Exercise, sunlight, diet – how we spend the day has a decisive influence on our sleep behavior at night. Health expert Dr. med. Alfred Wiater explains what we can do during the day to fall asleep faster in the evening and get a restful sleep.
Table of Contents
- The interaction of day and night
- Daily tips for a restful night
1. The interaction of day & night
Daylight, diet, activity level or state of health – all these factors have an influence on our nightly sleep behavior. A restful night's sleep can therefore be promoted during the day.
Dr. med. Alfred Wiater is a smartsleep expert for sleep medicine and health. As a pediatrician and former chairman of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM), he has years of experience in the field of sleep and is also very familiar with sleep disorders. Dr. med. Wiater explains to us what we can do during the day to prepare for a good night's sleep and reveals his best daily tips for a restful night.
2. Daily tips for a restful night
The following recommendations show how you can organize your day to improve your sleep and how you fall asleep in the evening.
We can promote a restful night's sleep during the day, immediately after getting up. The natural morning light with a high proportion of blue light suppresses the release of our sleep hormone melatonin. As a result, sleepiness at night slowly decreases and we become more awake. At the same time, daylight promotes the release of serotonin and cortisol levels also rise in the morning. Both hormones make us fit for the day. Serotonin also has a positive effect on our mood and is converted by our body into melatonin in the evening as darkness increases. So that we can produce enough melatonin in the evening to get to sleep well, we should get enough daylight during the day. Just spending around 15 minutes outdoors early in the morning, e.g.b on the way to work or school, helps you fall asleep better in the evening. But be careful: In the evening, bright light with a high proportion of blue light, e.g.bScreen light, the natural tiredness and should be avoided.
My recommendation: A short walk or walking to work gets both your head and your circulation going in the morning and then helps you fall asleep earlier in the evening.
The famous midday slump often encourages you to take a long nap. A power nap of a maximum of 30 minutes can be very relaxing during the day. Even a shorter nap, during which we are just about to fall asleep, is good for us and, according to current studies, even promotes our creativity. However, the timing and duration of sleep are important. Because if we sleep late and late at lunchtime, we lack the pressure to sleep in the evening and this delays falling asleep.
My recommendation: Take a short power nap around lunchtime. This brings new energy without affecting your night's sleep.
Not only does light influence our sleep-wake rhythm, but also our physical activities. Various studies have shown that exercise activities in the afternoon have a positive effect on sleep behavior. This not only applies to adults, but also to children. An exciting study in which I worked with, among others, Dr. Markus Dworak, who worked together, showed that a workout in the afternoon shortened the time it took to fall asleep and increased the proportion of deep sleep. But the right timing is also important here! However, exercising in the evening or immediately before going to bed can lead to difficulty falling asleep due to the associated metabolism activation.
My recommendation: A long walk or a training session can often be easily planned in the afternoon. This also promotes health and has a positive effect on the process of falling asleep and the quality of sleep.
Eating too late and too rich, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided in the evening. Although alcohol has an effect that promotes sleep, it quickly leads to difficulty sleeping through the night. And how do we get to sleep quickly in the evening? Relaxation for body and mind is equally important. However, many people find it increasingly difficult to relax properly in the evening because stress and worries also affect sleep. Here I like to refer to the famous night reading, because reading a book before falling asleep can actually reduce stress by up to 68%. According to a study, reading for just 6 minutes is enough to relax. A tip that even stressed parents of children with sleep problems can implement. There are of course many other ways to find peace in the evening, for example relaxation exercises or listening to music have also proven to be effective.
My recommendation: Reading (or reading aloud) before going to bed is highly recommended at any age to relax and promote sleep.
Our behavior during the day has an influence on our sleep behavior in the evening and can have a positive or negative effect on falling asleep, the duration of sleep and the quality of sleep
In the morning, the daylight and fresh air especially help you get going and promote tiredness and falling asleep in the evening.
At lunchtime, a short power nap can bring new energy. It should last less than 30 minutes, otherwise your night's sleep will be disturbed.
The afternoon is a good time for physical activity. Sport then makes it easier to fall asleep later and has a positive effect on the quality of sleep.
In the evening it's time to relax. Reading is a proven evening activity that reduces stress and supports good sleep.
Greetings and see you next time!