, firstly certain bodily functions are required to slow down and decrease. These include your heart rate, your brainwaves, your body’s temperature, and even your breathing.

So, it’s important to almost “tell” your brain and your body that it’s time to sleep. There are various ways to do this, such as reading a book, taking a warm shower, listening to relaxing music, or anything else you may find soothing.

Let me take you back in time to your childhood for a moment.

Do you remember having a soothing and relaxing bedtime routine?

Do you recall bath time?

This was the perfect signal to your brain that the time for sleep was fast approaching. You would have your bath, then get into your pajamas, and you knew the day had come to a natural conclusion. It was time for bed.

Fast forward to adult life – What cues or messages are you currently sending to your brain to signal that it’s bedtime?

And no, telling yourself, “just one more episode of Stranger Things or BoJack Horseman doesn’t count.

Which leads me nicely onto the next step.

Is Your Bedroom a Treasure Trove of Electronics?

Okay, I’ll be the first to concede that I’d be completely lost without my smartphone. The entire world is literally at my fingertips. That’s all well-and-good, except for when I’m trying to get to sleep.

Go on, admit it, you’re no different!

It’s not just smartphones either, the same can be said for laptops, TVs, kindles, tablets, and any other electronic device. Plain and simple they really shouldn’t be in the bedroom.

It has been scientifically proven that the blue light waves emitted from these devices throw our circadian rhythm out of sync (this is the body’s 24-hour internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle).

The body produces melatonin, a sleep hormone, as it gets darker and this tells our brain that the time to turn in is almost upon us.

However, the brain will liken the light of an electronic device to that of the sun. This in turn will suppress the production of melatonin, meaning that our brain actually thinks it’s time to be alert and awake.

The use of these devices is also a way to stimulate the brain.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your boss sending you a late-night email (how dare he), or if Natalie is crying on Facebook because she’s split up with Chris… again (oh come on Natalie, that’s the fourth time this year), or if you’re dying to know what’s going to happen to Pennsatucky on the next episode of Orange is the New Black.

All these things are activating, stimulating and arousing the brain, which is not conducive to sleep.

Your electronic time should end at the very least 30 minutes before you go to bed, although you’ll get a much better night’s sleep if you make this an hour or two.

But Alcohol Makes Me Tired

Yes indeed, alcohol makes you feel drowsy and you may even fall asleep quickly, but you’re not getting the right kind of sleep.

You typically go straight into a deep sleep without ever going through the other stages of sleep.

A stage of sleep, such as REM sleep, when you dream, plays a massive role in reinvigorating and revitalizing the mind and the body for the following day.

So, REM really were Shiny, Happy People.

Alcohol also tends to wear off as the night goes on, so the quality of your sleep is once again affected.

You’ll probably find yourself in the lighter stages of sleep, which is usually when you start to fidget, to toss and turn, and eventually wake yourself up.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a couple of drinks in the evening, whether you’re at home, the local bar, or enjoying 2-for-1 cocktails at some fancy joint.

However, the closer you drink alcohol to your bedtime, the worse it will be for you and your night’s sleep.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that alcohol will knock you out and help you sleep. You may well be away with the fairies sooner than usual, but the quality of your sleep will be very poor.

RELATED POST ====> How Does Alcohol Affect Sleep?

What’s Your Caffeine Intake Like?

How many of you start your day with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning?

It doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, as coffee contains the drug caffeine (yes, it’s a drug), which is a stimulant.

So, your morning cup of joe will definitely make you feel more awake and alert. You’ll receive a temporary hit of caffeine, which will suppress any sleep-inducing chemicals and increase the production of adrenaline in the body.

A recent survey suggests that 85% of Americans enjoy at least one caffeinated beverage on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, let’s be honest with each other here – How many of you stick to just one cup of coffee a day?

We typically drink a lot more and may even be tempted to throw in the odd can of Red Bull to deal with that late afternoon slump.

Firstly, I will say that if you are drinking a few cups of coffee a day and it isn’t having an adverse effect on your sleeping habits, that’s fine.

Our bodies are all individually, slightly different to each other in various ways, and therefore some of you will be less affected by caffeine than others.

However, for those of you struggling to get a peaceful night’s sleep, it may be time to limit the amount of coffee you consume, or even knock it on the head altogether.

It takes approximately 6 hours for the caffeine from one cup of coffee to be eliminated from the body. Realistically you should be having your last cup of coffee for the day at around 2pm-3pm.

The reason I mention this time period is not because I’m expecting you to go to bed at some ridiculously early hour, but simply because, is this “final cup” the only cup of coffee you’ve had all day? The top-up effect.

Better still, there are people who swear by just drinking coffee during the morning hours. Once that clock strikes midday there isn’t a latte or a mocha in sight.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

I am very much an advocate for making lifestyle changes to improve the quality of your sleep.

Yet some lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, starting to exercising more, etc. can seem like a real effort.

The above steps are just the tip of the iceberg and there are plenty more things you can do to help yourself get a better night’s sleep. However, they may not be as easy as the above steps.

So from today/tonight, I urge you to make one small, simple change and see how peaceful a night’s rest you have.

The body can only take so much, for so long. Eventually the lack of quality sleep will take its toll.

For some further reading please check out this FREE Guide to the Health Risks of Sleep Deprivation

RELATED POST====> My number ONE recommendation for all insomnia sufferers out there. If you want to know How to Treat Insomnia Naturally please take a moment to read my review on what I believe is the best natural cure for insomnia. My review of the Blue Heron Insomnia Program.

6 thoughts on “How to Improve Sleep Quality in 4 Simple and Uncomplicated Steps”

  1. Hi Partha

    Thanks for this valuable post, I’ve just been researching sleep in light of the Covid-19 changes to my lifestyle (including working from home) because being able to turn off to go to sleep seems to be one of the things that I’ve been struggling with.

    I’ve been trying to implement routine and structure to my day, but I hadn’t thought about structuring my bedtime rituals. When you compare it to going to sleep as a child it makes perfect sense. While having a nice hot bath isn’t an option (my flat only has a shower), I imagine I can recreate a lot of the ritual’s that my parents used when I was growing up – including the hot milk drink and reading at bedtime. Would there be any advantages or disadvantages to trying it this way?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Lisa,

      It’s really good to hear from you.

      Plus, I have to say I completely understand. I think everyone, everywhere in the world, is going through a tough time at the moment.

      I guess having troube sleeping is just a further problem we’re going to have to suffer.

      Well, you’re doing the right thing by implementing structure and routine into your day, which is great in terms of keeping busy and for your mental health.

      As for a bedtime ritual, it’s basically anything you’re comfortable with that you find soothing and relaxing. Obviously, this shouldn’t include things like electronics or eating a heavy meal just before bed.

      For me, a couple of things I do is to write in a gratitude journal, just basically writing about 3-5 positive things that happened during my day that I’m grateful for.

      They don’t have to be grand gestures – I’ve been grateful for it being a nice, sunny, warm day. I’ve been grateful for someone thanking me for moving out of their way in order to observe the social distancing rules. Whatever floats your boat.

      In the last couple of weeks I’ve also taken to colouring-in books (this really does remind me of my childhood).

      I have a couple of Disney books that I’m working my way through and I even have an adult colouring-in book (complete with very rude words) that I happily use my pencils or felt-tips on for 30 minutes or so before bed.


  2. Love your point on sleep w/alcohol consumption. Waking up from a night of merriment always felt unsatisfying (hangovers notwithstanding)…even when you’re waking up on a lazy Sunday with time to properly recoup. I never realized that going straight to deep sleep was a thing, much less realize that I was skipping 3 levels. I’ve cut down the alcohol consumption to social events and I’m amazed at how good I actually feel that now when I wake up after a glass or 2 of wine with dinner, I can notice the difference… it’s not a hangover, the difference is subtle like a fogginess, but I feel a little off and I don’t like it.

    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I totally agree. I will say I still enjoy the occasional glass of wine with dinner or a couple of beers here and there.

      However, my drinking habits have dramatically changed once I realized, not only the effect it was having on my sleeping patterns, but my overall health and mental clarity in general.

      If you’re going to enjoy a drink in the evening, that’s fine, but aim to have a hour or two for the head to effectively “clear” a little before you hit the sack.


  3. Have you ever heard of Brainwave Entrainment Audios – and if so, do you think they are a real aid to help if someone has major trouble sleeping?

    • Hi Simon,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Yes indeed, I have heard of brainwave entrainment audios.

      I will be writing a number of articles in the future around this topic, as well as the effects of binaural beats, and how certain audio frequencies can potentially help to improve the quality of sleep.

      In fact, I have recently written a review of a product I highly recommend that makes use of binaural beats to cure insomnia.

      Here is my review of The Six Steps to Sleep Program.



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