Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health as well as the overall quality of your life. A failure to get enough of it often takes a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight.
There are many of us who struggle at night, unable to get that much-needed sleep. These struggles with insomnia can be overcome.
Making simple but important changes to your daytime routine and bedtime habits can have a profound impact on how well you sleep, leaving you feeling mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.
How do you get a good night’s sleep?
You hold the key to sleeping well at night. Getting a good night’s sleep may seem like an impossible goal when you’re wide awake at 3 a.m, but you have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize. Just as the way you feel during the day is more often than not based on how well you sleep at night, so the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.
Unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices for instance; can leave you tossing and turning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. But by experimenting with the following tips, you can enjoy better sleep at night, improve your mental and physical health, and improve how you think and feel during the day.
How do you improve your quality of sleep?
- Stick to your natural sleeping cycle – This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock, you may need an earlier bedtime.
- Control your exposure to light – Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm.
- Exercise during the day – People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
- Be smart about what you eat and drink – Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime. Ensure your diet has adequate amounts of Vitamin D, Calcium and Iron. If need be, take some supplements to ensure you have adequate levels of these important vitamins.
- Improve your sleep surroundings – A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.
- Go back to sleep – It’s normal to wake briefly during the night but if you’re having trouble falling back asleep, these tips may help:
– Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, “Ahhh.” Take another breath and repeat. These breathing exercises also help you if you suffer from sleep apnea.
– Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even if it’s not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your body.-Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the light dim and avoid screens so as not to cue your body that it’s time to wake up.- Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve. Similarly, if a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive after a good night’s rest.
Here’s to great sleep!