Your sleep schedule, bedtime routine, and daily lifestyle choices can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. Regardless of your age proper sleep is imperative to overall health. A good night’s sleep helps increase concentration, memory, permit your body to patch-up cell destruction, and rejuvenate your immune system; which in turn helps the body to evade disease and deal with inflammation in a healthy fashion.
Here are some tips that will improve your evening rest thus helping you be more productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and give you more energy during your day.
Keep a Regular Sleep Cycle
Everyone is different and what works for some might not work well for others. First, you need to find out how much sleep you personally need. Healthy adults need anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal function.
Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. You will feel much more invigorated compared to sleeping the same number of hours at different times. Even altering your sleep schedule by an hour or two can produce unwanted results so consistency is important, when your weekend rolls around try not to break your routine, even though you may be tempted to stay up late. If you do decide to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in slight daily alterations, like 15 minute increments.
You should be able to wake up naturally without an alarm. If you find yourself needing an alarm clock to wake up on time, you might need to set an earlier bedtime. Taking a nap can be a nice way to give you a boost. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, but only for twenty to thirty minutes.
Naturally Regulate your Sleep Cycle
Todays modern lifestyle can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin and with it your sleep cycle. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone your body produces based on exposure to light to help control sleep-wake cycles. In the evenings your brain should secrete more, when it’s dark, to make you sleepy and less throughout the day when it’s light and need to stay alert. Long days spent in an office setting away from natural light, for example, can take a toll on daytime wakefulness and make your brain sleepy. Conversely, bright lights at night, especially due to hours spent in front of the TV or computer screen can subdue the body’s production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep.
Simple actions such as removing your sunglasses in the morning to let the light in your face, taking your breaks at work outside in the sunlight, and opening the curtains during the day will make a significant difference. Additionally, using a light therapy box can mimic sunshine and can be particularly useful during these coming short winter days when there’s limited daylight.
Boost Melatonin Production at Night
At the end of the day many people use the television to fall asleep or relax at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this light produced by things like TVs, iPads, and other electronic devices suppresses melatonin production and can actually excite the mind, rather than relaxing it. Try listening to soft music, audio books, or practicing some relaxation exercises. Don’t watch TV while lying in bed, and turn the house lights low an hour before you want to be asleep. When it is time to sleep make sure the room is dark.
Get Stress and Anxiety Levels in Check
Stopping yourself from worrying, specifically about things outside your control will be very beneficial and help you learn how to manage your thoughts and ultimately help you achieve a more restful sleep. Are your worries truly realistic? Maybe you can learn to substitute unfounded fears with more creative thoughts.
What you eat plays a major role in how well you sleep. It’s especially important to monitor what you put in your body in the hours that lead up to your bedtime. Try to stay away from big meals at night by making dinnertime earlier. Eating heavy meals containing fatty, spicy, or acidic foods take a lot of work for your body to digest and will keep you up. If you’re hungry at bedtime, some people find that a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. However, for others, eating prior to bed can lead to indigestion and make sleeping more problematic. Experiment with your food habits to determine your optimal evening meals and snacks. Try things like a banana, a half a turkey sandwich, or some granola if you need a bedtime snack. Limiting your caffeine intake to the morning hours will also help.
As little as twenty to thirty minutes of light exercise during the day helps, and you don’t need to do all thirty minutes in one session. A brisk walk, bicycle ride, gardening or even housework should do the trick. Exercise should be done in the earlier parts of your day when possible, but again experiment and see what works for you.
Know when to Contact your Doctor
Everyone has the occasional sleepless night but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you need and may help treat larger health issues you could be unaware of.