10 Tips To Help You Sleep Healthier
Sleep is a necessity when it comes to survival. It’s not all about how much you get, but also how well did you sleep. It’s a good thing; there are a few things you can do to do so better and improve your sleep pattern.
March 03, 2020
Aside from a proper diet, a safe and clean shelter, and comfortable clothes, sleep is essential to survival.
Unfortunately, many people downplay sleep as a simple rest. Many of us stay late into the night, working, studying, watching, or playing.
Everyone knows that the average person needs at least 8 hours of sleep. But the quality is just as, if not more, necessary as the amount we get.
What many of us don’t know is the amount and quality of sleep we get directly affects our physical and mental health.
Good sleep hygiene - important habits and practices to having good quality sleep - will significantly benefit you in the long run.
It dramatically improves your sleep pattern and strengthens your immune function. Getting the right amount of sleep also decreases the chances of heart disease and stroke.
Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, can make you gain unhealthy weight. There is also a connection between poor sleep and depression.
Sleep deprivation also lowers your libido, causing your sex drive to decrease.
Being sleep deprived, even for just one night, will significantly affect the day you have ahead of you. You can feel tired and unfocused.
You will be easily irritated and short-tempered. You can even get massive headaches from the lack of sleep.
These small inconveniences may affect the relationship you have with the people around you. Thus, creating more significant problems in the long run.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to improve your sleep pattern and get a healthy amount of sleep.
Tips To Help You Sleep Healthier
1. Stick to a reasonable sleep schedule
Staying up late and sleeping in doesn’t have the same effect as sleeping at a reasonable hour and waking up at the proper time.
This is because of the Circadian Rhythm. It’s the internal clock that tells your body when to sleep and wake up, dictated external cues like sunlight.
Your body is naturally programmed to sleep at a particular time and at a specific time.
Sticking to a sleep schedule maintains the timing of your internal clock. Disrupting your sleep schedule by staying up late could affect you in the future.
Your body might not know what time it should rest and what time it should be active. As much as possible, sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
2. Exercise regularly
Working out has loads of positive things it can bring to your health. One of which is deep sleep. The apparent reason is that it tires you out, making you sleepy. But there is more to that.
It also decreases stress levels. Moderate aerobic exercises prolong the slow-wave sleep you get.
Also known as deep sleep, slow sleep wave is when your mind and body gets the chance to recharge properly.
For some people, however, the timing of their work out affects the time they sleep. Some say that working out so close to bedtime prevents them from falling asleep properly.
That’s maybe because of two reasons: 1) Your workout caused your body to release endorphins, chemicals that keep your mind active, and 2) Your body temperature increased.
To be sure, plan your workout correctly to not only get better physical results but also better sleep.
Note also that the keyword here is “regularly.” Having a schedule keeps your body clock in check.
3. Don’t fall asleep watching TV
Facing your TV, computer, or even your phone before going to bed may not be the best option if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
For one, the temptation to stay up and keep at what you are doing is influential. The next thing you know, it’s 5 am and you still haven’t slept.
Another negative impact electronics have on your sleep is the blue light you’re absorbing.
It dampens the production of melatonin, the hormone your body produces to keep your sleep/wake cycle in check, giving you poor quality sleep.
To be sure you’re getting good quality sleep, put down your phone and turn off the TV. The less blue light you soak in, the better.
4. Read before you sleep
Reading a few chapters before shutting your eyes can improve the sleep you’re going to get. It can reduce stress levels and could relax you significantly.
This is because reading a good story could bring you to another world, letting you forget the problems you have.
Although getting to the right part of the book could stimulate your mind and make you want to read more, this is better than watching from a screen because you would not absorb any blue light.
5. Avoid long naps
Naps are great to keep a tired and sleepy person refreshed, alert, and active for the rest of the day. They act as a reset button or recharge.
They can improve your mood, memory, performance, and reaction time.
However, they should be done correctly. Naps beyond 30 minutes will make you wake up feeling groggy and sometimes still, if not more, tired. It’s best if you set the alarm before you nap.
Napping after 3:00 pm can give you difficulty sleeping at night. They are best done after lunch, around 2:00 pm. This is when your sugar levels are dipping, and you get the urge to get some sleep.
Naps are best done when you know you need it. Forcing one will do no good. You should do it when you feel exhausted or sleepy, or you know you will have a late night.
But as said before, disrupting your sleep schedule is not healthy.
6. Stay away from caffeine late in the day
Having caffeine, a stimulant drug that causes alertness and activeness, so late in the day may prevent you from sleeping at the right time, disrupting your body clock.
There are instances where your body is tired and craves sleep, but your mind is awake, and that may be caused by caffeine.
A study found that consuming caffeine even six hours before sleeping negatively affected sleep quality and quantity.
When you do get to sleep, caffeine also affects the deep sleep you get, giving you poor quality sleep. You will not feel as rested as you thought.
As an assurance that you get the right amount of sleep, avoid caffeine-laden products such as coffee, energy drinks, and sodas.
7. Don’t drink alcohol before sleeping
Contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol before bed doesn’t give you the best sleep.
As a sedative, it does help you fall asleep quicker and maybe longer, but it does nothing good for the quality.
It lessens REM sleep (rapid eye movement), that part of sleep where you dream and genuinely rest. Chances of waking up multiple times in the middle of the night are also increased.
The effects of it being a sedative don’t end with sleep quality. It will relax your muscles and can cause difficulty in breathing as it can quickly close the airways.
So you may need to double think that glass of wine before bed. You may fall asleep quicker, but you may feel like you haven’t gotten any sleep at all when you wake up.
8. Only use your bed for sleep and sex
Associating your bed with only these two can help you fall asleep quicker. Having many connections with it and distractions in your room can prove difficulty with sleeping.
As much as possible, avoid eating, doing work like homework and bills, and watching in your room.
Keeping your sleep environment comfortable will also positively affect the quality of sleep you get.
Remove all distractions like a TV or computer. Keeping the temperature comfortably low is also a good thing to do.
9. Have dim lights at night
Connecting the first and third tip, exposing yourself to bright lights during the day and dim lights at night will improve your sleep pattern and sleep faster and better.
This is because of your mind, through the Circadian Rhythm, associates brightness with being awake and active during the day and darkness at night for sleep.
As said in the third tip, avoid watching through a screen at night because of the blue light.
The artificial light coming from the screen will stimulate your mind into thinking it’s daytime. Being active outdoors will also help because natural sunlight will help with daytime energy.
This is a simple but effective way to fall asleep. Having your mind filled with problems and troubles will most likely keep you from falling asleep.
Thinking about them will lead you to think about many different things associated with them like scenarios, solutions, connected problems, and more. At this rate, you will never get to sleep.
Try thinking of scenarios that you would like to happen. Like a meet-cute with your crush, getting that promotion you always wanted or reminiscing about good times you had with friends and family.
Doing that has the same effect as reading a book as it can decrease your stress levels and help you get to sleep faster.
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