Top 10 Ways to Improve Sleep
Finding it harder to maintain a healthy sleeping routine? A National Institute of Health report estimated that as many as 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from chronic sleeping disorders.
While binge-watching Netflix and working on your assignments late into the night doesn't seem that crazy when you're in the moment, there are definitely some serious consequences to note. A sleep-deprived body may face constant fatigue, memory issues, cardiovascular diseases, and a host of other medical problems, as reported by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The only no-nonsense getaway from this nightmare is to get your sleep right. Here's how you can get started ASAP!
1. Balance Your Circadian Rhythm
The human body has a natural clock that estimates its functions on the basis of its external environment. Simply put, daylight and anything that mimics the daytime environment indicates that the body must stay awake and expect work. If it's nighttime, aka little or no light in your surroundings, the body will take it as a signal to call it a day and doze off. This is called the circadian rhythm.
To balance your circadian rhythm, you need to keep your body exposed to light during the day, such as sunlight and other bright-lit areas. When it's your time for bed, lower your exposure to lights a few hours before you go to sleep.
2. Exercise Regularly
Routine exercising during the day can be effective in promoting healthy sleeping patterns. Your body has had a sufficient workout and is ready to take its time off after the day's work. You may start with gentle, relaxing exercises and then take it upwards from there until you find the perfect adrenaline rush that gets your system ready for rest.
However, make sure you exercise a couple of hours before your bedtime. Otherwise, it may affect your sleeping pattern.
3. Be Consistent
You have to train your mind if you want to break an old habit and form a new one. The sleep cycle takes time to worsen, and it requires both time and effort for repair. If you really want to be in bed by ten and up at five in the morning, you'll have to be consistent. Avoid excusing yourself to take a cheat day off and stay up till late or waste your Sundays in bed.
Every retreat towards your old habit will make it further difficult to transform your sleep schedule. To save yourself from that rut, a strict, self-imposed curfew will definitely turn out in your favour in the longer run.
4. Cozying Your Bed
Sleep isn't simply powering down your brain for the night. It also involves allowing your body to relax on the surface you're most comfortable with.
One of the biggest reasons why you may be tossing and turning in your bed all night is because it isn't comfortable enough in the first place. You can add more pillows, get softer bed sheets, or a comforter for bedtime if that helps you sleep better.
5. Cut Down On Caffeine
A caffeine-run lifestyle often becomes a sleep-deprived one. While many consume caffeinated foods and beverages to stay active in the morning, some people use caffeine to keep them up at night as well.
The thing is, anything that disturbs your body's natural sleep cycle can have permanent adverse effects on you. So even if you're craving coffee, make sure you have some sufficiently before your bedtime. As you reduce your caffeine intake and work on your circadian rhythm, you will find yourself more active even without caffeine in the morning.
6. Optimise Your Bedroom Environment
One research from the National Library of Medicine discovered that disturbances such as traffic noise, mechanical noise, cellphone alerts, or even loud neighbours could ruin an otherwise peaceful night's sleep.
Your bedroom needs to be a safe haven from all sorts of distractions. Try to locate your bedroom in the quietest corner of your house. Get some noise-blocking windows, optimise your bedroom temperature, and keep the lights soft and dim to help your body relax the moment you enter the room.
7. Clear Your Mind
One of the biggest problems that keeps people up at night is a busy, preoccupied head. The last thing you need to do is force your body — more critically, your mind — to work till the point of exhaustion.
You need to declutter and detoxify your mind before it hits burnout. The best way to do this is to meditate a little before you're off to bed. You can also play some relaxing sounds on your phone or keep a daily diary to pen down your thoughts to clear your head.
8. Check for a Sleeping Disorder
A wrecked sleeping schedule isn't always your own fault. Sometimes, health factors such as sleep apnea, nocturia, insomnia, etc., that ruin your sleep experience. Sleeping disorders are also pretty common and often go unnoticed by many people.
However, these are easily diagnosable and treatable, so if you're working on your sleep schedule but still suffer from poor sleep, best get checked by a doctor. They'll help you with using pills and sleep exercises to establish a healthy sleep schedule.
9. Devote Your Time
The National Institute of Health recommends 7-8 hours of sleep as sufficient for adults, no more, no less. You need to prioritise your sleep for at least eight hours if you want to achieve quality sleep. This will, eventually, contribute to a healthier and more active heart and mind.
10. Organise Your Daytime Naps
Daytime naps are indeed an energiser, but if you can't keep them in control, there's no end to the laziness you can experience. Daytime naps are meant to serve the basic purpose of an energy revival, not a full-fledged sleep. Try to keep your power naps limited to half an hour max and minimise the number of times you need to take a quick nap. They should be enough to boost your energy but not long enough to put your body into sleep mode.