Not getting enough good sleep can take a toll on your productivity, energy, emotions, and even your weight. Getting a good night’s sleep may seem impossible if you constantly toss and turn until all hours of the morning, but you may just have more control over the quality of your sleep than you realize.
Here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Keep a regular sleep-wake cycle
Your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. According to Sleepline, chronic changes in circadian rhythm and sleep patterns may lead to metabolic diseases, depression and even psychiatric disorders. Keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle helps you to stay energized and refreshed.
Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. This helps to set your internal body clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired to avoid tossing and turning and try to get up without setting the alarm.
Control your exposure to light
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body and helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes less melanin when it is light and more when it is dark. Melatonin production may alter for various reasons and shift circadian rhythms. This can happen to shift workers who are exposed to bright lights at a time when everyone else is sleeping.
Controlling your exposure to light may help you to get a good night’s sleep. Go out into bright sunlight when you get up in the morning and try to spend as much time as possible outdoors during the day.
At night, avoid bright screens, such as the blue light emitted by mobile phones and TV, one to two hours before bedtime. The light from TV can suppress melatonin production and watching a stimulating program can affect your sleep. Try listening to music or audiobooks instead.
- Make sure your room is completely dark when you’re trying to sleep and consider using a sleep mask.
- Watch what you eat and drink
- Caffeine can cause sleep problems many hours after you drink it.
- Smoking close to bedtime is a stimulant.
- Eating a large, spicy, or fatty meal late at night can cause you to battle with heartburn and acid reflux.
- Drinking a nightcap can help you to relax but interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re asleep.
- Drinking too much fluid before bed means you may have to get up during the night.
- Eating sugar and too many refined carbohydrates during the day can make you more wakeful during the night.
Exercise during the day
If you get regular exercise, you will sleep better at night. Exercise improves the symptoms of insomnia and increases the amount of time you spend in deep, restorative sleep.
For better sleep, you need to time your exercise right. If you exercise in the morning, it speeds up your metabolism, stimulates your hormones and raises your body temperature.
Exercise can, therefore, interfere with your sleep if you exercise too late in the day. Try to finish any moderate to high-intensity workouts at least three hours before you go to sleep. Low impact, relaxing exercises, like stretching, can promote sleep.
Develop a relaxing evening ritual
If your brain is accustomed to constantly seeking fresh stimulation, it can become very difficult to switch off and relax at bedtime. You need to help prepare your mind for sleep. Practice a relaxation technique, take a warm bath and listen to soft music before you go to bed.