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It is commonly understood that better sleep is critical to our physical and mental wellbeing. You are not destined to toss and turn all night. While you may not be able to manage the things that disrupt your sleep, you can develop behaviors that promote sleep better. Begin with these easy suggestions.
1. Optimising Your Sleep Schedule
Taking control of your daily sleep routine is a significant step toward improved sleep. Try applying the following four ways to begin harnessing your schedule for your benefit:
- Set a Consistent Wake-Up Time: It is nearly impossible for your body to become accustomed to a healthy sleep habit if you are continuously waking up at different times. Set a wake-up time and stick to it, even on weekends or other days when you might be tempted to sleep in.
- Budget Sleep Time: If you want to ensure that you are obtaining the required amount of sleep each night, you must arrange that time. Working backward from your predetermined wake-up time, determine a target bedtime. Allow yourself extra time before bedtime to wind down and prepare for sleep whenever feasible.
- Reduce Daytime Naps: It is critical to use caution with naps if you want to sleep well at night. As research, if you nap for too long or too late in the day, it might disrupt your sleep rhythm and make it difficult to fall asleep when you need to. The optimal time to nap is just after lunch, in the early afternoon, and the best nap length is approximately 20 minutes.
- Adjust Your Sleep Schedule Gradually: When changing your sleep schedule, it’s preferable to do so gradually and gradually, with a maximum variation of 1-2 hours every night. This allows your body to adjust to the changes, making sticking to your new schedule more sustainable.
2. Making a Sleep-Inducing Bedroom
Making your bedroom a place of comfort and relaxation is an important piece of advice for falling asleep quickly and comfortably. Though it may appear simple, it is frequently disregarded, adding to difficulty falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
- Invest in a High-Performance Mattress and Pillow: A good mattress is essential for ensuring that you are comfortable enough to relax. It also ensures, in conjunction with your pillow, that your spine receives adequate support to avoid aches and pains.
- Select High-Quality Bedding: Your sheets and blankets play an important role in making your bed seem pleasant. Look for bedding that is soft to the touch and will help you maintain a comfortable temperature while sleeping.
- Keep Light Disruption to a Minimum: Excessive light might disrupt your sleep and circadian cycle. Light can be blocked and prevented from interfering with your sleep by using blackout curtains over your windows or a sleep mask over your eyes.
- Cultivate Peace and Quiet: One of the most crucial aspects of creating a sleep-positive bedroom is keeping noise to a minimum. If you are unable to eliminate surrounding noise sources, attempt drowning them out with a fan or white noise machine. Earplugs or headphones are another alternatives for blocking out harsh sounds while you sleep.
- Find a Comfortable Temperature: You don’t want your bedroom temperature to be a source of distraction by making you feel too hot or too cold. The appropriate temperature varies depending on the individual, but most studies suggest sleeping in a cooler room with a temperature of around 70°F (20°C).
- Introduce Relaxing Aromas: A faint perfume that you find relaxing will help you go asleep. According to a study, essential oils with natural smells, like lavender, can bring a relaxing and invigorating scent to your bedroom.
3. Creating a Bedtime Routine
It’s normal to believe that if you have trouble falling asleep, the problem begins when you lie down in bed. In actuality, the period leading up to night is critical in preparing you to fall asleep fast and easily.
Poor pre-bedtime routines are a key cause of insomnia and other sleep issues. Changing these habits7 takes time, but the effort can pay off by making you more relaxed and ready to sleep when evening arrives.
As far as possible, strive to establish a consistent schedule that you adhere to each night because it reinforces healthy behaviors and signals to the mind and body that bedtime is approaching. Include the following three suggestions as part of your routine:
- Relax for at least 30 minutes: Relaxation practices before bedtime have been demonstrated to improve sleep quality and are a typical treatment for insomnia. A soothing massage enhanced sleep quality in persons who were unwell in one research. Listening to soothing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualization are all effective relaxation techniques.
- Reduce the Lights: Avoiding strong light can assist you in transition to nighttime and contribute to your body’s synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
- Disconnect from Devices: Tablets, cell phones, and computers can keep your brain electrified, making it difficult to completely unwind. The light from these devices can also impede your body’s natural production of melatonin. Try to unplug for at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
4. Developing Pro-Sleep Behaviors During the Day
Setting the stage for a good night’s sleep takes all day. A few simple steps you can take during the day will help you sleep better at night.
- See the Light of Day: Light exposure regulates our internal clocks. Sunlight has the greatest effect, so try to get outside or open windows or blinds to let in natural light. Getting some sunlight early in the day can help to reset your circadian rhythm. If natural light is not an option, consult your doctor about using a light treatment box.
- Make Time to Move: Daily exercise offers numerous health advantages, and the changes it causes in energy consumption and body temperature can encourage restful sleep. Most experts advise against engaging in strenuous exercise close to bedtime since it may impair your body’s capacity to effectively relax before sleep.
- Caffeine should not be consumed late in the day: Caffeine offers several health benefits and is ingested by 90% of the American population. Caffeine, on the other hand, stimulates your nervous system late in the day and may prevent your body from properly resting at night. Caffeine consumption up to 6 hours before bedtime was found to severely reduce sleep quality in one research. Caffeine levels in the blood can remain increased for 6–8 hours. As a result, drinking excessive amounts of coffee after 3–4 pm is not advised, especially if you are caffeine sensitive or have difficulties sleeping.
- Don’t consume alcohol: Alcohol is known to cause or worsen sleep apnea, snoring, and interrupted sleep patterns. It also affects melatonin production at night, which is important for your body’s circadian rhythm. Another study discovered that drinking alcohol at night reduced the natural evening spikes in human growth hormone (HGH), which regulates your circadian rhythm and performs a variety of other important activities.
- Don’t Eat Too Late: It can be difficult to go asleep if your body is still digesting a large meal. To reduce food-related sleep interruptions to a minimum, avoid late dinners and limit fatty or spicy foods. If you need a snack in the evening, go for something light and healthful.
- Don’t Smoke: Smoking, including secondhand smoke, has been linked to a variety of sleeping issues10, including difficulties falling asleep and interrupted sleep.
- Keep Your Bed for Sleep and Sex Only: If you have a comfy bed, you may be tempted to spend time in it doing a variety of activities, but this might lead to problems at bedtime. If you want a strong mental association between your bed and sleep, limit your actions in your bed to sleep and sex.
Sleep is critical to your health. Inadequate sleep was associated with an elevated risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults, according to a comprehensive study.
Other research has found that sleeping for fewer than 7–8 hours per night increases your chances of acquiring heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you want to achieve optimal health and well-being, it is recommended that you prioritize sleep and implement some of the suggestions above.