Improving your sleep
Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. A lack of sleep can take a toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Getting a good night’s sleep may seem impossible when you’re wide awake at 2 a.m. the cure for better sleep can often be found in your daily routine.
Unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can not only affect your sleep but also your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight.
Try experimenting with the following tips to better your sleep at night, boost your health, and improve your mental wellbeing
Tip 1: Listen to your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
Try to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired. If you are getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock, you may need an earlier bedtime.
Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends. Late night? try a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
If you get sleepy way before bedtime, do something to mildly stimulate your mind, get off the couch, washing the dishes, or get your outfit ready for the next day.
Tip 2: Light exposure
Melatonin is controlled by light exposure, this influences your sleep-wake cycle. When it’s dark your brain secretes more melatonin making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert.
Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. The light on your face will help you wake up. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, try move your work station closer to the window.
Before bed avoid screens, the blue light emitted by phones, tablets, computers, or TV’s are especially disruptive. Minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens or turning the brightness down.
When it’s bedtime, make sure the room is dark. Try using heavy curtains or shades to block light, or try a sleep mask. Also consider covering up electronics that emit light.
Tip 3: Exercise during the day
Regular exercise improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea, people who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day.
The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality. Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones like cortisol.
Moderate to vigorous workouts should be least three hours before you sleep. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.
Tip 4: Be smart about what you eat and drink
Limit caffeine and nicotine. Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it, similarly to smoking. Avoid big meals and sugar at night and don’t make dinner too late. However for some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. For others, eating before bed leads to indigestion and make sleeping more difficult. For a bedtime snack try something light and low in sugar
Don’t drink too many liquids in the evening as this may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
Tip 6: Improve your sleep environment
Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet. Eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Most people sleep best in a slightly cooler room with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. Reserve your bed for sleeping. Avoid working, watching TV, or using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed.