The Perfect Recipe for Better Sleep: Time, Food, and Exercise

A young woman waking up.

National Sleepy Head Day is a Finnish tradition celebrated on July 27. This tradition enforces the better practice of getting out of bed before 7 am. (Image: Undrey via Dreamstime)

How does one fall asleep and get better sleep? Have you ever wondered what makes the difference between going to bed and waking up revitalized or just rolling out of bed feeling worn out?

Getting better sleep is considered to be the hardest thing ever for certain people. People who struggle to sleep usually create bad habits, making it even more difficult for them to change.

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How to get a better sleep

Create a consistent sleeping schedule

If you can’t control when you fall asleep, you can try to control when you wake up. This means setting both a sleeping alarm and a wake-up alarm.

To get better sleep, be sure to set an alarm not just to wake up, but also as a reminder of when it's time to go to bed.
To get better sleep, be sure to set an alarm not just to wake up, but also as a reminder of when it’s time to go to bed. (Image: Welcomia via Dreamstime)

If you struggle to fall asleep on the first day of doing this, you’ll feel tired the whole day after that. You’ll have to fight this sleepiness to fall asleep when you hear your sleeping alarm.

Take advantage of naps

Naps are a great way to recharge if you take advantage of them correctly. There are different types of naps a 15-minute nap and a 30-minute nap.

Taking an hour-long nap could affect your overall sleeping schedule, especially if it is outside a consistent time. Make sure to set strict nap times throughout the day, ideally with one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

If you do not feel sleepy during your quick nap time, close your eyes and rest anyway, so as not to break the routine.

Avoid oversleeping or breaking your habits

Avoid taking a cheat nap when you feel tired or sleeping after you’ve heard your alarm. One of the easiest ways to break your good habits is to sleep in late. 

Setting up multiple alarms helps, but the best thing to do is to adopt the mindset of waking up immediately.

Don’t sleep when you’re full

Avoid dozing off when you’re full. Instead of taking an after-dinner or after-lunch nap immediately, make sure you fight the drowsiness.

You should avoid taking naps when you are full because there is a big chance of oversleeping. The best way to avoid this is to ensure your food has been digested before taking a nap.

Aside from watching your schedules, creating healthy habits is equally important for better sleep.

Create an exercise routine

Have a fixed time to exercise. One great way to do this is to do a cardio exercise the moment you wake up to get your blood pumping and exercise the sleepiness away.

Young man doing stretching to prepare for exercise at home in the living room.
Doing a cardio exercise the moment you wake up is a good way to get your blood pumping and exercise the sleepiness away. (Image: Bohdana Smiian via Dreamstime)

If exercising in the morning isn’t your thing, make sure not to exercise past three hours before your sleeping time. Exercise is a great way to boost your energy, which is why most people recommend doing it earlier during the day.

Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine

Smoking or having a cup of coffee right before bed might help you unwind, but it also affects the quality of your sleep. To get better sleep, the best solution is to avoid caffeine and nicotine.

Since some people can’t function without either, the next best thing would be to avoid caffeine and nicotine before sleeping. The same goes for alcohol.

Don’t drink too many liquids before bed

Drinking too many liquids before bed will make you want to go to the bathroom later. Either drink liquids earlier in the evening to give you enough time to make those last bathroom trips or just drink an extremely small amount to get rid of the thirsty feelings.

For better sleep, a rule of thumb would be to drink enough during dinner to avoid having to go to the bathroom. This is because some people find sleeping hard after waking up to go to the bathroom.

When trying to get a good night’s sleep, mixing healthy habits with good scheduling is perfect. Be strict on your food, exercise, and sleeping time to get better sleep.

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