Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Restful sleep is something that most of us take for granted. It’s only when you lie in bed staring at the alarm clock for six or more hours when you realize the importance of sleep. Rather than feeling rested and rejuvenated, you roll out of bed feeling mentally and physically exhausted. So, if you’re among the 50 million to 70 million Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder, consider the following tips for getting a good night’s rest.

Watch the Caffeine

While effective at waking you in the morning, caffeine can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. One study found that participants who consumed caffeinated beverages six hours before had lower-quality sleep than their counterparts who refrained from the substance. Caffeine acts as a stimulant by promoting the release of adrenaline in the sympathetic nervous system, which makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. To encourage a good night’s rest, avoid all sources of caffeine — coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, etc. — for at least seven hours before bed.

Remove Distractions

You’ll struggle to fall asleep if your bedroom contains distractions. Whether it’s the TV, light shining through the windows, your smartphone or even the sound of a ticking clock, distractions such as these will capture your attention and divert your mind away from sleeping. Go through your bedroom to identify and eliminate all sleeping distractions. The ultimate goal is to create a pitch-black environment that’s completely quiet. Once your bedroom is free of distractions, your mind can focus strictly on sleeping.

Follow a Schedule

People with erratic sleep schedules tend to have higher rates of sleep disorder than their counterparts who follow a consistent schedule. This is because our bodies have an internal clock, known as the circadian clock, that regulates many of its processes. When you go to sleep at different times of night throughout the week, it throws off your body’s circadian clock, resulting in low-quality sleep. To keep your circadian clock working correctly, try to get into the habit of lying down to sleep at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning. If you normally go to bed at 10:00 p.m. during the workweek, don’t stay up until 12:00 p.m. or later on the weekend. Instead, follow your existing schedule to encourage healthy, productive sleep.


Exercise acts as a natural sleep aid by depleting your body’s energy levels and promoting the release of chemicals like endorphins in the brain. A study cited by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who exercise for at least 150 minutes per week experience significantly better sleep than their sedentary counterparts.

Choose the Right Mattress

Perhaps your sleep problems are attributed to your mattress. Most experts recommend replacing your mattress every 9 to 10 years. But don’t choose just any mattress. Instead, choose one that’s designed for the way in which you sleep. A mattress for side sleepers, for instance, provides adequate support for your spine and neck.

Take a Hot Bath or Shower

A hot bath or shower is the perfect bedtime ritual to encourage higher-quality sleep. It relaxes your body and mind, helping you fall asleep. Research has even shown that raising the temperature of your bath or shower by just 2 degrees encourages deeper sleep.

It’s frustrating when you try to fall asleep at night, only to lie wide awake until the sun comes up. Not only will you feel tired the following morning, but it can take a toll on your health by compromising your immune system and leaving you susceptible to infectious illness. Following these tips, however, will help you get a good night’s rest.