How to Get Better Sleep (Expert Tips)

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

how to sleep better

The world has trouble sleeping, and it’s not getting any better.

A global study found that 37% of the general population experienced sleep problems since the beginning of the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, more than a third of Americans could not sleep the recommended seven hours a night.

Let’s dive into these researched facts and find the real answer to how to sleep better and get an all-night, sound snooze. 

7 Signs You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep

1. You Feel Sleepy All Day (Sleep Inertia)

Sleep inertia is a period of sleepiness paired with poor cognitive abilities. This is a normal occurrence when you wake up; however, feeling like this all day is a definite sign that you have sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep.

2. You Don’t Have an Appetite

When you sleep, your body consumes energy from the food you eat. If you feel full or don’t feel like eating when you wake up, it is possible that you did not sleep soundly enough.

3. You Frequently Wake Up in the Middle of the Night

Many factors contribute to restless sleep, but the most common effect is waking up in the middle of the night.  If you frequently wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, you’re at risk of not getting enough hours of sleep.

4. You Take Excessively Long Naps During the Day

According to sleep researchers, the average nap should last between 10 and 20 minutes. Going past the recommended 20 minutes can convert your nap into a longer REM sleep cycle. When you wake up, you feel groggier, and that’s never fun.

taking a nap on the couch

5. You Have Poor Concentration All Day

As mentioned above, lack of sleep can increase your sleep inertia – grogginess and poor cognitive abilities after waking up. This translates into poor concentration that affects you at work, school, or home.

6. You Are Stressed or Agitated Easily

Not having enough sleep can increase your anxiety and stress because of increased cortisol, the stress hormone. Without sleep, your cortisol levels stay up. This then translates into you feeling stress and agitation throughout your day.

7. Inability to Fall Asleep Easily at Night

There are many reasons why people can’t fall asleep at night. These can include:

  • Insomnia              
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Associated medical conditions
  • Certain medication

Aside from medical conditions, activities might heighten your restlessness by increasing your cortisol levels and decreasing your melatonin. Some examples include:

  • Watching scary or exciting movies
  • Using gadgets that emit blue light
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Overeating before bed
  • Having an uncomfortable sleep environment
  • Drinking caffeine late in the afternoon
  • Keeping the lights on when it’s time for bed

Regardless of these reasons, there is always a way to improve your sleep quality or learn better sleep habits. That is why we compiled a list of effective ways to get a better night’s sleep.

25 Tips to Get Better Sleep

The critical thing to remember is that changing your sleeping habits is a process. It may take some time but developing new habits can help you get better sleep, as we will explain here.

Optimize Your Sleep Environment

1. Clean Your Bedroom

Make sure that you have a space conducive to sleep. A messy bedroom can keep you up at night.. While others can handle a few bits and pieces of trash tossed around, studies show that a clean bedroom promotes better sleep quality.

lying on her messy bed

2. Remove Any Items that Promotes Activities Before Bed

These can include handheld gadgets, televisions, arts and crafts supplies, etc. Don’t give yourself a chance to stimulate your brain before going to bed. Remove or store all the things that might distract you.

3. Get Rid of Any Noise

If you can, soundproof your bedroom so you won’t hear any noises from outside. A thick curtain can do the trick, but you can also invest in soundproofing panels. The most affordable option, however, is earplugs.

4. Fix Your Lighting Situation

Our brains produce melatonin, the sleep hormone, by observing cues that signal our bodies need to sleep. The main cue melatonin looks for is a change in lighting.

Bright, warm light decreases melatonin, thereby waking us up. Dark and dim light increases melatonin. That is why we feel energized at dawn and tired at dusk.

Sleep specialists advise that you sleep without any light at all, if possible. In the morning, they suggest getting enough light exposure to decrease the melatonin in your body. Here are some ways to achieve that:

Before Sleeping

  • Turn off all the lights 30 to 120 minutes before you sleep.
  • Sleep with blackout curtains if there is artificial light outside your window or wear a sleep eye mask.
  • Do not use gadgets that emit blue light, such as mobile phones, tablets, etc.
  • Do not watch television or videos on your computer at least an hour before sleeping.
  • If you must use gadgets, use a blue-light-blocking pair of glasses.
  • If you can, invest in a light alarm – an alarm clock that turns on a bright light beside your bed. This is best for people who have blackout curtains.

When You Wake Up

  • Once you wake up, open your curtains, and get some sunlight.
  • Go outside and bask in the sun for a bit. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen!
  • If the weather is cloudy or overcast, use artificial light instead. Turn on as many lights as you can as you go about your morning routine.

5. Make Your Bed as Comfortable as Possible

Sleep quality is known to be connected to the quality of your bed. This includes your pillow, pillowcases, blankets, and mattress.

cozy and comfortable bed

A comfortable bed is a properly made-up bed. The bedsheet should be stretched out. Your pillowcases should be clean. Next, your blanket and mattress should not have debris or dust while you sleep.

Lastly, you should be sleeping in a bed with an optimal temperature. Choose the right thickness of blanket and mattress depending on the weather.

Choose Relaxing Activities Before You Head to Bed

6. Keep Your Adrenaline in Check

An adrenaline rush with a nice crash can help you sleep better. However, some activities can promote too much stimulation, which is why you should not be doing these before going to sleep:

  • Video Games – We put this as the number one activity on what not to do because studies have shown that playing video games before bed is associated with poor sleep.
  • Watching/Reading Scary, Traumatic, or Exciting Movies/Books – Watching or reading anything that can stimulate your senses can affect the quality of your sleep. A study found that watching scary movies before bed can occasionally lead to poor sleep quality for as long as several months.
  • Smoking or Drinking Alcohol – Cigarettes and nicotine products are stimulants that can keep you up. Alcohol may make you sleepy, but it prevents you from transitioning into a deep sleep – the part of the sleep cycle that helps regenerate our energy. 
  • Engage in Conflict – The phrase “Don’t go to bed angry” does not just apply to couples. Studies show that arguing with someone or engaging in a heated discourse can disrupt your sleep. The heightened anxiety and stress can cause cortisol levels to go up and prevent you from sleeping. Conversely, not getting enough sleep also leads to more conflict.

7.  Do a Mind Dump

One of the things that can keep us up at night is our thoughts. A mind dump can be done by writing in a journal to express lingering thoughts, frustrations, or anything that may bother you before bed. Besides that, journaling also helps you fall asleep, especially if you write your to-do list for the next day.

8. Meditate

The problem with advising people to meditate is that science has been overshadowed by mixed messages from gurus, life coaches, and mass media. Yet, meditating before bed significantly improves sleep quality and also helps you sleep faster. It’s not all hype, it’s science.

9. Do a Gratefulness Exercise

Another new age activity that has become a trend is gratitude exercises. There are gratitude journals, gratitude rampages, gratitude meditations, etc.

woman doing exercise outdoor

Fortunately, doing gratitude exercises does improve sleep quality. We recommend journaling a gratitude list or thinking about what you are grateful for that day for some bonus dream-like sleep.

10.  Listen to Bedtime Stories

If you are willing to try new activities to go to bed, why not try something that goes way back several millennia – listening to stories.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that bedtime stories help people sleep easier unless they dislike hearing any sound before bed. While the research only covers children, doctors are optimistic about the results and how listening to bedtime stories may apply to adults.

Start New Habits Conducive to Sleeping

11.  Have a Routine

Researchers found that you are more likely to stick to your sleeping habits when you have a routine. A daily routine starts from the morning you wake up until you go to bed. You will also benefit from a pre-bedtime routine because it improves the quality of your sleep.

12.  Stick to a Schedule

The difference between a routine and a schedule is timing. If you stick to your schedule, you are more likely to stick to your routine and bedtime. Having a set bedtime improves your sleep quality. 

13.  Practice Good Hygiene

Earlier, we discussed having a clean sleeping space; having a clean body has the same effect. Practicing good hygiene, such as brushing your teeth before bed, changing your clothes, or taking a shower (ideally between 104 and 108.5°F), helps you feel more comfortable before sleeping.

14.  Start a New Relaxing Hobby

Since relaxation is connected to improved sleep quality, performing a relaxing hobby at night can help you sleep better. Doing a relaxing hobby replaces the usual stimulating activities such as playing video games, watching television, or going out for drinks.

15.  Work Out

Studies show a connection between working out and sleeping better. When you work out regularly, your body becomes healthier. A healthier body has a more balanced production of hormones like melatonin and cortisol.

Eat Healthier

16.  First, Don’t Eat Before Bed

Eating a meal before bed, also known as “nocturnal eating,” negatively affects your sleep quality. This is the result of the discomfort after eating and the lack of digestive activity while sleeping.

eating before bed

17.  If You’re Hungry, Eat These

Going to sleep hungry doesn’t equate to good sleep quality either. It also causes you to eat more calories the next day. You can’t eat. You should eat. Which is it? Experts suggest eating 4 hours before bed to not feel hungry or full before sleeping.

In this case, eat single-nutrient food or a small meal with no more than 150kCal or drink specific liquids to satisfy your hunger before bed. Examples include:

  • Nuts
  • Milk or variations of Vegan Milk
  • Fatty Fish
  • Herbal/Floral Tea (No Caffeine)
  • Bananas
  • Kiwis

18.  Add These to Your Diet

Aside from what you eat before bed, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat and drink during the day. According to one study, eating high-fat, high-carb food during the day is related to lower sleep-onset latency. In layman’s terms, sleepiness. To get better sleep quality, researchers suggest eating low-carbohydrate and low-sugar food. Some supplements can also help you sleep better.

19.  Remove or Regulate These in Your Diet

As mentioned above, remove high-fat and high-carb food from your diet if you want to sleep better. Aside from that, you should also regulate your caffeine intake, sugar intake, and protein intake. Too much of all of these can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

20.  Stay Mindful About What You Put in Your Body

Knowing what to consume and not to consume is not the same as practicing it. Being mindful helps you stick to new eating habits and diets. Some mindfulness tips include:

  • Meditation
  • Scattering notes around your home or workspace
  • Adding reminders to your phone and computer
  • Telling yourself to apply these new habits in the am and the pm.

Get the Help You Need

21.  Find Out if You Have a Sleep Disorder

Visit your doctor and ask for an evaluation. They can determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder or if other factors are causing your sleep problems.

The process can take some time because they will start with a basic checkup, cross out all the different reasons you have trouble sleeping, and suggest a visit to a sleep clinic for a full line of battery tests.

22.  Learn How to Sleep Better from Experts

Knowing how to sleep better is great, but not everyone knows exactly how to do it or if they can stick to the process. One barrier is knowing whether the advice you get is ideal for your situation.

consult with a doctor on how to sleep better

This is where active learning comes in. You can find sleep resources online from reputable sites like:

  • Harvard
  • Sleep Foundation
  • CDC
  • and more!

23.  Check Reputable Sources on Social Media

You can also find helpful sources on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Licensed doctors and sleep specialists are doing their best to educate the general public about sleep health using these platforms. The best part about it is that it’s free.

Here are some of recommended sleep videos and resources:

24.  Sleep and Wellness Coaches

These experts usually help individuals with sleep disorders or trouble sleeping due to other physical or mental issues.

They serve as the solution between DIY sleeping education and sleep center treatments. Some sleep coaching programs are found in hospitals, others work directly with you, and a few offer their services online.

25.  Have a Sleep Accountability Partner

According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, an accountability partner can help you stick to forming a new sleep habit.

“An accountability partner can create an immediate cost to inaction. We care deeply about what others think of us, and we do not want others to have a lesser opinion of us.”

Ask a friend or a loved one to help you reach your goal. Even telling them your plans gives you a sense of responsibility that keeps you in check. Examples of ways an accountability partner can help includes:

  • Making a promise to your accountability partner
  • Asking them to remind you of your bedtime – more than once if necessary!
  • Having more than one accountability partner in case the other is unavailable or if you need more support

You won’t succeed all the time, but your accountability partner will be there to keep you on track.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

The morning grogginess, the moodiness, the lack of attention, don’t you hate a lack of sleep? Ever heard the saying, “you snooze, you lose”? Well, in this case, if you snooze, you win! “

Poor sleep quality is no laughing matter. It can stir up several issues, such as:

Compromised Immune Systems

Lack of sleep compromises your immune system by decreasing the production of hormones called cytokines. This hormone helps protect our bodies from viruses, infections, and inflammation while we sleep. With sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep, we are more likely to get sick.

woman crying near the window

Mental Health Problems

While insomnia is a symptom of some mental health issues, more mental conditions can stem from poor sleep quality. If you don’t get enough sleep or have trouble sleeping, it can lead to anxiety, stress, mood disorders, and chemical imbalances in the brain.

Concentration Problems

The long-term adverse effect of poor concentration due to sleep deprivation may affect your personal life, career, and social life. Not being able to concentrate can lead to making poor decisions.

It can also be dangerous when you need to perform daily activities like driving or using tools that need proper handling, such as knives, power tools, etc.

Poor Social Skills

Sleep deprivation also causes stress and agitation, leading to poor social communication. You may get angry quickly or not be able to express yourself clearly. This is also important when communication is vital to your work, such as in the medical field, law enforcement, and many others.

Serious Medical Conditions

A human being can last an average of three days without sleep. The idea that we will die if we stay up that long isn’t as realistic as theorists believe. In truth, after three days without sleep, you may just pass out from sleep deprivation. However, not sleeping properly can lead to serious physical medical conditions such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Why is Getting High-Quality Sleep Important?

Good sleep habits are rewarded with a healthy mind and body. Studies have shown that sleeping the recommended 7-8 hours reaps benefits such as:

  • Improving our immune system
  • Normalizing our metabolism
  • Improving our memory
  • Enhances our learning ability

Supplements to Improve Sleep Quality

How can you get better sleep? Follow the tips mentioned above can help you make significant changes in your sleep quality. You can also take best mood boosting supplements approved by the FDA to help you sleep better.

BrandSuperhumn Serenity Mood Enhancementmindbodygreen sleep support+Nature’s Bounty MelatoninHum Mighty Night™
Valerian Root*  *
Passion Flower*  *
Hop flower*  *
St. Johns Wort*   
Lemon Balm*   
Ashwaghanda Root*   
Holy Basil Leaf*   
Sleep Improvement****
Mental Recovery*   
Promotes Relaxation ** 
Physical Recovery*   
Increased Energy When Waking Up*   
Provides Adrenal Support*   
Improves Brain Cognition*   
Reduces Gas and Bloating*   
Improves Nutrient Absorption*   
Promotes Healthy Skin   *

 When to Visit Your Doctor?

Suppose you find that after applying these lifestyle, diet, and habit changes, along with taking sleep supplements, nothing changes. Then it’s absolutely vital to get checked as soon as possible. Not being able to sleep correctly can also signify something that needs further testing and assessment by different doctors.

FAQs About Getting Better Sleep

How Do I Fix Poor Sleep?

First, find out why you have poor sleep habits. Next, make the necessary changes to your lifestyle, habits, and diet so you can sleep better. Lastly, try taking sleep supplements like Serenity to help you get the rest you need.

How Can I Get a Deep Sleep at Night?

Deep sleep is only possible if the light sleep stage is not interrupted. This can be done by following some of the tips we mentioned above, such as avoiding bright and blue light before bed, making sure your space is clean and ensuring your bedroom is as quiet as you can make it.

How To Get Better REM Sleep?

Sleep earlier than your usual sleep schedule. This will give your body enough time to acclimate to your new sleep pattern. Once you get used to a sleep schedule, you can get better and more consistent REM sleep.

woman sleeping cozy to get a better sleep

How To Get Better Sleep With Insomnia?

If you are experiencing insomnia, contact your doctor immediately. In the interim, you can try meditating, practicing relaxing activities, or taking the best natural sleep aid to help you sleep.

What Categorizes as “Better Sleep”: Rem or Deep?

Deep sleep is better than REM because the latter occurs for a short period between Non-REM and deep sleep. You start with Non-REM sleep, brief REM sleep, and deep sleep. Deep sleep is better because it is the period of the sleep cycle that helps you rejuvenate, so you feel refreshed when you wake up.

Is It Better to Sleep on Your Left Side?

It is okay to sleep on either side of your back. If you have a condition on the left side of your body, it is best to sleep on your right side or your back. Sleeping on your side is said to have health benefits such as improved gut health, brain health, back pain relief, and reduced risk of snoring and sleep apnea.

What’s the Best Sleep Position for Your Heart?

There are currently no studies advising on the best sleep position for your heart. Anyone with heart problems is recommended to sleep based on their blood pressure and heart rate. Different sleep positions address high and low blood pressure or other conditions.

Be Proactive When It Comes to Your Sleeping Habits

The best way to combat sleep issues is to find why you can’t sleep properly and how to get proper sleep. We’ve outlined research-backed advice from sleep experts so that you can finally learn how to get good sleep.

If you or your loved ones have trouble sleeping, try our Serenity supplement. Its main benefit is giving you a full night of rest while helping you wake up energized and ready to start the day.

Now that you know how to have better sleep, all that’s left is to act on these tips. If you need more help, we have a supportive community on social media. Join our facebook group today. We’d be happy to have you there.

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