Getting a good night’s sleep plays a vital role in your overall health. Sleeping recharges your body and brain to help prepare and energize you for each new day.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get proper rest. If persistent insomnia keeps you up all night and feels exhausting each morning, follow these tips to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Stick to a Consistent Bedtime

Your internal circadian rhythm regulates many bodily functions like mood, body temperature, hunger, digestion, sleeping, and waking. Nodding off at different, irregular hours upsets this natural rhythm. Keeping a regular schedule helps your brain naturally start to wind down before it’s time to go to sleep, enabling you to fall asleep and get better rest.

Follow a Pre-Bedtime Routine

An easy way to transition from a busy day to a peaceful night of rest is to follow a pre-bedtime routine. You can start preparing to snooze as early as two hours or as soon as 30 minutes before your designated bedtime. Whatever steps you decide to take, work on physically and mentally winding down at the same time each night.

Exercise Regularly

Kendra Johnson, a health coach at The Health Plan, said physical activity is a great way to help get a good night’s rest.

“Exercising and being active are actually really great options to help you fight fatigue,” Johnson said. “Both can help you fall asleep easier and sleep better throughout the night, causing you to be less sleepy throughout the day.”

Cut Caffeine Around Midday

You’re not alone if you need a caffeine boost to kickstart the day – but the last thing you want to do is chug a soda or a cup of coffee right before you attempt to go to sleep. The caffeine in these enjoyable drinks stimulates your brain. To avoid staying wired and awake at night, stop caffeine intake at midday or right after lunch.

Eat Foods That Promote Better Sleep

What you eat not only impacts your overall health, but also affects the duration and quality of your sleep. For example, everyone feels sleepy after eating Thanksgiving turkey, right? That’s because the popular source of protein contains an amino acid called tryptophan – along with chicken, fish, and some dairy products like milk and low-fat cheese.

Other sleep-friendly foods include tart cherries and tart cherry juice. They both contain melatonin – which is a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Certain carbs like white bread and pasta also promote sleep, along with serotonin-rich dark chocolate, bananas, rice, kiwi, nuts, and fatty fish.

Photo: andresr via gettyimages.com

Keep Your Sleep Space Dark and Cool

Being too hot or bathed in the light will keep you awake. Dial down the thermostat and cover windows with heavy curtains or shades to create a dark, cool sleep haven. You can also take a lukewarm shower to cool down and relax before climbing into bed.

Turn Off Devices

Many of us are tethered to smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other electronic devices. To get to sleep faster, don’t use any of these in the bedroom – especially after the bedtime routine alarm sounds. In general, turn off and tune out devices to make sure your sleeping quarters are a quiet, relaxing oasis.

Read, Meditate, or Write in Your Journal

Reading, meditating, or writing in a journal are quiet bedtime activities that can help you relax, reflect, and reduce stress so you can get some rest. Once your body is used to this routine every night, it’ll start to wind down on its own.

Overall, incorporating these suggestions into your nightly routine can help you sleep better and longer!

Active Aging is presented by The Health Plan. Established as a community health organization, The Health Plan delivers a clinically-driven, technology-enhanced, customer-focused platform by developing and implementing products and services that manage and improve the health and well-being of our members. We achieve these results through a team of healthcare professionals and partners across our community