Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Publish Date January 23, 2023 3 Minute Read
Author Kroger Health Team

How did you sleep last night? If you’re like nearly one-third of Americans, your sleep habits are not the stuff that dreams are made of. And getting enough sleep is extremely important to maintaining your health.

Why Sleep is Important

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you could be increasing your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and obesity. Not sleeping enough can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight infection. Lack of sleep can also affect your mood, how you feel mentally and physically.

Think you do just fine on five hours of sleep a night? Dream on. While it’s true that the amount of sleep you need can differ from person to person, seven to nine hours a night is best for most adults.

How to Get Enough Sleep

Not being able to fall asleep can really cut into those needed hours. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to fall asleep faster and sleep better. Consider these your wake-up call to a better slumber:

1. Natural Supplements: Many herbs, amino acids and minerals have been shown to induce sleep by helping regulate brain chemicals. Try one of these:

  • Melatonin: This sleep hormone helps signal to the brain that it’s time for shut-eye. Try taking it 30-60 minutes before bed.
  • Valerian root: This herb can help you fall asleep and enjoy better sleep quality.
  • Magnesium: A mineral found in many foods, magnesium helps calm the nervous system and regulate many other crucial body systems.

Some of these supplements may interfere with other medications you take, so always check in with your healthcare provider before trying one. Need help with dosing? Discuss with your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

2. Teas for ZZZs: A cup of herbal tea before bed may help your sleep-regulating hormones do their thing. Try chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, valerian root or lavender. Tea blends containing a combo of sleepy herbs are readily available.

3. Nighttime Noshes: Some foods have sleep-friendly benefits because they contain melatonin or the amino acid tryptophan. Walnuts, almonds, bananas, milk (try it warm), tart cherries or tart cherry juice, cottage cheese topped with fruit and complex carbs like whole wheat crackers with nut butter or popcorn are all great bedtime snacks. And while you may believe turkey makes you tired, it’s only partially true. The tryptophan in turkey doesn’t enter the brain as quickly as other amino acids, like those in carb-heavy foods. So, it might in fact be the entire turkey dinner that helps make you sleepy.

4. Aromatherapy: Using essential oils has been shown to help people relax and fall asleep. Lavender is a top performer in the aroma arena. And who can resist the scent? Others to try include clary sage, spruce, chamomile or whatever mixture pleases your senses.

Tweak your Bedtime Routine

Try making these changes to your routine and your sleep environment to help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Get some exercise every day, preferably at least three hours before bed.
  • Watch your caffeine intake. Heavy meals and alcohol can also mess with your sleep.
  • Stay away from screens for an hour or two before bedtime. The blue light can disrupt your sleep.
  • Keep your room dark and cool.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime ritual: Read, listen to restful music, take a warm bath or do whatever works best for you.
  • Try to keep your mind still and let your body unwind using deep breathing techniques or by picturing a peaceful scene.

Creating a bedtime routine that is personalized to your needs is extremely important. Incorporating a few of the above tips may help to improve your sleeping habits. Sweet dreams!

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.