Improve Poor Sleep Quality for Optimal Health

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things for your health and wellbeing. As an adult, you can prevent a lot of diseases and living conditions like obesity and stroke when you get enough night’s sleep. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), millions of Americans suffer from lack of sleep. In a survey conducted in 1999-2004, the NSF concludes that at least 40 million people are living with 70 different sleep disorders in the US. 

 At least 60% of American adults report sleeping disorders at least once every week. Most adults also experience sleepiness during the day, which affects their productivity at work. 

woman waking up from sleep

How does sleep help your body?

1. Mental Health: Sleep improves concentration and productivity 

A good night’s sleep can help you improve your concentration at work. Having enough sleep is important for the various aspects of your brain like performance, cognition, productivity, and concentration.

When you deprive your body of sleep, you cannot sleep or concentrate well at work. In a study, interns on a busy schedule are found to be 36% more likely to make mistakes at work compared to interns on a schedule that allow for a good night’s sleep. 

In another study, it is also established that lack of adequate sleep can also affect memory performance to the same degree as alcohol intoxication.

2. Heart health: Reduces the risk of heart diseases 

When you have enough sleep, you reduce the risk of developing heart diseases and stroke. In a recent study of people who do not get enough sleep, it is found that they are at greater risk of stroke and heart diseases compared to those who sleep for at least 7 hours a day. Lack of enough sleep is a factor believed to contribute to the risk of heart disease.

3. Weight management: It reduces the risk of obesity 

Getting enough sleep is not only good for your heart but also for your weight. When you sleep, your body burns some calories, and this has been shown to keep your body weight in check. Yes, you can burn some calories sleeping.  

Individuals with sleep deprivation tend to lose weight slowly compared to those who have enough sleep daily. Research has shown that not having enough sleep is one of the risk factors for obesity.

The impact of sleep correlates to various aspects like motivation to exercise and hormones. Therefore, if you are on a strict diet to lose weight, having enough sleep is one of the most crucial factors to look into.

4. Immune system: Improves your immune function 

Having enough sleep as an adult can help to boost your immune function. A slight loss in sleep has been shown to reduce impaired body immunity exposing you to the risk of diseases. In a study, scientists establish that those who sleep 8 hours and more are not likely to develop cold.

 If you are fond of catching a common cold, getting adequate sleep can help you a lot. You can also work on your diet by eating more garlic and other greens. 

sleeping woman

How many hours of sleep is enough? 

As an adult, how many hours should you sleep? What is the best time to sleep? According to NSF, the recommended sleep time for adults is between 7-9 hours a day.  

The appropriate night sleeping hours should not be less than six hours a day if you want to remain alert and avoid sleepiness during the day. You can decide to get day or night sleep.

What can poor quality sleep cause in the long run?

In the long run, if you don’t have adequate and quality sleep, your body can develop many health issues. Here is how lack of sleep will affect you:

  • You may become obese for not having enough sleep
  • You become less immune. Lack of sleep can weaken your immunity making you more vulnerable to diseases.
  • It weakness your heart is exposing you to cardiovascular diseases like diabetes and stroke.
  • Lack of sleep means you won’t be able to handle stress. Sleep relieves you of stress and regulates your moods. It improves your ability to cope with stressful situations in life. When you sleep, your body reduces the level of cortisol hormone. High levels of cortisol reduce your ability to cope with stress.
  • Lowers your reaction time. According to this study by AAA, if you don’t have enough night sleep you are more likely to engage in an accident because you tend to be slow when your brain is not fully rested. 

morning coffee

Tips to Improve Sleep Quality 

Sometimes it not how long you sleep but the quality of sleep that matters. If you want to have enough good night sleep, here are some tips you should practice:

– Set your bedtime and stick to it every day. Having enough sleep means going to bed early enough and rising early. You can set your alarm to remind you when it’s time to get to bed.

–  Practice going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This way, your body adapts, and it’s easier to fall asleep.

Make your bedroom comfortable for sleep: Before you get to bed, you should ensure your room has the perfect temperature for sleep. Choose the right temperature setting for sleep. The room should not be too cold or too hot. According to NSF, the recommended bedroom temperature for sleep should be 18.3 degrees Centigrade. 

Reduce blue light exposure before bedtime. Before going to sleep, you should reduce your exposure to the screen. Also, make it a rule to remove phones, TV, laptop, and other screens that emit blue light from your bedroom.

Always ensure the room is dark when you are about to sleep by covering or switching off all electronics that emit light.

Work out early in the morning: Your body will cool down late in the evening, and this improves your chances of getting quality sleep when you retire to bed.

Check your diet: you should be mindful of what you eat during the day or hours before you retire to bed. Always avoid alcohol, caffeine, refined carbs, and nicotine before going to bed. 

Try to avoid big meals when you are about to go to bed. You can make your meals early and eat at least two hours before bed to avoid hurt burns and stomach upsets that can deny you quality sleep. 

Relieve yourself of anxiety by postponing brainstorming and worrying about the next day so that you can easily fall asleep. 

Do some breathing exercises and meditation before you fall asleep. You activate the relaxation response and lower stress levels by breathing from your belly. It is much easier to fall asleep after a deep breathing exercise.

Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

6 Drinks That Will Help You Sleep

More than 50 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep issue. This unfortunate reality impacts people of all different ages and can greatly affect their everyday lives. From falling asleep at work to feeling irritable and anxious, sleep issues are not to be taken lightly. Of course, there are prescription medicines to help with this issue. However, many people do not like the idea of taking medication to help them sleep and would prefer to use natural remedies.

In fact, certain drinks can act as natural remedies for some sleep issues. If you are currently experiencing sleep problems and are looking for something that isn’t a prescription medicine, keep reading to learn about six drinks that have been proven to help induce sleep.

Drinks to Consume to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is an important component of health. If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, your entire life could be affected. An expert from a community that specializes in independent senior living in NJ pointed out that sleep issues are common for people of all ages, especially adults and seniors.

If you or someone in your family is suffering from sleep issues, here are six easy-to-prepare drinks that may provide some relief.

Warm Milk

warm milk

Warm milk has been used as a sleep-enhancing drink for hundreds of years. The idea behind warm milk as a way to relax the body is based on the theory that milk contains tryptophan. When released into the brain, this amino acid produces serotonin, a serenity-boosting neurotransmitter. There is some speculation behind this. Some people claim that tryptophan will reduce anxiety and help you sleep while others claim that it does not produce a hypnotic effect at all. However, ingredients can be added to the warm milk to ensure that it does the job. Some of these include:

  • Strawberries – Strawberries contain B6, which will regulate melatonin.
  • Lavender –  Lavender is a mild sedative and will promote relaxation.

Almond Milk

Organic almond milk and almonds

Warm almond milk is an outstanding drink to help you fall asleep naturally. Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, which is a mineral that is important for a good night’s sleep. In fact, many people have a hard time falling asleep because their magnesium levels are too low. Unfortunately, many people don’t think to check  their magnesium level and this cause of insomnia is often missed.

Before you go to bed, have a glass of almond milk, warm or cold. You will fall asleep faster and feel more relaxed as you will get the proper REM sleep your body needs. Consider adding honey or one of the ingredients mentioned above to your nightly glass of almond milk.

Cherry Juice

Cherries are naturally rich with melatonin so drinking a glass of ice-cold cherry juice before bed will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Why? Because cherries contain tryptophan and anthocyanins, two compounds that help the body create melatonin and lengthen its effects.

Chamomile Tea

Aerial view of hands holding tea cup with knitting on wooden table

Chamomile tea is one of the most well-known drinks to help you fall asleep at night. It produces calming effects which are attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin. Apigenin binds to receptors in the brain that decrease anxiety and stress and initiate sleep

Chamomile tea bags can be bought in almost every grocery store or supermarket, and all you have to do to prepare this sleep-enhancing drink is boil water.

Valerian Tea

Valerian tea for a better sleep

Like chamomile tea, valerian tea is known to induce sleep for some people. It increases the body’s production of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).. When the GABA level increases, it can produce feelings of tiredness. This increases sleepiness and reduces anxiety, making valerian tea a drink worth trying to help your body fall asleep naturally.

Lemon Balm Tea

Photography of Blue Ceramic Coffee Cup

Lemon balm tea has been used to bring on sleep since the Middle Ages for the same reasons as valerian tea: they both increase levels of GABA. This tea is part of the mint family and is a great aromatic bedtime drink to sip on while you curl up on the couch just before bed.

Get The Good Night’s Sleep You’ve Been Dreaming About

Most drinks that have tranquilizing potential can be prepared with simple ingredients. Consider trying a few to find out which ones help you sleep the best. These sleep-enhancing drinks are a good place to start and are easy to prepare. They are also affordable and can be conveniently found in most grocery stores. It may also be worth your while to contact a doctor or holistic specialist to learn about more sleep-inducing foods and drinks that can be incorporated into your life to help you fall asleep naturally.


Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep


Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

Some people keep a very strict diet for a healthy life, and some exercise daily, but only a few of us spend as much time focused on a good and healthy night of sleep. A good night’s sleep is very significant for our health and wellbeing. It keeps you healthy while building the body’s defenses against infections. Moreover, a good night’s sleep makes you more energetic and happy, as well. Therefore, having a quality night’s sleep becomes very important. Meditation for sleep can be a great option.

It may be difficult to get good and wakeless sleep as we get older. On the other hand, problems in life, such as anxiety, stress, depression, or even a huge workload, may cause a sleep disorder. It may be very difficult to get a good night’s sleep while struggling with many problems. Sleeping problems may lead to insomnia symptoms related to those stress factors that cause anxiety and tension. Furthermore, it is found that serious illnesses, like obesity and cardiovascular diseases, are very much related to the quality of our sleep cycle.

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

In these situations, meditation is an effective option for a good night’s sleep. It is obvious that meditation may help us to reduce the impact of daily stressors. Meditation designed for sleep may decrease stress levels in the body and prevent problems, like insomnia and stress-related anxiety and tension, by building inner peace. While it reduces the risk of having serious physical problems, it also helps us to be healthy psychologically, which is definitely related to sleep quality.

How Does Meditation for Sleep Help Us?

Basic meditation techniques are grounded in the idea of training oneself to be more aware of the present moment. In our daily lives, we are mostly in our heads, thinking about the past and planning for the future. Thoughts come and go, and we cannot even recognize our breath cycles. Also, most of us hold our breath while we are in a workload.  This situation may increase in bedtime. Thoughts come and go, and it becomes harder to fall asleep.

Meditation helps us to recognize our breathing and to be aware of the present moment, teaching us to be conscious of what is going on right now in both our body and mind. It offers us healthier sleep by teaching to get rid of the thoughts of the day and enables us to rest the entire self. Furthermore, meditation for sleep is more specific and easy to follow. There are many options for those who don’t know how to practice meditation on their own.

In addition to the psychological benefits of meditation, a variety of physiological changes occur.

In daily life, we mostly activate our sympathetic nervous system, which creates the fight-or-flight response in our body. That’s why anxiety and stress levels in the body may increase. Meditation helps to activate parasympathetic nervous systems, which helps the body to lower the heart rate and slow the breathing. This leads us to have a more restful night’s sleep, as well.

Moreover, research shows that mindfulness-based meditation practices help older adults to overcome sleeping issues. When meditation is used as a relaxation technique, it is useful in the treatment of insomnia, builds sleep hygiene, and helps to facilitate falling back to sleep.

Meditation for sleep may decrease the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other chronic illnesses if it is practiced regularly. Although these are serious problems, if we set up a good and healthy sleeping ritual, we can not only help prevent these problems, but meditation may improve some cognitive functions, such as focus and decision making. By building mental clarity, it makes us produce more melatonin and serotonin (hormones of sleep and happiness).

Meditation Techniques for Better Sleep

Although it may seem complex if you’ve never tried sleep meditation, there are tons of techniques for meditation, from simple to complex. Here are some of the basic meditation types that can be used before falling asleep.

1. Guided Meditation

If you’ve never meditated before, guided meditation for sleep can be the best option for you to try. Guided meditations are easy to follow and let yourself go from thoughts. It is led by an experienced practitioner and walks the listener through each step of meditation. The guidance instructs you when to breathe and what to visualize. In most guided meditations for sleep, you lay down on your bed. To practice guided meditation for sleep, you can use meditation apps like Insighttimer, podcasts on Spotify, or Youtube videos. The rest is simple:

  • Lay down on your bed.
  • Slow your breathing and relax.
  • Start to listen and focus on the guidance.

2. Shamatha Meditation

Shamatha meditation can be described as a mindful concentration. It stabilizes the mind and creates awareness by using the breath as an object to be focused on.

The basic principle of shamatha meditation is to allow one to experience the mind extrajudicially, as it is. One can recognize when the mind is full of thoughts and learn to accept it naturally by using shamatha meditation. That’s why it can also be practiced as a meditation for sleep before going to bed.

Here are the steps of shamatha meditation:

The shamatha meditation technique is practiced when the spine is vertical. That’s why you should first sit cross-legged or on a chair, sitting straight up in a quiet area.

  • Put a pillow underneath your hips to continue to sit upright through the practice.
  • You can choose to position your hands in your lap or on your knees.
  • Relax your shoulders and jaw and lower the chin a little bit, bringing it close to the chest.
  • The eyes can be closed, slightly open, or focused on one point.
  • Bring your awareness to your breath. Notice the inhalation and exhalation.
  • If any thought arises, don’t judge yourself. Just recognize the thought, let go, and return to your breathing again.
  • Keep following your breathing and refocus each time you are distracted by something.
  • Continue to practice for a minimum of 3-5 minutes before going to bed. Slowly increase it to 10 to 15 minutes.

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

3. Body Scan Meditation For Better Sleep

Body scan meditations take more time, approximately 30-40 minutes. It is basically grounded on scanning each part of the body. When you focus on each part of the body, you can learn how to bring your full attention to the present moment. The main idea of the body scan meditation is to be aware of both pleasant and unpleasant feelings in the body and accept them as they are.

If you don’t know how to practice a body scan meditation, you can be guided through it. There are many guided body scan meditations on different platforms. Otherwise, you can follow the instructions below.

  • If you are using body scan meditation for sleep, you can lay down on your bed. It is better to close your eyes to focus your attention.
  • Bring your awareness first to your breath and notice the pressure between your body and the bed you are on. Just scan the feelings on your back or a part of the body that you want to investigate.
  • You don’t need to start from head to toe while scanning, but it can be easier to identify problem areas and add more focus if you follow this way.
  • You may feel differences in temperature, pressure, tightness, or some other feelings. Be gentle and just notice without judgment.
  • Take time and go slowly without holding your breath. If you are interrupted by any kind of thought or judgment, just acknowledge them and go back to scanning.
  • When you finish noticing all of the feelings in your body, just take a deep breath, let everything go and relax.
  • You are ready to have great sleep.

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

4. Concentration Meditation

Concentration, of course, is the basic principle of any kind of meditation. In this type of concentration, however, you choose a specific object or thing to focus on. Having a focus point may be very useful to quiet the mind and relax more easily. This object may be a candle or a mantra.

·    If you choose a physical object, rather than focusing on an abstract thing, focus on something in front of you. Try to find something about three feet up from the ground.

·     Sit upright comfortably and focus your gaze toward the object.

·    You may choose to close your eyes a bit and stay concentrated while you are breathing in and out.

If you’d rather choose a mantra to concentrate on, you have many options, but you don’t need to chant a specific one. You can choose words that may make you feel more relaxed or comfortable for that day, such as ‘I am safe’.

After that, whether you lay down or sit upright, start to repeat the mantra out loud for 3-5 minutes.

In conclusion, we all have different daily life problems and most of us have sleeping issues from time to time, whether we are young or old. Meditation before bed is one of the best options to keep our wellbeing up by creating a healthy and restful night’s sleep. We all should keep in mind that there are thousands of options to meditate, and no matter which type of meditation for sleep you choose, meditation can be a healthy and helpful addition to your routine.

Related: Resistance to Bedtime


Resistance to Bedtime

Nighttimes and going to sleep can really be a challenge for some kids. It means that they have to leave their activities, playtime, and parents and go to a dark room all by themselves left only with their imaginations. Therefore, when the parents say it’s time for bed, the resistance starts!

“Pleaseee 5 more minutes!” “Can you sleep with me please?” “Can I sleep in your bed?” “I don’t want to go to sleep!!!”

Sometimes you think that your child is in his or her room sleeping when suddenly you see a little silhouette in the corridor or hear a voice saying,

“Mommy, I want water!!”, “Daddy, I am scared, come!”

This resistance can turn into a huge struggle every night for some families. To beat this resistance together with your child, you should help him or her to build coping skills to deal with feelings of discomfort and increase self-regulation.

Understand what your child is feeling

Why is your child resisting bedtime? Is it because he does not like his room? Is she scared of the dark or the monsters or the sounds coming from the window? Does he think that something bad is going to happen to you, the parents, while he is asleep? Does she feel safe in her room? Or it is just that he does not want to leave you? As a parent, you can ask your child why she does not want to sleep. Give him the space to talk about his fears, and listen to them. Empathize with her feelings. “I can understand that in the dark you get really scared, but I will help you to be more comfortable.”

Why is your child resisting bedtime?

Establish a bedtime routine

For this, you can come up with a secret word with your child. When you say the secret word, it means that your child needs to get ready for bed. Establish the steps to get ready. Brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, picking up toys, taking a glass of water from the kitchen, saying goodnight to everyone in the house, etc. It is important to consistently repeat the same routine in the same order every night. Your child can do these steps by himself, but monitoring will be needed.

Read a bedtime story

Before your child falls asleep, spend five minutes talking or reading a story. Your child may want to share her ideas and thoughts after a long day. Spending this time together will help your child relax and ease into sleep.

Use a security object

This may help the child to cope with his discomfort and to feel safer. This object may be any kind of soft toy that the child is willing to sleep with.

Read a bedtime story for bedtime resistance

Leave the door open or turn on a night light

This may help the child to cope with the uncomfortable feelings that she experiences at night and feel safer; she will thus be able to sleep more easily.

Make your child’s bed a safe space

This will help your child to cope with his insecurities regarding bedtime. Your child needs to feel that her room is safe and that she can stay there by herself. To provide this security, you need to have your child sleep in his own bed consistently. Whenever she comes to you, you need to take her back to her own bed and stay a little while until she falls back asleep. If the child has trouble falling asleep, instead of the child waking up and coming to you, you can agree to check up on him every 15 minutes. This will also give the child an opportunity to practice to cope with her feelings. 15 minutes alone is less scary than the whole night!

It takes patience and persistence for parents to help their children have a good night’s sleep!


Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep