A good night’s sleep is very important. Sleep affects the mental and physical health of an individual. Good night’s sleep can boost your health, improve your thinking, and improve how you feel. Not getting enough sleep can seriously affect an individual. Potential problems of sleep deprivation include high blood pressure, heart failure, impaired memory, reduced physical strength, weak immune system, to mention a few.
Sleep is basic and should come naturally. Still, a lot of people struggle to get the right amount of sleep or even any sleep at all. It is possible to be tired and then try to sleep but still struggle with being able to sleep. It seems like you have no control over your sleep and the quality of it. However, you have more control than you realize. There are certain habits and lifestyle choices that can affect your sleep pattern and the quality of your sleep. Instead of resorting to sleeping pills, there are a couple of normal things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
We have highlighted a few steps and tips to help you sleep and if you already sleep well, these tips can help to make your sleep better.
1. Have A Sleep Schedule
Having a sleep schedule is an important step to help you sleep better. A healthy sleep schedule gets your body in sync with a natural sleep-wake cycle. When your body gets in sync with a particular schedule, it helps you feel refreshed whenever you wake up irrespective of the number of hours you slept.
You can create a sleep schedule by going to sleep at the same time every night. Pick a time you are sure will be convenient for every night. If you get sleepy before your bedtime, find a way to keep busy till your scheduled time. In addition to that, you need to wake up at the same time daily. Even on weekends, you will need to avoid extending the wake-up time. Truth be told, after a period of waking up at a particular time, you will begin to wake up without your alarm.
2. Tweak the Lighting
When exposed to light, our bodies reduce the secreting of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone the body secretes to make you sleepy. This hormone secretes more when it is dark. When you are exposed to light, you are more alert because there is a reduction in the secreting of the necessary hormone to make you sleepy. This makes it difficult for you to fall asleep.
At night, it is best to avoid anything that is a source of bright light. If you need to put light, you can put dim lights in your bedroom. There are certain lights more suitable for nighttime use. For example, it is generally better to use a red bulb at night than a blue bulb. Also, avoid screens such as television and phones. These devices emit blue light which can disrupt your sleep.
When you perform a rigorous physical task during the day, you sleep better at night. The best form of rigorous exercise is for you to exercise. This is especially important if your work makes you sit for most of the day. Regular exercise even though light, can improve the quality of your sleep. It is important for you to do all your rigorous tasks and exercises during the day. Exercise makes the body secrete cortisol which is a stress hormone that makes the brain alert. Carrying on energetic tasks within three hours of your bedtime can interfere with your sleep because your brain is still very alert. If you should exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or evening stretches are preferable.
4. Eat Healthily
Your eating habits affect how well you sleep especially the hours before you sleep. It’s not entirely clear how food affects the quality of your sleep. Still, there are certain things that you should avoid taking at night. Some food items contain certain stimulants that help to keep you awake. Examples are caffeine, alcohol, big meals, sugary food, and refined carbs. All these things have the capacity to interrupt the circle of your sleep. For some people, alcohol can help to induce sleep. However, it reduces the quality of your sleep. Generally, for evenings, light food is all you need. Also, take less liquid at night, so you do not have to wake up in the middle of the night to urinate. Take just enough liquid to prevent you from waking up thirsty.
If you have been able to avoid food items that negatively affect your sleep, then you can focus on taking food that can help induce sleep. Examples are warm milk, tart cherry juice, and chamomile tea. Although there are no specific scientific proofs, these items are said to contain chemicals that support healthy sleep cycles.
5. Relax at Bedtime
When it’s close to your bedtime or when you are trying to get some sleep, do something relaxing. Do not spend time watching the clock. Watching the clock can increase your stress level which will consequently make your brain alert. This will not help you sleep. You can read a book – you will need to keep the light dim – or listen to music.
6. Relax and Meditate
When you are trying to sleep but cannot, most times it is because your mind is wandering. If your mind is not calm, it will not be easy for your body to be calm and fall asleep. Relaxing and meditating help your mind to be calm. Thus, helping you fall asleep.
Lay on your bed and relax the muscles in your body. Then, focus on your breath and take long deep breaths in and out. You can exhale through your mouth. Do this without trying to be too conscious of it. You can make your mind calm and clear by picturing a relaxing place. You can also play a piece of relaxing music. There are certain songs that help you to relax, too.