Chronic insomnia is a problem that many people suffer from, and even when they fall asleep the quality can vary tremendously. A healthy sleep habit is crucial when it comes to energy levels and can make the difference between being in a constant state of slumber versus having a positive, fresh, sharp mind. Sleep scientists have developed what is known as “sleep hygiene”, a set of practices which guarantees that we get the best sleep possible. They include some great tips which can improve your sleep in no time. Key tips to improve sleep include:
“Sleep scientists have developed what
is known as “sleep hygiene”,
a set of practices which guarantees that
we get the best sleep possible.”
1.Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant, and so negatively impacts the quality of sleep. While coffee tends to be thought of as the primary source of caffeine, other beverages such as tea and soft drinks are known to be full of the substance. Try to avoid coffee or any caffeinated drinks 4 to 6 hours before going to sleep. Ideally, you should only drink these substances in the morning after waking up.
Alcohol can also be damaging to your sleep. Although alcohol can initially make you sleepy, after a few hours, it works as a powerful stimulant, just like coffee. Limit alcohol consumption during the day, especially within 3 hours of bedtime. This includes weekends.
2.Go to sleep when tired
Going to sleep without feeling tired just leads to frustration. If you cannot fall asleep after 15 to 20 minutes, the best advice is to get up and do something relaxing. Reading, listening to music, and having a walk are great ideas to get a little sleepier. Avoid activities that require you to look at a computer screen or your phone – the blue light from these devices will lead to further insomnia.
3.Use natural light
Having a healthy sleep-wake cycle is connected to the natural light/dark cycle, generally referred to as the circadian rhythm. Make sure your internal clock is connected to the rising and setting of the sun. Let in the morning light whenever you wake up and avoid staying up all night.
4.Set up your internal clock
Your body needs a sleep-wake routine to work properly, so try to have fixed sleeping times every day. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day works wonders, so try to create a routine. As tempting as it might be to sleep in on weekends, try to avoid this temptation as much as possible. Waking up at the same time every morning not only improves your sleep quality, it can also make you more productive throughout the day.
5.Don’t eat too late at night
Many people get hungry late at night and won’t go to sleep until they eat something. Try to resist this temptation. If you have a late-night snack your stomach and digestive tract will be busy, so your body won’t be able to fully relax during the night.
Exercise is great for sleep quality, but only if it’s done at least 3 hours before going to sleep. Your best bet is to exercise in the morning or as early as possible during the day. Exercising just before bed time will only serve to stimulate you further and chase sleep away.
7.Drink plenty of fluids
Make sure you don’t go to sleep while thirsty. While you sleep, you sweat a lot, so you will lose a lot of water, which needs replenishment. Try to have a glass of water before going to sleep. As before, remember that caffeinated and alcoholic beverages are to be avoided.
Design your sleep environment to be as relaxing as possible. Avoid strident colors, flashy materials and contrasting elements. Create a soothing atmosphere with calm colors, smooth materials and plenty of curtains or sun shades. Sleep on a comfortable bed, use high quality pillows and blankets, and a good mattress helps as well. A Lull mattress is one option. Avoid any items that may be prone to allergens.
9.Get into sleep mode
Immerse yourself in a sleepy state an hour before going to bed. Do relaxing activities, like reading or listening to music. As mentioned previously, avoid using electronic devices like books, computers, and television sets. If you are reading, keep light to the minimum necessary to allow you to see your book.
10.Don’t let your mind wander
Work through your thoughts about the day before going to bed. Avoid thinking about stressful things that happened or will happen. Try to create a list of to-dos for the next day an hour before going to bed, so you won’t have to think about this issue while you are in bed. Focusing on your breathing can help calm your thoughts as you drift off to sleep.
How well are you sleeping?
What are your favorite tips to improve sleep?
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