Environmental and Lifestyle Changes for Better Sleep

Having trouble making it through the night without waking? Consider these smart strategies.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

For those on a quest to fall asleep—and stay asleep—at night, sometimes small adjustments to your daily routine can make a big difference. Consider these four environmental and lifestyle changes that can help set the mood for better sleep.

Invest in Blackout Curtains

Dark rooms support better sleep, as light exposure can interfere with circadian rhythms, the daily cycle that tells your body when to wake up and when to fall asleep. For those living on a bright street or in a place where the sun sets late during certain times of the year, hang heavy, thick curtains over the window. As a rule, darker-colored curtains are also more effective than lighter shades at blocking out the sunlight.

Remove Electronic Devices

Outside light isn’t the only source of bedroom brightness: Electronic devices are increasingly becoming bedtime companions, but the blue light they emit suppresses the production of melatonin, a chemical that tells the body when it’s time to sleep. Although certain screen protectors claim to block out these blue-light wavelengths, the safest approach is to put all phones, tablets, and laptops away an hour before going to bed and read a book instead.

Eat Smart

In addition to tweaks you can make to your evening routine, there are changes you can make throughout the day that will pay off at bedtime. For instance, following a healthy meal plan and avoiding foods with processed sugar will help keep your energy levels even throughout the day and night.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is also important. In fact, just 10 minutes of activity a day can improve the quality of your nighttime sleep and lower your risk for conditions including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Focus on aerobic activities like jogging, biking, or hitting the gym.