Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
While most research is in people with severe sleep issues, daily light exposure will most likely help you even if you experience average sleep.
Try getting daily sunlight exposure or — if this is not practical — invest in an artificial bright-light device or bulbs.
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality. If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
Late-night eating may negatively impact both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin. That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.In one study, a high-carb meal eaten four hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster. Interestingly, one study discovered that a low-carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs are not always necessary — especially if you are used to a low-carb diet.
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax. Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia. In one study, a relaxing massage improved sleep quality in people who were ill. Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualization. Try out different methods and find what works best for you.
An underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems. One common issue is sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing. People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. This condition may be more common than you think. One review claimed that 24% of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea.
Other common medically diagnosed issues include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in shift workers. If you’ve always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to consult with your doctor.
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia. One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night. In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30% and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18%.
Although daily exercise is key for a good night’s sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems. This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline. However, some studies show no detrimental effects, so it clearly depends on the individual.
Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including:
- Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed. Melatonin supplements are an extremely popular sleep aid. Often used to treat insomnia, melatonin may be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster. Additionally, no withdrawal effects were reported in either of the above studies.
- Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it may aid in sleep, relaxation and stress reduction, but the evidence is limited. Take 250 mg 30–60 minutes before bed.
- Glycine: A few studies show that 3 grams of the amino acid glycine can improve sleep quality.
- Valerian root: Several studies suggest that valerian can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. Take 500 mg before bed.
- Magnesium: Responsible for over 600 reactions within your body, magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality.
- L-theanine: An amino acid, l-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. Take 100–200 mg before bed.
- Lavender: A powerful herb with many health benefits, lavender can induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep. Take 80–160 mg containing 25–46% linalool.
Make sure to only try these supplements one at a time. While they are no magic bullet for sleep issues, they can be useful when combined with other natural sleeping strategies.
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep. These factors include temperature, noise, external lights and furniture arrangement. Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues. In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.
Many of our patients have stated that one of the benefits of starting testosterone therapy has been in increase in quality of their sleep. It’s almost a double edge sword because lack or sleep and poor quality of sleep contribute to causing low testosterone. It makes sense that TRT would help with improving sleep too.
Sleep plays a key role in your health. One large review linked insufficient sleep to an increased obesity risk of 89% in children and 55% in adults. Other studies conclude that less than 7–8 hours per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you are interested in optimal health and wellbeing, then you should make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above.
Some information sited from Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#section18