A good night’s sleep is vital for your overall well-being. It helps you exercise better, eat healthier, and stay both mentally and physically fit. However, many factors can disturb your sleep, such as stress and illness dragging you during the day. Studies have proven that poor sleep can negatively affect memory, concentration, and mood.
It can also increase the risk of diseases in adults and children and cause weight gain. Sleep quality and quantity have significantly declined over the last few years. Many suffer from poor sleep, on a global scale. While you won’t be able to control some factors that interfere with your sleep, you can still adopt a few habits that will help you sleep better.
Implement Sleep Schedule
A healthy adult requires at least seven hours of sleep, and eight hours is more than enough for most people to be well-rested. To ensure you get a healthy amount of sleep, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including on weekends. Staying consistent reinforces your body’s internal clock and helps your body get used to it.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, consider doing something relaxing, such as listening to soothing music or reading. Then go back to bed when you feel tired.
How long it will take to reset the internal clock can vary from one person to another. This could take longer if you have moved to a different time zone or worked late nights. So, the rule of thumb is to be patient and stick to the schedule you have set for yourself.
Put Your Phone and TV Away
Several studies have proven that exposure to light during the day is beneficial but can have the opposite effect at night. This is because light signals your brain to stay awake, hindering your circadian rhythm by reducing the release of hormones like melatonin, which helps you relax and sleep.
So, avoid bright and outdoor lights close to bedtime. This includes light from TV screens, laptops, cell phones, etc. Try to sleep in a dim-lit environment at night, and let your body prepare for sleep.
Spend Time Outside During the Day
Regular physical activity and exposure to sunlight can promote better sleep. For this reason, a lot of people practice a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax, such as doing yoga, light workouts, or going out for a walk in the evening. Practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime, in particular, improves sleep quality and can resolve chronic issues like insomnia.
A few strategies you might want to try include reading a book, deep breathing, listening to relaxing music, and taking a hot bath. Try several methods and find the one that works the best for you. Nonetheless, avoid being active too close to bedtime. Also, make sure you have a pair of glasses online that could be used when going for evening walks.
Caffeine is consumed by nearly 90 percent of the US population and is proven to offer several benefits. For example, a small cup of coffee can significantly boost energy, focus, and sports performance, which is why you should be smart about when you are taking caffeine.
Try to avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening hours. It can stimulate your nervous system and stop you from getting a relaxing night’s sleep. A study found that consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed worsened sleep quality.
Furthermore, caffeine levels can stay high in your blood for up to 6-8 hours. So, drinking a large amount of coffee after 3-4 pm isn’t recommended, particularly if you have trouble sleeping or are sensitive to caffeine. In case you crave a cup of coffee in the evening, stick to decaffeinated coffee, or try your best to stick to water.
Work Towards Better Sleep Quality And Quantity
Sleep plays a crucial role in your overall well-being. For example, a large study conducted to analyze the effect of insufficient sleep found that it increased the risk of obesity by 89 percent in children and 55 percent in adults. Similar research also revealed that getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep every night increases the chances of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you experience trouble getting enough sleep at night, try resolving your worries, setting a sleep schedule, and avoiding caffeine. If something is bothering you, write down what’s on your mind and set it aside for the next day. Don’t take sleep for granted; enjoy it for a healthy tomorrow.