Being unable to have a good sleep at night is a problem for millions of people around the world. For some, it is due to a medical condition while for others, it is caused by the things they do on a daily basis.
Without good sleep, both your mental and physical health will be compromised and you’ll have a hard time staying productive throughout the day. Therefore, it’s important to get a good sleep every night and prevent anything that might come in your way of enjoying a good night’s rest.
To help you out, here are the best tips for improving sleep you can start incorporating into your routine.
Learn about your body’s natural sleep pattern
The first step towards improving and enjoying your sleep is to understand your body’s natural sleep-wake pattern. This is also known as the circadian rhythm and every time it is interrupted, you lose your chances of having quality sleep.
The secret to discovering and establishing this pattern is to keep a regular sleep-wake schedule so that your body is well programmed to know when you will be going to bed and when you will be waking up.
Here are a few tips to help you with this:
- Form a habit of going to bed and waking up almost at the same time every day. This will help your internal clock to optimize your body so that you get the most of your sleep every night.
- Don’t be fond of sleeping-in on weekends – This will do nothing but create disharmony in your sleep pattern. If it is necessary that you make up for the sleep you lost, then it is recommended that you take a nap during the day so that your evening sleeping pattern won’t be affected.
- Nap smartly – Napping is always a good way to make up for the lost sleep. However, if it’ll make you lose your sleep at night, then you should not consider it at all. Only go for naps that are less than 30 to 40 minutes and do it during early afternoon hours.
- Be careful with after-dinner drowsiness – Avoid the temptation to sleep right after dinner. If you find yourself drowsy, find a way to keep yourself busy until it is the right time for you to go to bed.
Create a soothing pre-sleep and waking up routine
The transition from waking up to sleeping should be smooth. It should start about one hour before you finally retire to bed. Make sure to include things that will make you relax physically and mentally.
You can take a warm bath, read a book, meditate or engage in any relaxation exercise. Also, avoid the habit of thinking about your problems at this time. If you have to, then simply write them down on a piece of paper and leave them by your bedside as you retire to sleep.
In the same manner, you should have a good routine for waking up. The process of waking up should be pleasant and enjoyable. Instead of being jerked from your sleep with a rough alarm clock, consider using a smart alarm app on your phone. But ideally, you should wake up naturally with the help of your internal alarm clock.
Be careful about exposure to light a few hours to bed
Melatonin is a sleep hormone secreted by the brain to help you sleep. During daytime and when there is a lot of light around, the production of this hormone is low. As a result, you are kept alert and awake.
Here are a few tips on how to influence your exposure to light for a better sleep:
- Get enough bright sunlight in the morning – You should get exposed to bright sunlight as soon as you wake up. While you take your morning coffee, for example, sit by a sunny window and let the bright light shine on your face.
- Spend time in the daylight – Even if you work indoors for most parts of the day, find some time to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural light. Avoid restricting yourself to the indoors when there are lots of lights outdoors.
- Allow natural light into your home – Keep your window blinds and curtains open during the day so that you can allow as much natural light as possible into the home.
- Avoid big screen when you are about to go to bed – The blue light produced by computers, tablets, phones, and TV are very disruptive. Exposure to them when you are just about to go to bed may compromise the quality of your sleep. Try to avoid watching TV, working on your computer or attending to your phone when you are almost going to bed.
Prepare your bedroom for a good night sleep
Your bedroom should be one of the most comfortable places in the house. To get better sleep, there are certain modifications you must consciously do.
Other than just having a warm and comfy bed, the temperature and the lighting in the bedroom should also be spot on. For example, bright fluorescent lights should never find their way into the bedroom.
Additionally, you should remove any form of distraction in the bedroom. These include all electronics, especially mobile phone and television. When you get to your bedroom, you should be in the right state of mind to enjoy your sleep.
Say NO to stimulants before you sleep
The temptation to take alcohol, coffee or to smoke a cigarette before you go to bed may be very tempting. If you fall for it, then know that you will be hindering your chances of having a good night rest.
Such stimulants should be avoided between four and six hours before bedtime. This is because they increase your metabolic rate. Instead of your system slowing down to let you have a good rest, they make you become more active, hindering your chances of getting a good night rest.
Exercise during the day
People who are fond of exercising regularly will always have quality sleep at night and will rarely sleep during the day. Regular exercise is the ideal antidote for conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
It helps in giving the body total relaxation, leading to deep, restorative sleep. The more vigorous your workout is, the deeper and the more powerful sleep you will have. However, the exercise should come early in the day and not in the evening when you are just about to go to bed.
Sleep is very important for every person to stay mentally and physically fit. Before you get to bed, make sure that there are no distractions. If your sleep is disturbed, then you may end up feeling tired all the day long.
Make sure to have a smooth sleep-wake routine and don’t indulge in a lot of work just before you sleep. In fact, you must get rid of your work and have some time to relax before you sleep. The same is recommended for when you wake up. Don’t ever wake up in the last minute. It will only put your body under a lot of pressure.
Apart from that, light also has an important effect on your sleep. So, when you sleep, you must turn off the lights. Last but not the least, make it a habit to exercise during the day.