How to Improve Your Sleep Habits

Sleep plays a fundamental role in general well-being. Unfortunately, most people only focus on sleep quantity, forgetting about sleep quality. Sleep quantity represents how long you sleep. Doctors and researchers pretty uniformly recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for adults.

However, the real question is if those hours are high quality or not!

Quantity AND quality both matter with sleep.

Conversely, sleep quality refers to how well you sleep. It is as important as sleep quantity and affects your overall health, mood, and life satisfaction. Unfortunately, poor sleep habits are common and lead to the phenomenon of being “tired and wired.” Feeling exhausted yet unable to get good quality sleep is no fun.

Sleep quality is important for health.
Are you getting high quality sleep?

Characteristics of high quality sleep.

1. Spending the majority of your time actually sleeping when you are lying in bed (usually around 85% of the time).

2. Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less.

3. Not waking up more than once per night. And if you wake up, you fall back to sleep in less than 20 minutes.

4. Waking up each morning feeling well rested and ready to start the day with energy.

6 benefits of high quality sleep.

  • Boosts memory. When sleeping, your body is resting while the brain is working. The brain arranges all your daily events and memories to make it easier for you to remember things and.
  •  Enhances mood. Getting enough sleep boosts your mood and makes you less irritable. You are generally more calm and relaxed.
  • Makes you alert. Sleep improves your concentration and productivity.
  • Enhances your social interactions. Since your body is getting enough rest, it consequently makes you more happy and positive. This makes it significantly easier to get along with the people around you.
  • Decreases your chances of getting sick. Sleep is one of your body’s primary mechanisms for warding off diseases. Enough of it boosts your immune system and minimizes inflammation, which makes you less susceptible to illness.
  • Reduces stress. When you don’t sleep enough, the body continues to produce more cortisol (the stress hormone), putting your body out of balance. As a result, you feel more stressed, which is not suitable for your body’s overall well-being.

So what if you can’t seem to sleep well at night?

The secrets to improving your sleep habits.

Stick to a sleep schedule

Nothing is more tempting than wanting to stay up late binge watching Netflix or staying in bed way past your normal wake up time, especially during holidays or weekends. Sadly, this radical change of habit is not good for you. Our bodies function on specific rhythms based your typical routine. As a result, specific processes in the body take place at particular times and will be thrown off with big changes in your sleep cycle.

Furthermore, sleep between 10 pm to 2 am is the most generative and is beneficial for the nervous system. So try to ditch those night owl tendencies and get to bed early!

To improve your sleep quality, try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times every day.

Screen time ruins your sleep quality.
Keep those screens out of bed and out of site for at least one hour before bed!

Decrease screen time at night

Electronics such as phones, computers, and TVs increase alertness. They also emit a blue light which interferes with our sleep rhythm and horone balance. This is because it suppresses melatonin and increases cortisol production, tricking the body into thinking it’s the middle of the day rather than time for bed.

You should shut off electronics and keep them out of your bed for at least 1 hour before bed. Read a book, take a bath, do yoga, or interact with your family instead.

Proper diet

What and when you eat can significantly affect sleep quality. A healthy diet promotes quality sleep. You should aim to eat a healthy meal 2 to 3 hours before bed. Eating too soon before bed is a prescription for poor sleep in addition to possible weight gain.

Limit caffeine, sugary foods, alcohol, and big meals, especially at night.  Plus, avoid drinking too much liquid right before bed to limit midnight bathroom runs.


Exercise is a part of healthy living. Regular exercise helps keep our bodies in sync and balanced to optimize sleep. However, some exercises, especially aerobics, increase the body’s metabolism, which can disrupt sleep if done too late in the day. The earlier during the day you exercise, the more you will maximize your quality of sleep. If you have to, or prefer, exercise in the evening, avoid exercising two hours before bed to give your body enough time to recover. Or consider low impact exercises such as stretching or yoga to help you unwind.

Take time for relaxing activities

Make time for yourself each evening to relax and get your body ready for sleep. Activities such as reading, yoga, listening to music, meditation, taking a shower or a bath, or guided imagery are all great options.

Alarm clocks are not your enemy for high quality sleep.
If you’re getting enough quality sleep, you won’t dread your morning alarm clock anymore.

Maximize your sleep, maximize your health.

Don’t neglect your sleep quality.  If you follow these tips and incorporate them in your nightly routine, your sleep quality will improve. Remember that sleep is crucial to your health for proper recovery and optimized health management.

What are your biggest barriers in getting high quality sleep?

For me, it took being sick during my first trimester of pregnancy to realize how much better I felt when I went to bed early. I also had a terrible habit of browsing social media until I fell asleep, which left my brain running a million miles an hour right before bed! Not very productive.

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