At the end of a tiring day, all we need is a good night’s sleep. It is not only relaxing for the body and mind, but it is also essential for optimal functioning of each and every organ of the body. Most of the young adults struggle with irregular sleeping patterns. Experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of regular sleep for optimal health.
Chronic lack of sleep can cause serious and irreversible health ailments apart from making you feel tired, drowsy and inattentive during the day. It can lead to poor immunity, indigestion, the risk of heart diseases, depression, weight gain and problems with vision. A huge factor affecting how you function during the day depends on how well you’ve slept the night before. To get the maximum benefits out of sleep, it must be undisturbed and regular.
Here are a few simple and effective habits that you can adapt to ensure that you get a sound sleep:
1. Maintain A Sleep Schedule
-Try and stick to a regular sleeping schedule. Sleeping and waking up at or around the same time every day will regularize your sleep routine.
-This helps your body recognize a pattern and sets your body’s internal clock thus optimizing the quality of your sleep, helping you to hit the sack and wake up promptly.
-Spend 15-30 minutes in the morning light. This helps in regulating your sleep-wake cycle.
2. Mind What You Eat
-Your diet and eating habits have a lot to do with how well you are able to sleep.
-It’s not only what you eat but also when you eat that matters.
-Have early dinner. The later you eat, the lesser is the body prepared to hit the bed. Moreover sleeping immediately after a meal may eventually lead to bloating and acidity which may lead to sleep disorders.
-On the other hand, if you eat way before bedtime, there’s a good chance you may start feeling hungry and wake up in the middle of the night.
-Also, avoid foods that take longer to digest.
-Include magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of brain receptors that regulate sleep called GABA receptors. Include green leafy vegetables, banana, legumes, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds in your evening snack.
3. Create A Pre-Bedtime Ritual
-Get in the mood. Before you hit the sack, do calming activities.
-Reading a book, having a warm bath or even practising a relaxing exercise will help you sleep better.
-Once your body gets used to a relaxing routine before bedtime each day, it knows what’s coming up next, a good night’s sleep!
-Avoid any kind of stressful or mentally/ physically stimulating activity right before bedtime, as a busy mind will cause disturbances in your sleeping schedule.
4. Get Comfortable
-Your surroundings also affect how well you take a nap.
-A good mattress and pillow, a well-ventilated room and dim lighting will go a long way in improving your quality of sleep.
-Make sure you don’t take your work to your bedroom.
-The bedroom should be strictly for sleeping so that there is a mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
5. Limit Daytime Naps
-Napping during the day is very relaxing and rejuvenating if done the right way.
-Avoid napping after 4 p.m. as sleeping after dusk decreases your sleep drive preventing you from realizing the full potential of your nighttime sleeping.
-Avoid napping at odd hours. You may be tempted to take a nap in the evening after a day’s hard work, but this will disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.
-Instead, try power nap of 10-15 minutes in the afternoon. This will keep you energetic throughout the day and help regulate your circadian rhythm. Remember longer naps during the day may keep you from falling asleep or staying asleep at night.
6. Take Up A Physical Activity
-Exercise regularly. Studies show that people who exercise daily have better sleep quality and pattern.
-Physically fit individuals have a better quality of sleep. It is a good practice to exercise on a regular basis as it promotes health.
-However, exercising too close to bedtime is not the best thing to do. Hence, avoid strenuous exercises after 8 pm as it can cause the release of adrenaline and other hormones that will end up keeping you awake.
-The sudden physical activity gets your nervous system into an active state causing difficulty in falling asleep as your body and mind is still partially active.
7. Limit Use Of Gadgets
-Any kind of artificial light after dusk is not only disorienting but also increases the risk of insomnia.
-Biologically, your brain is tuned to being awake when the sun is out and being asleep when the sun is down.
-The use of artificial light after dusk and mostly just before bedtime is confusing for your brain and is a cause for sleeplessness.
Studies have shown that the blue light ( HEV light-high energy visible light) from your gadgets suppresses the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
-Stop the use of electronics, especially laptops, phones and the television just before you hit the bed. Also, switch off all gadgets at least 45 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime for a good night’s sleep.
-Also, sleeping in complete darkness can help you to get rid of night lights and any other light coming from outside. This helps in secreting melatonin.
8. Say No To Caffeine
-Caffeine is a stimulant. Consumption of caffeinated products stimulates your nervous system and too much of it can keep you awake.
-As far as possible, avoid the consumption of coffee and caffeinated drinks and beverages after 6 p.m.
-Also, avoid alcohol intake. It may seem like alcohol helps you sleep but it is more disruptive than you know. Initially, you will fall asleep but you will get disturbed later during the night.
-It is best to limit yourself to 2 drinks a couple of hours before you actually hit the sack.
– You can try sleep-inducing teas like chamomile tea, passion flower tea, magnolia bark tea, peppermint tea, lavender tea.
So, go ahead and adopt these simple and effective ways to help you get a good night’s sleep. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!