Sleep is a fundamental feature of life – something everyone needs, and everyone does. However, for something so apparently straightforward, it turns out to be a struggle for a lot of us to regularly catch up on good sleep.
Luckily, considering its crucial role in health and well-being, the issue of how we can all get an improved night’s sleep has become an important subject for scientists.
The term “sleep hygiene” relates to the set of habits and practices that have been proven to enhance rest.
How to get better sleep
You’re certainly not condemned to tossing and turning every night. Keep in mind easy hints for improved sleep, from establishing a sleep timetable to adding physical exercise into your regimen.
Consider all the things that can disrupt a sound night’s sleep – anything from job pressure and family commitments to unforeseen life challenges like a sickness. There’s no surprise that good quality sleep can be tough to achieve from time to time.
Although you may not be able to take control of the contributing forces that interfere with your sleep, there are habits you could establish that will encourage a sounder night’s sleep. Get started by following these straightforward hints.
1. Keep a sleep timetable
Allow no longer than eight hours of sleep. Suggested sleep duration for a healthy adult should be a minimum of seven hours. The majority of people take no more than eight hours in bed to meet this target.
Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Attempt to keep the gap in your sleep pattern within one hour on workdays and weekends. If you are systematic, it will reinforce your body’s sleeping-waking cycle.
When you don’t get to sleep in about 20 minutes, walk out of your bedroom and start doing things that relax you. Do some reading or listen to some calming music. Return to bed once you are sleepy. Keep doing this again if necessary.
2. Be mindful of food and drink
Do not go to sleep feeling hungry or full. In particular, refrain from eating heavy or big meals within a few hours before going to bed. Being unwell might cause you to stay awake.
You should also be cautious with nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. The stimulant properties of nicotine and caffeine take hours to fade and can impair sleep patterns. And while alcohol does leave you drowsy, it can disturb your rest during the night.
3. Establish a relaxing atmosphere
Set up a place that is perfect for sleeping. Often this means chilly, dim, and peaceful. Incident light might make it challenging to fall asleep. Prevent extended periods of screen use that emits light directly before going to bed. Give thought to the use of darkening curtains, earmuffs, a ventilator, or others to set up an appropriate atmosphere to suit your comfort requirements.
Having calming pre-bedtime routines, for example, taking a bath or performing relaxation skills, can encourage a more restorative night’s sleep.
4. Limit naps
Extended naps throughout the day could impact your sleep during the night. When choosing to nap, be sure to keep it to 30 minutes or under, and don’t nap too late throughout the day.
Though, if you work a night shift, you may find the desire to snooze longer later during the day to compensate for your lack of sleep before going to the office.
5. Build physical exercise into your everyday life
Being physically active on a consistent schedule can encourage a sound night’s rest. However, avoid becoming active too shortly before going to bed.
Spending time outside every day can be helpful, too.
6. Overcome fears
Before going to sleep, attempt to resolve any anxieties or fears you may have. Note down anything that’s bothering you and leave it out for the morning.
Coping with stress may help. Begin with the fundamentals, like getting more organized, establishing priorities, as well as devolving responsibilities. Meditation can also relieve anxiety.
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How to get the best night’s sleep?
Although there is a great variety of reasons and kinds of sleep issues, specialists agree that there are a few definite steps that encourage more restful sleep. Organizations like the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the American Academy of Family Physicians refer to the most common essential advice for improving sleep.
For a lot of people, attempting to put all of these tactics into practice can seem quite overwhelming. However, keep in mind that it is not a case of everything or nothing; you can begin by making small adjustments and build your way up to having more healthful sleep practices, otherwise referred to as sleep hygiene.
1. Know how much you need
Eight hours of sleep is a well-known standard, but there are actually some variations
In how much you need to feel your best. Some people feel alert after six to seven hours, while others need up to nine hours to feel rested.
If you haven’t found your “sweet spot” yet, start with seven hours, see how you feel, and increase from there if you need more rest.
2. Create a sleep schedule
An important part of developing healthy sleep habits is consistency.
Research shows that people who sleep and wake up at about the same time each day (especially children, teens, and younger adults) are less likely to have sleep problems, and that consistency is even associated with healthier body weight. Having a set bedtime and wake time that gives you adequate sleep time is important for staying consistent and avoiding jet lag on weekdays.
Start by setting your wake-up time. What time do you need to get up to start the day comfortably (not stressed)? Try to choose a time that you can keep within 60 minutes, even on weekends.
Then work backward with the amount of sleep you need, adding 30 minutes to give yourself enough time to fall asleep. The average person needs at least 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep once in bed, so it’s important to keep this in mind. For example, if you want to wake up at 7 a.m., that means you could plan your bedtime around 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
3. Have a relaxing routine
In the hour or 30 minutes before bedtime, it can be helpful to follow a regular routine before bed. When you get into the habit of this routine, your mind and body will know that sleep will come soon.
Your routine should focus only on things that make you feel good and calm. Nothing stressful like paying bills, work, emotional conversations, or violent or exciting shows or games.
Follow a predictable pattern as often as possible, and try to make it just like your sleep schedule around the same time.
Perhaps your routine could include putting together your outfit for tomorrow, brushing your teeth, putting on a face mask, stretching slightly, doing a little reading or sketching – any low-key activities that work for you.
4. Reduce or disperse noise
While some of us are able to stay asleep throughout a concert with ease, some of us wake up at the faintest creak or breath of wind. If you belong to the group of light sleepers, then ambient sound or earmuffs might be useful.
Silencers, fans, white noisemakers, and even apps that can play natural noises help diffuse any background noise and keep you from getting bothered by the imperfections of the night. Environmental sounds may also be helpful for wandering off when the quiet takes your mind off things.
The other choice is earplugs, which are perfect for those people who consider any noise to be annoying. Alternatively, if you can’t be bothered wearing earbuds or earphones and wish to wake up on schedule, a vibrating phone or wrist alarm might provide you with some quiet.
5. Keep rooms dark at night
Light plays an important role in our internal circadian rhythms by affecting the mechanisms that control sleepiness and wakefulness. Your body is generally wired to become sleepy in the dark and active in the light.
Most sleep experts recommend keeping the bedroom as dark as possible at night, including turning off all electronic devices, clocks, and lamps. For people who live in cities, dark curtains, or opaque blinds can minimize outside light from windows.
Blackout curtains or eye masks maybe even more important if your sleep schedule calls for you to sleep much after sunrise, as the bright sunlight could make the last few hours of your sleep less restful.
6. Use dimmed lighting in the evening
To make lighting work even more to your advantage, start dimming the lights in the last few hours before bedtime. Turn off bright fluorescent or halogen lights and opt instead for dimmed bulbs in the living and sleeping areas.
If you have a dimmer switch installed or use a lamp with a “smart” bulb, you can gradually dim the lights and even change the hue just before bedtime, which will help create natural sleepiness.
Light bulb tips:
- Choose light bulbs that say “warm” or “soft.”
- Look for Kelvins below 3000, which is the color in Kelvin. Lower Kelvin temperatures are darker and more yellow, while higher Kelvin temperatures are brighter and bluer, less ideal for sleep.
- Look for lumens below 450. Brightness is expressed in lumens. Lower lumens are dimmer and better for the evening, while higher lumens are better for daytime and work areas.
7. Put the TV to bed early
Spending a few shows watching TV is a usual nighttime routine for millions of people, and although it’s enjoyable and frequently restful, it probably isn’t the greatest idea to do just before going to bed. The cool glare of your TV screen delivers melatonin-suppressing blue light which may keep you awake longer than you meant to.
Programs that have you on the edge of your seat may also be difficult to turn off once bedtime approaches. Others with an emotionally charged or scary subjects can cause anxiety or stress, even in grown-ups, which makes it tougher to feel quiet and calm.
Try to watch only light programs during the hours before bed, use the dimming function if your TV features one, and establish a shut-off time that is a minimum of 30 minutes before sleep time. In general, sleep specialists suggest not keeping a TV in the bedroom at all, particularly for kids’ rooms.
How to improve the quality of sleep?
Everyone knows they feel better after a good night’s rest. But for some, sleep doesn’t come easily. Just over half say they never wake up feeling refreshed, while 25% say they have constant sleep problems. The good news is that there are steps you can take to enhance your sleep.
- Poor sleep is a leading cause of lost productivity and increases the risk of accidents and other diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory illness.
- In fact, one of the two most frequent sleep issues is insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Insomnia is a condition that causes you to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for long enough, and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a condition in which you stop breathing during sleep.
- If you think your poor sleep is due to a sleep disorder, you should ask your doctor for advice. There are treatments available.
- If you are experiencing the effects of bad sleep, just changing a couple of things in your everyday routine and habits can help you achieve great results.
In order for you to be fuller of energy and stay more active and helpful throughout your waking hours, below are 6 straightforward steps designed to assist you in achieving a better night’s sleep.
1. Set your body clock
Attempt to make sure you are going to sleep and waking up at a similar time daily, including weekends, although you might have had a disordered overnight sleep.
- Your internal body clock and the hormones that regulate drowsiness and alertness function at their best with a steady sleep schedule.
- Keep your daily routine, even if you have had poor sleep. Avoiding daytime activities because you’re tired can increase your sleep issues.
- When you really have to get caught up on sleep, it’s preferable to go to bed earlier than usual and still get up at the same time as usual.
- Move into the bright light right after waking up – light is the best regulator of your biological clock.
2. Unwind before bedtime
- Plan an hour of downtime before going to bed, like reading, having a bath, or listening to music.
- Ensure your sleeping room is dim, chilly, and calm at bedtime, and ensure your cushions, sleeping pad, and sheets are comfy.
- Have a small snack before going to bed. Heading to sleep feeling hungry might be a turn-off, though try to refrain from eating heavy meals during the two hours before bed, as it can upset your sleep.
- Having a warm glass of milk before going to bed may be beneficial – milk includes tryptophan, acting as a natural sleep regulator.
3. Keep your evenings free of stimulants
- Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol or drinks containing caffeine late in the evening.
- Refrain from the use of computers, mobile phones, and any other electronic gadgets a minimum of 30 minutes before bedtime.
4. Go to sleep when you are feeling fatigued
- By going to sleep at the same time each night, you might feel drowsy at bedtime.
- Be sure not to ignore this drowsy feeling by waiting up, since this is your time slot for getting to sleep.
- If you still feel awake after 20 minutes, stand up, and find something relaxing to do in a different room.
- When things come up on your mind, try setting aside worry time throughout the day – write the worries down and then release them.
- Go read a lengthy law paper – bet you won’t make it to the end!
5. Being active in the daytime
- Taking regular physical activity throughout the day enhances sleep.
- Taking morning walks is a good way to begin the day refreshed.
- Prevent exhausting activity during the 3 hours before going to bed.
6. Decrease exposure to blue light at night
- The blue light features a short wavelength that influences melatonin levels (a hormone that helps control the sleep-wake cycle) stronger than any other wavelength.
- This interferes with your internal clock, resulting in bad sleep.
- When using your phone or computer at night, turn it to the night setting or, even better, turn it off.
- Use soft red light for night light – red light is the lowest in its ability to impact your melatonin and affect your body clock.
- Finally, if you work a night shift or have a lot of electronic gadgets at night, strongly recommend that you think about using blue-blocking glasses or having an app installed that filters out blue/green wavelengths at night.