(Excerpt #2 from 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night)
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.
It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep.
Here are 2 more evidence-based tips to sleep better at night.
Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
Caffeine has numerous benefits and is consumed by 90% of the US population.
A single dose can enhance focus, energy and sports performance.
However, when consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality.
Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended — especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.
If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening.
Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night.
In fact, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps.
Another study noted that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can negatively affect health and sleep quality.
However, some studies demonstrate that those who are used to taking regular daytime naps do not experience poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you shouldn’t have to worry. The effects of napping depend on the individual.
Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.