For many, a good night’s sleep may seem unattainable, but achieving a great rest may be easier than you think. Your quality of sleep is affected by far more than the sounds and lighting in your bedroom, in fact, your ability to get a good night’s sleep is most affected by what you do during the day. Changing aspects of your daily routine can be difficult, but we're here to help! Here are some of the lifestyle factors that have the greatest impact you your sleep.
Caffeine is commonly consumed and found in many foods and drinks, so it is easy to forget that it is a powerful stimulant that greatly affects the body. Studies have shown caffeine's ability to shift your circadian clock, which guides the body to fall asleep easily and in line with a consistent sleep schedule1. Caffeine has also been associated with reduced sleep quality, increased daytime sleepiness, shorter total sleep time, worsened perceived sleep quality and more frequent awakenings2.
A good place to start is to identify your caffeine intake, which may mean realizing the sources of caffeine you are consuming that you may not have considered before. Treats like chocolate, decaf coffee (yes, decaf coffee still contains some caffeine) and ice cream have caffeine in them, so be aware of your intake if you are trying to limit your caffeine amount. Some healthier alternatives to caffeine and coffee that still give you an energy boost include green juice, herbal tea, water, and fruit smoothies.
Many have lost sleep due to stress, and chronic stress levels are associated with decreased sleep duration, less quality sleep, impaired memory, and even more stress3. A body’s hormonal stress response can be triggered by a numerous amount of situations that may be out of your control, but how you deal with them is something you are able to change.
Lifestyle changes to promote a better state of mental health are greatly recommended. This could mean increasing physical activity which significantly improves mood and overall wellness, and also helps you sleep better. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and routine that is full of self-care rituals are also great ways to take care of yourself and your sleep. Implementing relaxation techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, and breathing exercises can help ease racing thoughts. Talking to a friend, seeing a counsellor, and getting help when you need it is also a very impactful way to manage stress and anxiety. For a list of mental health resources for wherever you are in the world, click here.
Alcohol sometimes is consumed in the hopes of helping one get to sleep due to its effect of drowsiness on the body, but doing this is reported to jeopardize sleep quality4. The intake of alcohol can interrupt your circadian rhythm, waking you before you are truly rested, and blocking REM sleep which is the most restorative. Consumption also affects the muscles in your throat, increasing the chance of snoring and sleep apnea (which both negatively impact sleep quality).
To best prevent the negative impacts drinking has on sleep while not completely giving it up, it is recommended to limit consumption to one to two drinks when you decide to drink, and to stop drinking three hours before you hope to fall asleep.5
Ones weight, and more specifically their body fat percentage, can significantly influence their ability to get a beneficial sleep. A study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that when it comes to weight loss and sleep, a reduction in belly fat is the best predictor of improved sleep.6 Participants of this study who had sleep problems such as sleep apnea, daytime fatigue, insomnia, restless sleep and excessive sleep found that their overall sleep improved on a weight-loss diet and exercise. The study found that it didn’t make a difference if participants lost weight through diet or exercise, but it was the reduction in weight that was a key determinant of improved sleep quality.
The chances of having sleep apnea are also increased as weight increases. An increased amount of fat in the neck area can cause obstructed breathing, and lead to both snoring and sleep apnea. The National Sleep Foundation states that doctors recommend weight loss as the first lifestyle remedies to treating sleep apnea, and losing just 10% of body weight can improve, or even get rid of, sleep apnea7.
Both exercise and diet play significant roles in weight control, and developing healthier habits around nutrition and physical activity are essential to a good sleep. Implementing a change to both exercise and diet can take a considerable amount of time and effort, so starting out with small and significant changes, such as filling your body with the right nutrients, can make a huge difference.
The makers of Good Morning Snore Solution, MPowrx Health and Wellness (MPowrx), have been hard at work, and we’re thrilled to announce that MPowrx will soon be launching a brand new product that is clinically proven to help achieve a healthy weight for a better sleep and better quality of life. To learn more about this new product, click here.