A good night’s sleep is vital to both your mental and physical health. Unfortunately, many people still suffer from sleep deprivation due to a number of factors. Stress is the main culprit, and sometimes there just aren’t enough sheep to count to distract you from all life’s pressures. Here are some simple tips to help you finally sleep your way to better health.
- Increase bright light exposure during the day, but not at night
Your body’s natural clock responds to light and darkness as times to be awake and times to be asleep. Your internal routine is known as your circadian rhythm which controls your brain, body, and hormones. Exposure to natural sunlight helps keep this healthy and regular. It’s better for your sleep pattern to get more bright light exposure during the day to give you energy and at night your sleep quality will improve. Avoid too much exposure to “blue lights” in the evenings on the other hand, such as PC and TV screens.
- Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before you go to bed
Caffeine is a stimulant and while it does have many reported health benefits, one of its main uses is to give you energy. This could keep you from sleeping. Caffeine stays in your body for roughly 6-8 hours, so think about this when you go to bed at night. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and cola later in the day. Opt for a decaf option or try out some healthier beverages. Matcha and kombucha are popular substitutes that are trending right now. There are plenty of fun alternatives to coffee.
- Consider taking a melatonin supplement
Melatonin is the hormone in your body that tells your brain when it’s time to sleep. A melatonin supplement is therefore used as an effective sedative. It is also prescribed for help with jet lag. It helps get your sleep pattern back on track, even if your body is still confused due to the change in time zone. It’s been found through studies that melatonin can help patients who suffer from problems sleeping so why not consider speaking to your family doctor about a prescription?
You might be even able to get it over the counter, depending on where you live. There are also herbal supplements you can take to help you sleep. These include CBD oil, lavender and valerian root. It’s always a good idea to at least speak to somebody in your local pharmacy for their advice.
- Adjust your bedroom temperature
According to certain studies, body and room temperature have been found to have more of an effect on your sleep than noise. In fact, many people struggle to get to sleep if it’s too hot or cold, even when they don’t normally have problems sleeping. Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature for you. Do you have enough or too many blankets on your bed? Perhaps it’s better to sleep with a window open.
For most people, an average comfortable temperature to sleep is 70°F/20°C, but you might want to try out what is best for you. Some people prefer a little cooler. For children and babies, a warmer room tends to send them off to sleep as well, so this a useful tip for all those tired parents out there.
- Practice different relaxation techniques
Some people like to read in bed, others watch a movie or listen to some music. These types of activities can help you to relax by giving your brain a little downtime at the end of the day. Other relaxation techniques include meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. These are all centered around meditating and clearing your mind.
Have a look at some online tutorials to help you get more mindful before you get to bed. Mindfulness is a practice in which you learn to let go of stress and fear of the unknown. Instead, you focus on what is important and a more positive outlook. It’s a way to slow down your lifestyle and take some time for self-care.
- Get comfortable
It’s impossible to sleep well on an uncomfortable bed so it might be worse investing in a new affordable mattress. It’s recommended that you should be updating your bedding, including mattresses and pillows, every 5-8 years. This obviously depends on the quality of your bed and mattress. A good mattress can be vital to your health. They are proven to help reduce back pain, shoulder pain, and stiffness.
The optimum type of mattress is subjective however, some people prefer a firm mattress whereas others tend to go for a softer one. The best idea is to try them out in the store before you buy them. Another way to get comfortable and relaxed before is to have a hot bath. If you’re not really a bath person, even soaking your feet for a bit in warm water has been shown to have strong relaxing effects.
- Exercise regularly
Getting regular exercise is a great way to stabilize the balance between your energy during the day and sleep quality at night. Exercise can help you get to sleep faster, and for longer, and wake up less during the night. It’s better not to leave it until too late in the day however as this can keep you up for a bit. Exercise is stimulating and releases hormones such as adrenaline in your body which increases your alertness. It’s best to do it a few hours before bedtime at least.
There are plenty of apps and online programs to motivate you. Physical activity, in general, is very beneficial so you can take your pick of the sport or workout that you enjoy best. Stick to the activity that you like as this will encourage you to do it more often, don’t torture yourself!
Sleep is fundamental to your health and should always be a priority. Make sure quality sleep is at the top of your self-care list this year.