The quality of our sleep is a crucial component in whether we have a fruitful, productive day, or feel tired and sick.
Rabat – A good night’s sleep can have direct positive effects on your mental and physical health while a bad night of sleep can have the opposite effects, making it important to pursue a better night’s sleep. Following healthy sleeping habits can make a great impact on your quality of life.
Frequent restless nights will lead you to feel tired, anxious, and drowsy during the day, be less productive, and affect your mood and ability to concentrate. Sleep disorders have also been linked to more complex mental and physical health problems such as insomnia, obesity, heart attacks, and depression.
There are many factors that can hinder the quality of your night’s sleep. Stressors from work, school, or excessive responsibilities can make getting a good night’s sleep and enough rest challenging. The good news is that there are many ways you can tweak your daily and bedtime routines to help you get the rest your body needs.
These important tips can help you make better lifestyle choices in order for you to gain better control over the quality of your sleep, boost your health, improve how you think and feel, and increase your productivity.
Develop a bedtime routine
Developing a bedtime routine and having a consistent sleep schedule can go a long way in regulating sleeping patterns, which can aid in long-term sleep quality.
Before going to bed, you can take a warm, relaxing bath to help you sleep better. If you don’t have time for a warm bath, you can easily bathe your feet in hot water with epsom salt and lavender — this will help keep you warm and relax your muscles.
When you can, avoid going to bed when you are not feeling tired. Instead, try relaxing and non-stimulating activities that you enjoy and that require little concentration. Maybe you like to drink a warm cup of milk before bed, or praying helps you feel relaxed, or maybe you enjoy listening to soothing music or reading a book.
A healthy adult needs at least seven hours of sleep. Falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day can regulate your body’s “clock,” making it less difficult to fall asleep in time and allowing for better sleep quality.
Use low lighting in the evening
A circadian rhythm is a sleep/wake cycle that allows your brain to be active and alert during the day with light and sun exposure and sleepy during the night in the dark, with less light exposure.
During nighttime and when exposed to less light, your brain produces a hormone called melatonin that helps you relax and sleep easily. Therefore, when you expose yourself to high levels of light at night, you trick your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This causes less production of melatonin and messes with your circadian rhythm.
To avoid that challenge, you can expose yourself to more sunlight in the daytime by keeping your curtains open and going on walks during the day instead of at night.
Limit your exposure to light in the evening. Try in particular to avoid blue light, which is considered the worst in this regard and comes from televisions, computers, cell phones, and other gadgets. Adjust your phone to block blue light automatically in the evening, or if your phone doesn’t have this feature, use an app — there are plenty to choose from. You can also try wearing blue light filtering glasses in the evening to let your brain start to wind down.
Avoid watching television, especially in the horror genre or other particularly stressful shows, two hours before bed. This will help you avoid trouble sleeping and nightmares Finally, turn off your television and computer to make sure your room is dark when it is time to sleep.
Pay attention to what you eat
What we consume before bed can play a big role in the quality of your sleep. For example, consuming caffeine can stimulate your brain and nervous system and make it difficult for you to relax and go to bed. Therefore, it is preferable to not consume any caffeine after 3-4 p.m. This means avoiding foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
Eating certain foods late at night can also negatively affect your sleeping pattern and quality. Sweets and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, and pasta can increase your energy and keep you awake at night. Alcohol and nicotine are other stimulants that don’t wear off for hours and can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Avoid going to sleep hungry. Just as certain foods compromise your efforts to fall asleep at the right time, others can have a positive impact. Whole grains food such as popcorn, yogurt, oatmeal, and peanut butter will fulfill your hunger and not affect your sleep negatively.
Certain foods such as almonds, cherries, bananas, pineapples, raisins, kiwis, oranges, and plums are rich in melatonin. Eating them will help you fall asleep faster and prevent insomnia.
Meditation and yoga
Many types of meditation involve breathing techniques, aiming to redirect focus and relax the body. Your body needs time to adjust to the change from productivity during the day to relaxation at nighttime, and meditation can be a great tool for that.
Relaxation techniques can help calm you down, release your tension, stop your overthinking, decrease your stress, and make you feel at ease, which will help you fall asleep.
To meditate make sure you are sitting in a place that is comfortable for you, whether this is your bed, a chair, or even the floor if you so prefer. After situating yourself, try to focus solely on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly. While doing that, observe your body’s reactions and how you feel physically. If you notice that your focus is wandering off, that is normal and okay, just redirect your focus back to breathing and repeat for however long you find helpful.
Yoga is another therapeutic way to wind down and relax before bedtime. It can help you reduce stress and provide a sense of calm. It also recirculates your blood flow. There are many easy tutorials online, especially on YouTube, that can help you learn calming yoga practices.
Improve your sleep environment
You can’t have a night of comfortable and peaceful sleep if your sleeping environment is not comfortable.
To make sure you have the right environment for relaxation and sleep, keep your room temperature neutral — sleeping in a heated place in summer or a very cold one in winter can be quite difficult.
Keep your room dark and quiet. Not only can exposure to light negatively impact your sleep quality, but so can a lot of disturbing noises. If it’s impossible for you to avoid external noises, try putting on relaxing and soothing music or invest in earplugs.
A good mattress and pillows can also play an essential role in improving sleep quality, as well as reducing back or shoulder pain and stiffness. Experts recommend changing these at least every five to eight years.
Try to reserve your sleeping space for sleeping only: While in bed, avoid watching television or using your phone or your laptop. This will help condition your brain into relaxing the moment you go to bed.
Limit daytime naps and exercise
A nap during the day can be great — it can enhance your brain function and keep you focused throughout the day. However, that only applies if the nap takes 15-30 and comes before 3 p.m. A longer or later nap can have the opposite effects.
Long daytime naps can confuse your circadian rhythm, mess with your sleeping patterns, and make it difficult to fall asleep at night. If you need to take a nap to unwind, it’s preferable to limit it to 30 minutes.
Exercising regularly can help increase the duration of your sleep and improve its quality, as well as relieve anxiety and reduce stress and symptoms of insomnia. Exercising vigorously is great, but even just a 10-minute jog or walk can improve your sleep quality.
However, during exercise, your brain produces epinephrine, adrenaline, and cortisol, which can keep you alert and energetic. Therefore, it is better to avoid exercising six hours before bed so it does not cause sleep disruption.
Having trouble sleeping and always waking up tired can negatively affect your health, both mentally and physically, in many ways. However, knowing the benefits of a good night’s sleep and learning from these tips will slowly allow you to develop healthy sleeping habits and regain control over your sleep quality. This will help you pass your day in top shape, feeling productive, motivated, and in a better mood.