Sleep is an essential part of your day, but for many the quest to get a good night's sleep becomes a daily grind. It doesn't have to be this way. Today we'll discuss 10 ways that you can improve your sleep so that you can start feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
- Have a set bedtime and wake time
The body has a natural circadian rhythm that regulates when we fall asleep, and when we wake up. This rhythm is called the sleep-wake cycle. The amount of time it takes for this cycle to complete is called a “sleep cycle.”
The sleep-wake cycle is controlled by the brain's pineal gland and other parts of the endocrine system (part of the body that produces hormones).
They produce melatonin, which helps regulate our sleep patterns. Melatonin can only be produced in darkness so it's important to have consistent sleeping times in order to keep these hormones balanced.
- Avoid naps
Naps are a great way to take a break from your day, but they can also be detrimental to your overall sleep quality if you're not careful. Avoiding naps is one of the easiest ways to improve your sleep.
Napping can be a good thing, especially when you're feeling drowsy and need a quick refresh.
But if you're napping more than once per day, or for more than an hour at a time, it can actually disrupt your circadian rhythm—the 24-hour cycle that regulates all aspects of your body.
Napping can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night by slowing down your brain waves and making it harder for you to get into sleep—which is when most dreaming happens.
Napping also decreases alertness and cognitive performance, which is why it's important not to nap after 3 p.m., when most people start winding down from their day and preparing for bedtime.
If you do want to take a short nap during the day (around 20 minutes), try setting an alarm so that it won't go on too long. And remember: make sure that you try not to nap on workdays!
- Create a relaxing pre-bed routine.
A pre-bed routine is just a way to wind down before you hit the hay. It can include anything from reading a book, taking a bath, or meditating. The goal of a pre-bed routine is to take your mind off of the day and focus on something relaxing.
Well, if your mind is racing with thoughts about work or your social life (or whatever else), it can be hard to fall asleep. But by focusing on something mindless—like reading an easy novel—you're giving yourself time to clear your head and allow your body to relax more easily.
If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep at night, try putting together a fun little routine that will help you unwind before bedtime!
- Do not exercise within four hours of bedtime
Doing it too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep, which is important for staying healthy and feeling rested.
Sleep allows our bodies to recover from the day and prepare for the next one. It's when we recharge our brains and bodies, so we need to get enough of it. If we don't get enough sleep, we can feel tired during the day, feel irritable and cranky, have trouble focusing at work or school, and even start to gain weight!
The best time to exercise is during the day or early evening—not right before bedtime. This will give your body time to rest and recover before going to sleep so that your sleep quality is better.
- Make sure your room is dark (blackout curtains are great for this!).
Darkness can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. If there's too much light in your bedroom, it can keep you awake and disrupt your sleep cycle.
Light pollution is any kind of light that shines where it's not intended or needed, such as from streetlights or other outdoor lights. It affects both humans and animals alike. It has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer and depression in humans, as well as decreased lifespan and more frequent metabolic disorders in animals.
To keep your bedroom dark enough for optimal sleeping conditions, we recommend using blackout curtains or drapes on all windows except one (if there's only one window in your room). This will ensure that no light from outside gets inside at night when you're trying to sleep.
- Keep your room cool and comfortable for sleeping, but not too cold or hot (between 65°F – 75°F)
When you're too hot, your body will naturally increase its heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to trouble falling asleep, as well as waking up in the middle of the night because your body is working hard to cool down.
If it's too cold in your room, then it's harder for your body to move heat from the surface of your skin into your muscles and bones—which means that you'll have trouble staying warm enough at night. This can lead to shivering or shaking, which makes it difficult for some people to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.
The ideal temperature for a bedroom is somewhere between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius). This temperature will help you fall asleep faster, get more restorative sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Sleep in a clean, quiet environment free from distractions (no TV or cell phones)
But did you know that the quality of your sleep can be affected by where you sleep? Studies have shown that sleeping in a clean, quiet environment free from distractions can improve your sleep.
Sleep is important because it helps us stay healthy. It also helps us function better during the day we're less likely to fall asleep at work or school when we get enough sleep!
So what do environmental factors have to do with all of this? Well, it turns out that noise and light can disrupt your ability to sleep properly. And so by making sure that your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible—and free from any other kind of distraction—you'll be able to get better rest than ever before!
- Try to limit your caffeine intake after lunchtime, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at night (or staying asleep through the night)
Caffeine has been shown to cause insomnia, making it difficult for people to fall asleep and stay asleep. And while many people think that they can get away with drinking one or two cups of coffee in the morning and then not drinking anything else until bedtime in order to avoid caffeine's sleep-disrupting effects, this is not true.
In fact, studies show that even a single cup of coffee can disrupt your sleep for hours afterward. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that it took up to seven hours for caffeine levels to return to normal after consuming a single cup of coffee before bedtime.
Another study published in Psychopharmacology found that drinking six cups 12-ounce cups of caffeinated soda daily led to significant sleep disruptions. These disruptions were most severe during the first few days of drinking soda, but continued throughout the study period regardless of how long participants had been consuming caffeine regularly.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime as it can cause interrupted sleep patterns as well as dehydration (which causes restless sleep patterns).
Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down the activity of your central nervous system. This can lead to drowsiness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty thinking clearly.
Alcohol also disturbs the normal sleep cycle. It delays the onset of sleep by disrupting the body's ability to produce melatonin—a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm (internal clock). As a result, you may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
In addition, alcohol can cause frequent awakening during the night as your body metabolizes and clears it from your system. This can make it more difficult for you to get a good night's sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping or feel like you need more time in bed because you're so tired during the day; try avoiding alcohol before bedtime!
- Get enough quality sleep each night: 7 to 8 hours for adults
We've all heard that we should get enough quality sleep each night, but what does that actually mean? And how can we make sure we're getting it?
What do we mean by “quality” sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, it means getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
That means no waking up in the middle of the night and going down for another snack or bathroom break. It also means no snoozing on your alarm clock until you finally get out of bed (that may only be an hour later than when you intended).
Research has shown that getting enough quality sleep each night improves our moods, helps us make better decisions, increases our creativity and problem solving skills, and even helps us live longer!
We hope these steps have helped. When faced with a premature bedtime, rather than fearing it, be prepared and positive about it. A few easy lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Insomnia can be flicked off like a switch.
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