Are you tired of staying awake all night because you can’t manage to get a good night’s sleep? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A 2021 report shows that 36% of UK adults have trouble sleeping every week. While having a lack of sleep is not an urgent medical concern, prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to poor judgement and bad decision making. Moreover, it can cause health problems such as anxiety, depression, and even obesity. Having enough sleep will positively affect your mental and physical health. Here are some tips on how to achieve a good night’s rest.
Control Your Light Exposure
Your brain secretes a hormone called melatonin which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. The secretion of melatonin is affected by light exposure in such that your brain secretes more melatonin when it is dark. Therefore, you need to minimise your exposure to light, especially when sleeping. Avoid watching late-night television since the light emitted by the TV may suppress the necessary melatonin secretion that you need to have a good night’s sleep. Ensure that your room is dark by blocking light from outside your windows and covering up electronics that emit light within your bedroom.
Keep a Regular Sleep-Wake Cycle
One way to sleep better is to stay in tune with your body’s natural sleep cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. It is essential to establish the same number of hours of sleep each night for your body to optimise the quality of sleep you are getting. Avoid sleeping in even on the weekends. Your body’s circadian rhythm will get disrupted if you choose to spend most weekends in bed. Likewise, avoid giving in to urges to take a nap in the middle of the day or immediately after dinner. If you must, use a reliable digital radio alarm clock to train your body to wake up at a regular time each morning.
Regular exercise will help you sleep better at night and energise you during the day. Even light exercise such as walking for 10 minutes a day will stimulate your body to create more deep, restorative stages of sleep during the night. However, it is critical to schedule them at least three hours before your sleep schedule when exercising. Exercising too close to your bedtime can interfere with your sleep since the adrenaline you produce during your workout may keep you awake.
Eat and Drink Healthy
What you eat and drink during the day will also play a role in how good you’ll sleep at night. Eating a heart-healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats will significantly help you sleep faster and longer. Likewise, it is essential to cut back on eating sugar and carbohydrates since the energy you get from these foods may keep you up at night and lessen the deep sleep you will get. Avoid eating a heavy meal within two hours of your bedtime and reduce the amounts of spicy foods, which can cause heartburn and stomach troubles at night.
Having a nightcap may help you relax after a stressful day at work; however, too much alcohol before going to bed will interfere with your sleep cycle as you may want to sleep in late the next day because of a hangover. When drinking alcohol, it is best to know your limit. Likewise, avoid drinking too many liquids before bed, resulting in too many bathroom visits throughout the night.
Clear Your Head at Night
If you have a stressful job, you may carry the stress until bedtime, resulting in restless sleep. Likewise, unresolved heavy emotions such as anger may make it difficult for you to sleep peacefully at night. One way of ensuring a good sleep is to find a way to clear your head before bedtime. Leave your work gadgets out of your bedroom at night to prevent you from being reminded of work-related tasks. Try to develop a relaxing ritual such as taking a warm aromatic bath before bed. You can also use essential oils such as lavender and chamomile, which are widely known as natural sleep aids. Meanwhile, deep breathing exercises, especially if the breathing comes from the belly instead of the chest, can stimulate your body to relax, lower your heart rate, and relieve stress levels so that you can drift off to sleep.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
A peaceful sleep environment will signal your brain to wind down and enter the sleep stages. To achieve a good sleep environment, it is best to keep the noise level down within your immediate surroundings, lower your room temperature to around 18oC, and make sure your bed is comfortable. Avoid working or watching TV in bed and only reserve its use for sleeping to condition your mind and body that its sole function is for sleep when you are in bed.
Conditioning your mind and body to get accustomed to a regular sleep-wake schedule will do wonders to the amount and quality of sleep you will get. If you follow these above tips, you will start getting better sleep in no time.