Healthy sleeping habits have the ability of making a big difference in the quality of life that you lead. When it comes to sleep, it is not just about the quantity, but quality also matters. How you feel during the day hinges substantially on how well you sleep. Likewise, cure for daytime sleep difficulties and fatigue can be found in your daily routine. Your bedtime habits, sleep schedule and day-to-day lifestyle choices have the ability of making significant differences to the quality of sleep that you get.
An average person spends more than a 1/3 of his/her life asleep. However, you should not be fooled. The fact that the body is sleeping does not mean it is slacking off. The body repairs itself during sleep so that when you wake up its renewed and refreshed. Turning and tossing all night can affect productivity, judgment and the ability to retain information the following day. Over a given period, it might contribute to diabetes, obesity and probably a chronic bad attitude.
Here are some of the tips on how to sleep better
1.Develop a Sleep Routine
Sleeping until noon on Saturdays might feel tempting, but will only disrupt your biological clock and result to more sleep problems. Going to bed at a specific time every night helps to develop your internal sleep/wake clock and minimizes the amount of turning and tossing required to fall asleep.
2. Exercise regularly
Studies indicate that some aerobic exercise can help reduce anxiety and therefore improve quality of sleep in people suffering from insomnia.
3. Put Your Neck in ‘Neutral’
You should blame your pillow the moment you wake up tired with a stiff neck. The pillow should be the right size; not too flat and not too fat in order to support the natural curve of the neck while you are resting on your back. Do you have the tendency of sleeping on your side? You should line your nose up by the center of your body. Do not sleep on your stomach since it will twist your neck.
4. Stop Smoking
Nicotine is a form of a stimulant hence has the ability of preventing you from falling asleep. In addition, most smokers encounter withdrawal pangs at night. They are three times more likely not to feel well rested after a night’s sleep compared to nonsmokers. Studies indicate that smoking aggravates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, and this can prevent you from experiencing a good night’s rest.
Engaging in stressful activities can trigger the body to release stress hormones that lead to alertness. Writing these stressful thoughts in a journal would help avoid restlessness once in bed. Studies postulate that certain types of journaling allow people to focus on the positive as opposed to the negative aspects of the day.
6. Take a power-nap during the day
Ten to thirty minutes nap during the mid-afternoon ensures a good night’s slee. Sleeping longer than these posses the risk of falling into deeper stages of sleep that have the ability of making us feel groggy the moment we wake up.
7. Change Your Diet
Do away with foods and drinks that contain caffeine by mid afternoon. Dinner should be your lightest meal, and should be taken a few hours before going to bed. Skip heavy or spicy foods that will keep you awake with indigestion or heartburn.
8. Create a comfortable environment
This might mean getting heavy-duty curtains to block out light, picking the perfect mattress, keeping a fan in the room for background noise or splurging on 800-thread-count sheets to ensure comfortable before climbing into bed. Sharing a bed? You should work with your partner to make to make the necessary changes so everyone sleeps well.
9. Say “No” to a Nightcap
Alcohol disrupts sleep pattern and brainwaves that make people feel refreshed in the morning.
It may help you doze off initially, but the moment it wears off, you are likely to wake up and experience a hard time getting back to sleep.
10. Review your medications
Beta-blockers (prescribed to people with high blood pressure) have the ability of causing insomnia; so does SSRIs (a class of antidepressants including Zoloft and Prozac). This is just the beginning. You should write down every supplement and drug that you take, and have your doctor evaluate how they might affect your sleep.
11. Set a daily wakeup time
As it is good to go to bed at the same time daily, it is also a good idea to have a consistent wakeup time; even during the weekends. Irregular wake-up and bedtime hours might lead to poor sleep patterns.
12. Take a hot shower before bed
This helps the mind to relax since the fall and rise of body temperature induces sleepiness.
13. Go for a Black-out
Light has a tendency of telling your brain that it is time to wake up. As a result, you should ensure that your room is dark as possible. Even a small amount of light from your computer or cell phone has the ability of disrupting the production of melatonin (a hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles), and therefore hinder overall sleep.
14. Listen to soothing music
It has the ability to improve both sleep duration and quality of sleep. Experiment with folk, classical or slow-paced contemporary styles to experience some soothing sounds.
15. Save your bed for sleeping and Sex
The bedroom should feel relaxing. Do not sit on the bed and work, watch TV or surf the Internet.
16. Try progressive muscle relaxation
Tense the muscles; starting with the feet. Hold for a count of five or ten and then relax. You should do this for every muscle group in your body, starting from the feet up to the head. A meditation practice that entails focusing on the breath would also help to prepare the body for sleep.
17. Eat appropriately at night
Do not take heavy foods and big meals when it’s too late. They tend to overload the digestive system, which affects how you sleep. Instead, have a light evening snack of crackers and cheese or cereal with milk.
18. Beds are for people
A dog’s or a cat’s night movement can disrupt your sleep. They can also introduce allergy triggers like dander, fur, fleas, and pollen into your bed.