Good sleep is pivotal to both physical and mental health, and the lack of it will affect your productivity, energy and emotional balance. Research shows that poor sleep can cause weight gain, increased disease risk, and a reduction in brain function.
Curiously, not many people actually get enough good sleep – not just in terms of duration but also in quality. However, by adopting some lifestyle changes, it is possible to enjoy better sleep at night, leading to better health and an improvement in how you think and feel during the day.
- Follow a regular sleeping pattern
As much as possible, trying to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. This usually runs on a loop that aligns with sunrise and sunset. Having an irregular sleeping pattern that varies from day to day will alter your own circadian rhythm and lead to lower levels of melatonin – a hormone that is produced during sleep and helps to reduce stress.
- Reduce your exposure to blue light in the evening.
Under dark conditions, your brain produces more melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and production of this hormone makes you sleepy. About 1 or 2 hours before it’s time to go to bed, reduce light exposure around you to trigger the production of more melatonin. You can do this by reducing the brightness of your telephone or computer, avoid late night television and keeping the lights low in your room.
- Reduce irregular daytime naps.
Napping for long periods during the day can affect your sleep cycle and prevent you from sleeping well at night. This is because you are likely to confuse your internal clock about day and night. You might have noticed that you find yourself staying awake at night when you take long naps during the day. A good rule of thumb if you are going to have a nap is to keep it under 30 minutes, this can enhance brain function during the day without reducing sleep quality at night.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day.
We all love a good cup of coffee in the morning because of the quick outbursts of energy it releases in us, helping to increase focus and performance. Well, those outbursts of energy are not your best friends when it comes to getting good sleep. Taking caffeine late in the day can keep your nervous system stimulated and prevent your body from relaxing at night, preventing you from enjoying your sleep.
- Clear your mind before going to bed.
Many people struggle with sleeping well at night because they have a lot on their mind. From deadlines at work to stressors in relationships, you may find that your mind is clouded over by so many thoughts. This may make sleeping well more difficult as the mind is running on autopilot. To clear your mind, try practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation. If music or reading a book helps you relax, you can do those to. Sometimes the cause of your inability to sleep might be worry, in that case simply make note of the worry on a piece of paper and schedule a time for it the next day.
In conclusion, sleep is very essential for health and wellbeing, and if that’s your goal, you must make it a priority and do everything possible to ensure that you actually sleep well.
I hope this helps you.