Sleep is an integral component of life and how well we feel and function during the day, depends on the amount and quality of sleep we get at night. Good sleep habits can help prevent mental fogginess, or the need for a morning coffee, or an afternoon nap.
Two of the most important tips for getting better sleep include: finding out what works for you, and finding out how much sleep your body requires. There is no ‘one size fits all’ regarding sleep because everybody is different.
By following the tips and techniques below, you can enhance your quality of sleep.
- Avoid eating foods that upset your stomach, and drinking heavy liquids. This can help you avoid stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- And while you may want to have a glass of wine at dinner, alcohol causes sleep disturbances during the night.
- In addition, if you have to have a bedtime snack, try choosing something high in protein and low in sugar, like a protein bar. Maybe even drink a glass of milk.
Create a Relaxing Environment:
- A relaxing environment can be very subjective and very specific to you.
- Find something stress-free and relaxing to do, and try and incorporate it into your nightly routine. Your brain will pick up on this, and start telling your body it’s time to sleep.
- Find a comfortable noise level; while some people like background noise, others enjoy the quiet.
- Finally, find a comfortable temperature that will not have you pushing the covers back and forth.
Start Regular Exercise:
- Regular exercisers tend to sleep better, and feel less sleepy during the day.
- Exercise also improves symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea, and increases the time spent in the deep, restorative sleep stages.
- In addition, try finishing vigorous workouts 3 hours before your bedtime, no later.
Control Your Exposure to Light:
- Melatonin is a hormone controlled by light exposure that helps you regulates your sleep- wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepier, and less when it’s light, making you more awake.
- Expose yourself to more sunlight and natural light during the day, allowing less melatonin release, making you more awake and alert during the day.
- Avoid any bright lights or TV/iPad/iPhone screens at bedtime. The blue light disrupts your body’s natural rhythms, preventing the secretion of melatonin, making you less likely to fall asleep.
Create a Bedtime Ritual:
- By doing the same thing regularly every night before sleeping, your body becomes used to a routine.
- As a result, your body will start to alert you that it’s time to sleep when you perform this ritual, making you more likely to fall asleep.
If You Wake Up:
- Try doing guided meditations or breathing exercises to help you fall back to sleep.
- In addition, non-stimulating exercises like reading can help, however, try avoiding bright lights which will disrupt your body’s natural rhythms.
- If you wake up less than an hour before your alarm goes off, don’t go back to sleep! This is your body’s way of saying that it’s had enough sleep for the night, and that you should start your day early.