As a new year begins, making sure you get enough high-quality sleep is more important than ever for both mental and physical health. Sleep not only improves your mood and overall health, but it also helps minimize the risk of health conditions like heart disease and dementia.
If you’re looking to prioritize your sleep in the new year, explore our favorite strategies and tips for better sleep that will leave you feeling well-rested and ready to tackle 2024 and beyond.
Stick to a Consistent Schedule
Your body’s circadian rhythm is what influences your sleep schedule. This 24-hour cycle regulates your hormones, appetite, temperature, and sleep. Unexpected disruptions to this schedule, like late nights out on Friday or sleeping in on Saturday—while they may feel more restful at the time—can lead to decreased sleep quality and increased tiredness.
To ensure your circadian rhythm stays aligned with your lifestyle, prioritize waking up and going to bed around the same time every night. This allows your body to get into a routine, makes it easier to fall asleep, and helps you wake up feeling more rested and refreshed.
Exercise is not only good for your overall health and well-being, but it can improve your sleep, too. Just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can improve your sleep quality the very same night. Other workouts, like weight lifting or yoga, can also improve sleep quality. Just be conscious of not exercising too late in the evening, as the rush of endorphins and raised body temperature can make it hard to fall asleep soon afterward.
Limit Screen Time
While many people use screen time as a way to relax in the evenings, it could be secretly impacting your sleep quality. Smartphones, televisions, and computers all emit blue light from their screens. Studies suggest that this blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime and suppresses melatonin, making it more difficult to drift to sleep when night rolls around.
To create healthy sleep habits, ditch all screens a few hours before bed to allow your body to adjust and prepare for a restful slumber.
Monitor the Temperature
While it may seem like a small detail, the temperature can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your sleep. As your circadian rhythm prepares you for sleep, your body temperature begins to drop slowly and continues to decrease by about 2 degrees throughout the night.
When your bedroom is too warm, however, it can make it difficult for your body to naturally cool down, hindering sleep and leading to restless nights. For the best possible sleep, try to keep your bedroom between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prioritize Daily Sun Exposure
“Light is the single most important element for setting our circadian clock, or internal 24-hour rhythm, and morning light is key,” Dr. Nathaniel Watson, a sleep specialist and professor of neurology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told WebMD. Getting outside for 30 minutes to an hour is proven to help you drift off more easily.
Though it might seem counterintuitive, getting daily exposure to sunlight will help you sleep better when bedtime rolls around. Sunlight affects your circadian rhythm, which is what signals your body that it’s time for sleep. Frequent exposure to natural sunlight can help you maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, keeping your body’s sleep schedule regulated.
Minimize Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
While caffeine and alcohol aren’t inherently bad, they can negatively impact your sleep quality. Even when consumed six hours before bed, caffeine can disrupt sleep, and while alcohol may make you feel relaxed and sleepy, it can decrease sleep quality by up to nearly 40%.
If you crave a caffeinated beverage in the afternoon, consider switching to decaf to avoid any unwanted sleep side effects. You can also still indulge in limited quantities of alcohol in the evenings but try to avoid consuming high qualities to minimize the impact on your overall sleep quality.
Lower Stress Levels
Stress has many negative effects on the body, one of which is poor sleep quality. Stress not only makes it difficult for some to fall asleep because their mind is running, but it can also impact the quality of your rest once you’re asleep.
According to the University of Utah, stress leads to more awakenings throughout the night, which leads to restless sleep and earlier-than-intended wake-ups. Over time, this can lead to extreme tiredness and irritability. To minimize stress, consider meditation, stretching, yoga, or other forms of self-care that can help you lower stress levels before bed.
Invest in Your Dream Bed
While this tip for better sleep may surprise you, creating a cozy, comfortable bed can also help you get a more restful slumber. Your pillow, mattress, and sheets all can help you relax and stay cool and comfortable throughout the night, playing an important role in your sleep quality. But there’s one element that is often overlooked when it comes to improving sleep: your bed frame.
Bed frames provide the support your mattress needs and allow the temperature of your mattress to breathe, allowing for better sleeping conditions. They also add aesthetic flair to your bedroom to create a relaxing oasis that helps you power down and prepare for quality sleep. SoftFrame Designs bed frames are crafted from luxurious high-density foam and premium upholstery to create a soft, plush bed frame. Unlike wood or metal frames that have hard edges and corners, SoftFrame bed frames are ultra-soft—and much more functional—for a bed frame that blends the best of both worlds.