Sleep problems are common and can impose serious health concerns. Read on for healthy tips and tricks for a healthy and proper sleeping routine.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and well-being. Adequate sleep gives your body time and energy to recover from the day’s stresses, and helps you to stay sharp and focused throughout your day. If you’ve already figured out how to fall asleep, but you’re having trouble getting good sleep through the night, there’s a lot you can do to ensure a peaceful night’s slumber!
Although you might not be able to control all of the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep. The following tips will help you optimize your sleep so you can be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long. Start with these simple sleep tips.
Evaluate Your Room
Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
Stick To A Sleep Schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a caveat, though. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.
Exercise helps promote restful sleep if it is done several hours before you go to bed. Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it’s done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. This is fine, unless you’re trying to fall asleep. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.
Eat to Enhance Sleep
Some foods are more conducive to a better night’s sleep than others. You already knew about warm milk, chamomile tea and turkey, but Yahoo Food lists others, like bananas, potatoes, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread. You find yourself fighting off afternoon droopy eyelids at the office? Here are some pointers on eating a less nap-inducing lunch.
Aging also plays a role in sleep and sleep hygiene. After the age of 40 our sleep patterns change, and we have many more nocturnal awakenings than in our younger years. These awakenings not only directly affect the quality of our sleep, but they also interact with any other condition that may cause arousals or awakenings, like the withdrawal syndrome that occurs after drinking alcohol close to bedtime. The more awakenings we have at night, the more likely we will awaken feeling unrefreshed and unrestored.
A study found that smokers are four times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night’s sleep than nonsmokers are. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine attribute this to the stimulative effect of nicotine and the nighttime withdrawal from it. Smoking also exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders which make it difficult to get restful sleep.
Avoid Stimulants At Night
The main culprits are coffee, tea, chocolate and soda drinks – these all contain caffeine which will keep your body and mind alert for hours. This will also prevent you from getting deep non-REM sleep. Be conscious of your caffeine intake and how it causes any sleep deprivation and you will soon understand how to sleep better naturally.
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. If you have children or pets, try to set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.
Ask About Unusual Sleep Behaviors
Ask your partner if you ever snore, temporarily stop breathing, talk, shout, or move about a lot during sleep. It could be that you have a sleep disorder (ranging from sleep deprivation, to sleep apnea, to REM sleep disorder) that is preventing you from enjoying good quality sleep. See a doctor and you may discover how to sleep better for good.