Are you wondering: “How to increase the quality of sleep?” Improving the quality of your sleep is a goal that everyone should strive for. Good sleep is not just determined by how many hours you sleep per night. Even if you're getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep (1) (2), when the quality of your sleep isn't optimal, your health, as well as mental and physical performance, will suffer and won't be optimal.
Perhaps your sleep gets interrupted at night by vivid dreams, discomfort, or the urge to go to the bathroom. Or perhaps you sleep through the night but don't wake up feeling well-rested and you want to know how to fix it.
In this article, we're exploring how to increase the quality of sleep at night. Your future self will thank you for implementing these strategies.
How to Increase the Quality of Sleep Naturally
Here are 9 things we recommend you do to get a better night’s rest and to wake up feeling like your best self.
If you eat a large meal before bed, which your body has to digest, your quality of sleep will suffer as your body will be forced to take on the task of digestion instead of using all your energy for rest and recovery. There are various processes your body needs to go through at night, and you don't want to take away energy and blood flow from those important tasks to be used for digestion.
Eating a large meal before bed can result in acid reflux, which will make it harder to fall asleep. A full belly can also cause some discomfort, and even if you manage to fall asleep, you could be tossing and turning as a result of your discomfort and your quality of sleep will suffer.
Your digestive system functions differently while sleeping than during the day. This includes your gut motility (movements of your digestive system), digestion, nutrient absorption, and secretion. Gastric contractions decrease with the depth of sleep and colonic motility is usually suppressed while sleeping, which is something to keep in mind. (5) (6)
In one study, researchers looked at meal timing before bed and how it affected sleep quality in young adults. They looked at how eating within three hours of going to bed affected the sleep quality in subjects compared to those who stopped eating 3 hours before bed. They found that those who ate close to bedtime tended to wake up more frequently during the night and experienced disrupted sleep. (7)
Rather have a small meal before bed if you must eat something. But it's better to get into the habit of not eating 2 to 3 hours before bed and to ensure you eat enough before then.
The wrong sleep temperature can make it very difficult to get high-quality sleep. You don't want to be too hot or too cold as both can leave you tossing and turning at night and cause discomfort.
Your body is actually meant to cool down at night for quality sleep. (8) When researchers compared subjects who slept in a semi-nude state compared to when they were dressed in warm clothing and under warm bedding, they found that heat exposure can decrease slow wave sleep, as well as rapid eye movement sleep and also increase wakefulness.(9)
You can adjust the thermostat if you have one to cool down the room, wear something with a breathable fabric, keep a window open to allow a cool breeze to enter the room in the warmer months, use a fan, and get the right sheets for the season you’re in.
Taking a warm bath or shower 2 hours before bed can actually trigger a natural cool-down effect in your body. How exactly? This is partly because the vasodilation you experience as a result cools down the body. (10)
If you’re generally too warm at night, consider getting a cooling pad to sleep on. You can adjust the temperature to suit you and it will ensure that your body stays cool enough throughout the entire night.
Are you the type of person that can consume caffeine and still fall asleep afterwards? Even if your evening espresso doesn't make it hard for you to fall asleep, it can still make it difficult for you to get quality sleep. Imagine how good the quality of your sleep could be if you didn't have caffeine running through your veins and stimulating your nervous system.
Did you know that caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours for the average adult? This means that if you drink a cup of coffee containing 200 mg of caffeine, 5 hours later, half of that caffeine will still be in your system. So, even if your last cup of coffee was at 5 pm, for example, by 10 pm, you’ll still have half a cup's worth of caffeine in your system. The last thing you want while sleeping is having a stimulant running through your veins. (11)
In one study, subjects were given a 400 mg dose of caffeine 6, 3, and 0 hours before their usual bedtime and found that, compared to those taking a placebo, there was a reduction in total sleep time even when the caffeine was consumed 6 hours before bed. (12)
Caffeine can not only shorten total sleep time, but it can also make it harder to fall asleep, decrease sleep efficiency, and worsen the perceived quality of sleep. (13)
How can you still have your coffee without it affecting the quality of your sleep? Limit your caffeine intake to earlier in the day so that by the time you have to go to bed, most or hopefully all the caffeine will be out of your system and it won't have a chance to disrupt your sleep.
Are you able to fall asleep in front of the TV or immediately after scrolling on social media for an hour? Even if doing so doesn't make it harder for you to fall asleep, blue light exposure can interfere with the quality of your sleep by interfering with melatonin production. Melatonin isn't just important for helping you fall asleep, but it plays a role in increasing sleep quality too. (14) (15)
When researchers from Harvard conducted an experiment where they wanted to see how blue light exposure compared to green, they tested the impact of 6.5 hours of blue light exposure to green light exposure of the same brightness and duration. They found that melatonin production was suppressed for twice as long with the blue light compared to the green. It also shifted the circadian rhythms of subjects by twice the amount of time. Blue light shifted the circadian rhythm by roughly 3 hours compared to 1,5 hours with the green light. (16)
If you must work on your computer, be on your phone, or watch TV at night, there are things you can do to reduce your blue light exposure. You can get blue-light blocking glasses to wear at night and get a blue light filter on your phone and computer screen that goes on at a certain time of day. (17)
Learning how to increase the quality of sleep at night can start with what you do in the morning. How? Getting bright blue light exposure in the morning and early in the day can set you up for quality sleep at night by helping to regulate your circadian rhythm. Blue light exposure in the morning can result in melatonin being produced earlier in the evening. Researchers discovered this by exposing subjects to bright blue light in the morning, as well as dim light, and then measuring their melatonin and cortisol levels at regular intervals throughout the day. (18) (19)
The idea is that you want to mimic the light cycle of the sun. Aim for bright blue light in the morning, which is what the sun emits most at that time and limit blue light in the evening and opt for red light if you can. (20) You can get a red light or red light therapy device to use in the evening and go for a walk just before sunset to expose your body to the light spectrum of the sun at that time.
How dark is your room at night? Is there light coming in your window from outside? Are there sources of light in the room like a light from an alarm clock, your computer, or your phone charging?
Making your room as dark as possible can increase your sleep quality. Being in darkness signals to your body that it's nighttime and it's time to prepare for sleep. Your body will start to produce melatonin in response to the darkness. (21) (22)
Get blackout curtains to stop light from coming in your window, get rid of any sources of light in your room and embrace the darkness for good sleep. Even dim light can lower the quality of your sleep. (23)
Comfort is key when it comes to increased sleep quality.
If you want to increase the quality of your sleep, you need to optimise your sleep space.
Is it time for a new, more comfortable mattress? Perhaps you need more comfortable bedding and new pillows.
When researchers took a group of older adults who had musculoskeletal pain, they compared their sleep quality on a medium-firm mattress versus a high-firm mattress and found that the subject experienced a shorter sleep onset latency, meaning they could fall asleep faster and experienced a slight increase in their sleep efficiency. Their musculoskeletal pain was also improved with a medium-firm mattress. If it's helpful for older adults in pain, a medium-firm mattress is perhaps a good option for all who want to increase the quality of their sleep. (26)
Another group of researchers compared controlled trials, which compared various mattresses including soft, firm, medium-firm, and custom-inflated mattresses. They found that a medium-firm and custom-inflated mattress were both ideal and increased sleep quality, spinal alignment, and overall sleep comfort. (27)
As for your pillow, you might want to go for an orthopaedic pillow if you really want to invest in your sleep. A small study found that an orthopaedic pillow instead of a memory foam or feather pillow is better for sleep quality. (28)
Exercising regularly can significantly increase your sleep quality. This is because exercise boosts serotonin production, lowers cortisol levels, and can help regulate your circadian rhythm. (29) (30) Serotonin is needed for relaxation and can be used to make melatonin (31), while cortisol can actually keep you awake. In fact, your body starts to release cortisol in the mornings to help you wake up. (32)
Working out early in the day is also better than working out in the evening when it comes to sleep quality. When researchers looked at the effects of doing aerobic exercise at different times of the day (7 am vs 1 pm vs 7 pm), they found that morning exercise resulted in it taking less time to fall asleep for subjects, more time spent in deep sleep, and less waking up at night. (33)
If you’re wondering how to increase the quality of sleep, one of the most powerful steps you can take is to supplement your diet strategically. The right natural supplements can make a huge difference in improving sleep quality. We suggest:
- Passionflower, which can increase melatonin production at night. (34)
- Valerian root, which can reduce stress and anxiety, calm the body, and make it easier to fall asleep. (35) (36) (37)
- Magnesium, which increases relaxation. (38)
- Hydrolysed collagen, which contains the amino acid glycine, which has been shown to help those taking it before bed fall asleep faster. (39) (40)
- Jujube seed extract, which increased sleep quality in a study on postmenopausal women. (41)
All these ingredients can actually be found in our Deep Sleep Mode supplement. It can help increase your sleep quality in various ways, including:
- Increasing melatonin production by roughly 71%
- Helping you fall asleep twice as quickly
- Helping you get 90 minutes more restorative sleep each night
- Helping you get uninterrupted sleep for 7 to 9 hours
- Tripling your production of the neurotransmitter serotonin will help you get deeper REM sleep
When you start to take Deep Sleep Mode, you should experience a noticeable difference within the first 9 days.
Now that you know how to increase the quality of sleep, you should experience a noticeable difference after incorporating the recommendations we gave above.
You should wake up feeling more rested, have increased energy throughout your days, experience less disrupted sleep, and notice improvements in other areas of your life such as your mental and physical performance.