Exercise and following a nutritious diet are 2 of the most popular and effective ways to live a healthy and fit life. But even if you never miss a workout or make it a point to eat only fresh vegetables, lean protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates, your efforts will fall short if you fail to sleep better.
Good quality sleep is often overlooked as an important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many people; especially those who lead a busy and active schedule, believe they can get by with just a few hours of sleep. Doctors have long recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night and 10 hours if you are 17 years old or younger.
Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
If you find yourself burning the midnight oil most nights, then you are missing out on the many health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep:
- Prevents heart attacks and strokes.
- Reduces risk of getting cancer.
- Lowers levels of inflammation.
- Better mental acuity and focus.
- Improves memory.
- Maintains healthy metabolism.
- Supports a weight loss program.
- Reduces risk of depression.
- Enhances recuperation.
- Strengthens immune system.
Lack of sleep has been identified as a factor in a number of health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. This is because your body is not given enough time to rest and recover from the day’s activities. If you lead a particularly stressful life, you are pushing your body to its limits when it is deprived of quality sleep.
How to Sleep Better
For some people sleep may be more of a luxury than a necessity. Try as they might, they just can’t get to sleep. They spend their nights tossing and turning on their beds and by the time they get to deep slumber, the alarm clock goes off. Instead of starting the day bright and sharp, they end up drowsy and surly.
If you find yourself lost on your way to dreamland, there are a number of things you can do to sleep better.
1. Maintain a Sleep Schedule
Make it a point to go to bed at the same time. Maintain a sleep schedule which allows you to get a minimum of seven hours of slumber. Try to limit the difference in sleep time by no more than one hour during weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body’s natural sleep patterns.
2. Avoid Technology Before Bedtime
Avoid checking your e-mail or texting before bedtime. Studies have shown that smart phones emit radiation that makes it difficult for people to fall asleep faster and at the same time affects the quality of sleep. Attending to messages late at night may result in a worried mindset or create emotional distress.
3. Be Mindful of What you Eat or Drink at Nighttime
Don’t drink beverages that contain caffeine at nighttime. As a general rule, you should have your final cup of coffee no later than 2:00pm. You should also avoid having a heavy meal before bedtime because digestion will make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
4. Make Sure Room Conditions are Ideal for Restful Sleep
Isn’t it better to enter a room that is clean and properly cooled before bedtime? Find out the ideal temperature setting that will help you fall asleep faster. You should also eliminate all light sources in your room. Light sends a powerful signal to your brain to stay awake.
5. Use Comfortable Beddings
A firm pillow puts your head in the right alignment so that you won’t experience neck and back pains. It also reduces the risk of snoring and breathing problems. Don’t scrimp on the number of pillows if they help you fall asleep faster. If your mattress is giving you back problems, consider getting a new one.
6. Set a Limit to Your Daytime Naps
Naps are a good way to recover some lost sleep time. But napping for prolonged periods will affect your ability to fall asleep faster at night. Studies show that a 20 minute nap is all you need to feel more rested and alert. Anything longer and you can feel very alert at night time.
7. Resolve Pending Issues Before Calling it a Day
The last thing you would want before bedtime is an active mind. Try to resolve pending issues before calling it a day. Organize the following day’s schedule ahead of time so you can lessen the level of stress in the morning. Ease your burden by writing down all your worries in a notebook.
8. Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise improves blood circulation which helps your vital organs function efficiently. But do not exercise close to bedtime as having increased metabolism and an elevated heart rate may interfere with your ability to sleep faster.
9. Find Time to Unwind
If you find yourself working late at night, find some time to unwind before retiring to bed. Read a book, play music or watch funny videos. Make sure the activity is not stressful or one that initiates bothersome thoughts. It may not be a good idea to read up on politics before bedtime.
10. Drink Milk
Mother used to fix us a mug of warm milk when we couldn’t sleep at night. Although the science behind the remedy is questionable one thing is clearly true. Drinking warm milk makes us feel good! It keeps our stomach full without feeling heavy. Most of all, a mug of warm milk brings back comfortable and happy memories.
There are other methods you can use to sleep better. You can use deep breathing techniques to help you relax your mind and relieve tension in your body. You can also play soft relaxing music or natural sounds like a running river brook, the Amazon forest or the ocean. Try each of our tips and find out which ones are consistently successful in putting you to sleep.
The most important thing to remember is to prioritize getting high quality sleep every night. The hours you spend asleep will determine how productive your hours are when you are awake.
Read more about the best pillows reviews you can get for a good night sleep.