A good night’s sleep sets the weather for your next day.
Everyone knows good sleep is the fundamental of a healthy life, next to nutrition and exercise. However, a large percentage of people find themselves deprived of quality sleep regularly. Some people cope with sleep deprivation by sleeping throughout the day. Some people, as alarming as it gets, simply go through the day with an insufficient amount of sleep.
But how does regular sleep deprivation affect a person’s health? To quantify the impact, researchers show that those who get six or fewer hours of sleep for two consecutive weeks function as well as those who have been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight, which is the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk. Sounds awful, right?
Here are 11 scientifically proven ways to improve your sleep
- Get More Sun Exposure
Light exposure controls melatonin production in our body — helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
To keep your circadian rhythm healthy, expose yourself to sunlight or natural light during the day. This not only improves your sleep quality and duration, but also improve daytime energy.
One study shows that 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80%.
So, consider having your morning coffee outside or going for a walk in the morning. It will give your day a refreshing start as well.
- Limit Your Exposure to Blue Light
We already know our body produces melatonin in the dark to regulate our sleeping cycle. But what happens when you expose your body to bright light in the evening?
It leads your body to think it’s still daytime and limits melatonin production.
Blue light from electronic devices like computers and the smartphone is worse when it comes to hampering sleeping cycle.
Try to minimize your electronic device usage in the evening. If that’s not an option for you, learn more on how to reduce nighttime blue light exposure.
- Practice Relaxing Bedtime Rituals
Sleep is our bodies’ way to relax and recharge. Creating a relaxing environment will help your body calm down and get a good sleep.
Listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualization can give your body the ultimate relaxation. Wrap up your food and liquid intake a few hours shy of bedtime.
- Consider Taking Supplements
Sleep supplements can induce relaxation and help you fall asleep faster and better.
One of the most popular sleeping aids is melatonin. Melatonin is often used to treat insomnia — it’s the easiest way to fall asleep faster. You can take around 1-5 mg 30-60 minutes before bed and reduce the light exposure to make the most out of the supplement.
Other supplements that have proven to be useful are-
∙ Valerian root
∙ Ginkgo biloba
Make sure you’re not going overboard with these supplements. They can only be useful when combined with other good sleeping practices.
- Regulate your Sleeping Schedule
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
To aid long-term sleep quality, be consistent with your bedtime.
Irregular bedtime, such as going to bed late on the weekends' results in poor sleep. Irregular sleep pattern also disrupts your melatonin production, which controls your sleep pattern.
If you are struggling with irregular sleeping habits, try to wake up and go to bed at a similar time for a few weeks. Once your body gets used to it, you’ll be able to maintain it in the long term and sleep better.
- Avoid Caffeine and Nicotine
Studies show that caffeine can have an impact on your sleep up to 10-12 hours of drinking it.
Even though this popular stimulant has numerous benefits, it works by stimulating your nervous system and prevents it from relaxing — resulting in poor sleep. One study showed that consuming caffeine even 6 hours before bedtime degrades sleep quality.
For a good night’s sleep avoid consuming caffeine and nicotine, at least in the evening.
- Exercise Regularly at the Right Time
Exercising is an essential element of a healthy life that also contributes to better sleep at night and energy during the day. Regular exercising has been proven to reduce symptoms of insomnia.
However, to ensure better sleep, choose your training time carefully. Finish your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you’re still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier.
Doing relaxing yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help you sleep better.
- Stay Clear of Sleeping Disorders
If you have an underlying health condition, that may be the key reason behind your sleep problems.
Common issues such as sleep apnea cause interrupted sleep. Other sleeping disorders like Narcolepsy, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Shift Work Disorder can also be the key reasons behind your sleep problems.
If you experience sleep problems for a prolonged period, you should consult your healthcare provider.
- Optimize Your Sleeping Environment
A comfortable sleeping environment is an essential element for a good night’s sleep.
Temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement should be a part of the consideration for a relaxing sleeping environment.
One study illustrates that the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
Adjust your room temperature for better sleep. 66-68 degrees seems to be a sweet spot for a good night sleep. Choose the best mattress and bedding according to your personal preferences.
- Check Your Drinks
Drinking alcohol negatively impacts your sleep and hormones. It also contributes to some of the sleeping disorders.
Avoid drinking alcohol close to your bedtime because it leads to disruption in melatonin production and sleep patterns.
Additionally, drinking too much liquid leads to Nocturia, which is the medical term for excessive urination during the night.
You should not drink any fluid 1-2 hours before going to bed. To sidestep the risk of dehydration during the night, drink a good amount of liquid as soon as you wake up.
- Stay Away from Cozy Long Naps
While power naps are beneficial and energizing, taking a long nap during the day can keep you up all night.
It confuses your body’s clock leading to struggles to sleep at night. Studies found long naps to be less refreshing and make you even more sleepy.
Try to avoid long naps, even if you take a nap, limit it to 30 minutes.
Proper sleep is a large part of your health.
To stay healthy, pay closer attention to your quality of sleep, and incorporate some of the tips above. If problems related to sleeping persists, seek professional help.
Would you like to add any tips to the list? Comment below to let us know.