Busy family and professional lives, heightened social activity, and addiction to technology are just some of the factors causing an increasing number of people to risk their health, wellbeing and longevity by failing to gift one of the best things we can do for our bodies – a good night’s sleep.
Here are some actions to help take charge of your nights and make sleep a priority.
Schedule Bedtime and Wake Time
Have a pattern and stick to it. Inconsistent sleep times can confuse your body and leave you feeling exhausted most days. The first step in fixing your sleep pattern is scheduling an appropriate bedtime and wake time. If you have a habit of sleeping in on weekends keep it to no more than 1-2 hours to ensure your body clock won’t fall out of step with your sleep scheduling.
Exercise Really Helps
We all know the overall health benefits of exercise as it triggers the release of feel good hormones boosting your vitality and keeping you in shape. A short exercise routine can also serve as one of the best ways to improve how we sleep by reducing stress and anxiety helping to wind us down from the day in readiness for sleep a few hours later.
Invest in the Quality of Your Sleep
The biggest factor in how well you are sleeping is your mattress. An uncomfortable mattress will result in aches and pains, restlessness and sleep that is neither restful nor restorative. If you don’t wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and relaxed then it’s time to take a look at your mattress and evaluate its condition.
Keep Dinner Light
Don’t make dinner the main meal of the day and instead choose light and easy to digest foods without any concentrated stimulants. Make sure you have your meal several hours before bedtime so that it won’t disturb your sleep.
Develop a Bedtime Ritual
The practice of a bedtime ritual has become more important in a society where hectic lifestyle and stress are commonplace. Some simple routines may include a warm shower or bath, reading a few pages of a book, drinking a cup of herbal tea or whatever may help put your mind at ease. Yoga or meditation will help if your day has been particularly stressful.
This is a quick fix that you can start today. Your bedroom should only be for sleep and intimacy so keep laptops, tablets, smartphones and televisions out of your room. Not only are they distractions from sleep the blue light emitted by their screens disturbs sleep.
Nap with Caution
For some people, an afternoon nap can sometimes be the cause of their restlessness and alertness during the night. Whilst short naps are the norm in some cultures and can improve cognitive ability and alertness, they can also impair the potential for a good night’s rest. If having a daily nap is your thing then it is best to keep it short and before 5pm.
Still Can’t Sleep – Then Don’t.
If you really can’t get yourself to sleep get up and go into another room to read a book, listen to some soothing music or even meditate until you feel relaxed enough to fall asleep. Forcing yourself to sleep when you can’t will only lead to frustration and stress. Remember sleep is supposed to be a restful experience, not a stressful one.
Don’t Give Up
Switching from bad sleep habits to healthy ones is a gradual process and will take time for you and your body to fully adapt. Following these and other relaxation techniques will bring a lasting benefit to the way you sleep and help towards a healthier and longer life.