Sleep is one of the most important aspects of life to ensure a healthy body and mind. A good night sleep revives the immune system, improves brain health, restores healthy bacteria in the digestive system, and revives the endocrine system (hormones). Unfortunately, millions of people suffer from insomnia and other sleep issues. It’s an epidemic. The following article by Kate B. Forsyth, a writer for Be Healthy Today, will help you on your journey to a better and healthier sleep regime.
7 Proven Tips to Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors a body needs in order to function properly. However, due to the day and age we now live in, plenty of other factors get in the way of us getting the sleep that we deserve. There’s stress at work, stress at home, heck, even stress from the environment.
There are many things that people do to make sure they get the best sleep. Some have nightly rituals, some invest in the best sleepwear, some even hire people to help them get to sleep. If you are able to rest fully and properly, you will get tons of benefits, both mentally and physically.
What exactly will you get? Well, if you regularly get a good night’s sleep, you will have healthier skin and a more youthful appearance. It encourages healthy cell division. It will improve your ability to learn new motor skills by 20 percent. It boosts your brain health. Developing good bedtime habits ensures that your body gets the rest it needs, helps you better manage stress, and provides you with more energy during the day. And finally, it improves productivity and also the overall quality of life. Basically, if you have healthy sleeping habits down pat, they will greatly improve your overall life.
Here are some tips and tricks that guarantee you to be sleeping like a baby and waking up full of energy.
- Avoid Caffeine. Nicotine, and Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. Make sure to avoid drinking coffee, soda, tea, or chocolate at least 4–6 hours before your intended bedtime.
Also, smokers should not use tobacco products too close to sleeping time. Smoking alters the expression of clock genes in the lungs and the brain. This ruins and disrupts a restful sleep. It’s been noted that smokers experience restless sleep and are more likely to suffer from insomnia.
With regard to alcohol, yes, it may help to bring on sleep. However, once the body starts to process the alcohol, it increases the number of times you wake up during night. Make sure to limit your alcohol intake to at most 2 glasses, and avoid drinking within 3 hours of bedtime.
- Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Regular exercise promotes good quality sleep. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise every day is enough to improve your quality of sleep. This makes sure you don’t feel sleepy during the day.
In addition, regular exercise improves the symptoms of sleep apnea as well as insomnia. Also, it increases the amount of time you spend in the deep and restorative stages of sleep.
Working out in the morning or early afternoon is the best choice. If you exercise too close to your bedtime, it interferes with your sleep. Try to finish moderate to vigorous exercises at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Limit Daytime Naps
Many people make naps a regular part of the day. Although napping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping can make it worse.
However, if you can’t stop yourself from dozing off, make sure to limit the napping time to 15–20 minutes. Also, make sure to take them in the early afternoon. Having late-day naps decreases your sleep drive.
- Set a Sleep Schedule
It’s a good idea to keep a consistent sleep schedule. That means getting up and going to sleep at around the same time every day, even on weekends or when you’re on vacation. Experts recommend at least 7 hours and at most 9 hours of sleep every day.
This helps regulate your body clock and helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for the rest of the night. Keeping a schedule also makes you feel more energized when you wake up.
For bedtime, choose a time when you normally feel tired. If you feel drowsy a few hours before your intended bedtime, do something mildly stimulating. Some examples are washing the dishes, arranging your books, or calling a friend.
During the weekends, do not sleep in. If you need to make up for a late night, a short daytime nap will do.
- Dim the Lights
Before going to bed, dim the lights and put away electronic devices with backlights. Dimming the lights boosts your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. What happens is if it gets dark, your brain secretes more melatonin, making you sleepy.
Also, this means no more late-night binge watching. This is because the light from the TV suppresses melatonin. Also, most programs nowadays are stimulating rather than relaxing.
- Make Your Room Conducive for Sleep
Keep in mind that your bed is for two things only: sleep and sex. That’s it.
Make sure there are no disruptive noises that can be heard in your room. Also, ensure your room temperature is just right. Many people sleep best in a slightly cool room with adequate ventilation.
If you still have some trouble falling asleep, try using scents that can help you zone out. Smells like ylang-ylang, lavender, and chamomile activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain. This leads to a feeling of relaxation and will help you sleep more soundly.
And of course, make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillows. It is essential that your sleeping posture keeps your head and neck in a straight line in order to avoid tension or cramps that can prevent you from falling asleep.
- Don’t Force Sleep
There are just some nights where you can’t fall asleep easily. And the more you toss and turn, the more your eyes remain open. If you find yourself unable to sleep after about 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something that will relax you. Some light reading or listening to soothing music are good examples.
Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.