any people neglect the importance of a good night sleep, which can cause a lot of health-related issues in one’s life. Like a varied nutrition and regular exercise, a good night sleep is crucial for maintaining an optimal health. In this article, we gathered the most important things to do and not to do in order you tounderstand how to sleep better.
Me personally never had problems with insomnia, but I had issues with lack of energy throughout the day, because of poor quality sleep. If we know what are the things we have to be careful about, we can create a have a good night sleep every day, with not much of an effort. So, let’s dive in, and see what we should focus on to achieve a better sleep.
1. Prepare for a Good Night Sleep
It’s easy to point to your schedule as the reason why you can’t get enough sleep. By the time you get a free moment, it’s bedtime, and you really don’t want to go to bed just yet; you need some downtime. Then you stay up too late and the cycle continues.
There are all sorts of other reasons, for not getting enough sleep. Maybe you have a spouse who snores, or you just have trouble sleeping once you do get to bed (insomnia). Whatever the reason, it’s important to make time and create the right environment for getting enough sleep. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Remember how your parents pestered you about bedtime? They had a point. Instead of looking at the ever-later clock each night, knowing you “really should” get to bed, set a bedtime and stick with it. Most experts agree that you should go to sleep before midnight, preferably before 11 pm.
If this isn’t possible, be realistic and set a bedtime when you know you can get it, even if it’s midnight or 12:30 am. Then be sure you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep.
Another note about bedtime – if it’s too early, that can cause problems too, experts note. If you find yourself fading to sleep at 7 or 8 pm, you may find that you wake up in the small hours after only 5 or 6 hours’ sleep, and you can’t get back to sleep.
You may have a set-up in your bedroom that is not conducive to sleep. Here are some things to look for and adjust in your bedroom to make it more sleep-promoting.
* Dark and cool is the rule for a sleepy bedroom. Darkness is important for a proper night’s sleep – lights from neighbors’ homes, screens (including the TV or computer screen), lamps, and so forth can disturb your sleep patterns.
If light can enter your room from outside, consider blackout drapes –Like This One – Check on Amazon
If this is not an option, you can try a sleep mask – Like This One – Check on Amazon
* Cooler temperatures are said to promote sleep. A higher body temperature may actually stimulate the body and prevent sleep, while cool temperatures help promote a comfortable night’s sleep.
* Your bed is for sleeping, not working. If you’re in the habit of working on bills, office work, etc. while sitting on or in bed, you might be inadvertently training your brain to be stimulated when you are in your bed. Also, it’s harder to walk away from work worries if you literally take them to bed with you! Try to keep your work in another room, or at least away from your bed.
* Keep it quiet in your bedroom. If you have trouble in this regard, use a fan or other source of white noise at night to drown out disruptive sounds. I prefer total silence, but if white noise helps you to achieve a better sleep, you can try out a white noise machine – Like This One – Check on Amazon
* Sleeping must be stress-free. Make Lists. Do worries keep you awake? Do you have a hard time turning off your brain? Making a list may help. Write down all of those things that are bothering you or that you can’t get your mind off of, and note some practical steps you can take in the morning (or during the upcoming day or week) to work those things out.
* Confort needed. If your bed is not comfortable can easily ruin your night even if you do all the above. You don’t need to change your mattress, but consider buying a quality topper to put it on your bed. – Check this for example on Amazon
2. Check your Diet!
The various connections between what you eat and how you sleep are gaining attention. Research is showing that what you eat or don’t eat can, in fact, affect your sleep. Here are some ideas as to how food affects your sleep, and what foods should be eaten or avoided to get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep and Weight Gain
Multiple studies have shown that getting adequate, quality sleep may contribute to weight loss and that not getting enough sleep may contribute to weight gain.
Interestingly, eating less did not help offset the weight gain associated with lack of sleep, according to a large-scale, long-term study on sleep and weight gain. This may be because lack of sleep may affect your metabolism, and when you don’t get enough sleep, you produce the stress hormone cortisol, which is said to make you feel hungry.
What to Avoid?
Eating chocolate, sugar, refined grains, or drinking caffeine during the day and into the evening can have a stimulative effect that goes well into the night. For some people, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can disturb sleep. In addition, experts recommend that you also avoid the following foods, particularly in the evenings and/or right before bed:
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine and foods that are hard to digest
* Alcohol – You may feel that alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, it won’t help you sleep better. Ironically, alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns and make for poor sleep quality. Its diuretic effect (particularly beer) can also disrupt sleep.
* Excessively salty foods – As the kidneys work to rid your body of the excess salt, you will probably find yourself getting up to go to the bathroom during the night.
* Black Tea, coffee, or cola – The caffeine these drinks contain is not only a stimulant to your nervous system; it’s been said to stimulate the kidneys, too.
* Spicy and/or greasy, fried foods – These kinds of food will make your stomach work harder during the night than you would like to. Also, they may cause heartburn.
What Should You Eat?
* Magnesium-containing foods, such as almonds, seeds, black beans, salmon, dark leafy greens and most whole grains are helpful (although if beans give you uncomfortable gas, they should probably be avoided). Magnesium is crucial to muscle and nerve function, particularly muscle relaxation.
* Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates may also promote sleep, as they are said to stimulate serotonin in the brain.
* Plain, low-fat yogurt with raw honey makes a good bedtime snack. Raw honey is actually purported to promote sleep and even weight loss, while yogurt contains calcium, which is also important to muscle relaxation. Calcium also helps with melatonin production in the body.
* Low-fat cheese can also help promote sleep. Whole grain pasta with a little Parmesan, for example, may be a good night-time meal.
* Drink Calming Green Tea.Unlike black tea, green tea with no caffeine has a calming effect, can reduce stress, and improve the quality of sleep. Here’s one I tried and did like it! – Check on Amazon
3. Time your Exercise Better!
Exercise can indeed affect your sleep, and not always for the better. How, when, and where you exercise all have an impact on your sleep quality.
Can Exercise Improve Sleep?
Yes, exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. Many experts point to this basic lifestyle adjustment as being key to sleep improvement. However, sources point out that how and when you exercise makes a difference in how positively and how much your exercise will affect your sleep.
Generally speaking, exercise in the mid to late afternoon is ideal. For one thing, it gets you past the sleepy time in the afternoon when taking a nap can result in you not feeling sleepy at bedtime. Late afternoon exercise gets your body heat up and your circulation going, and as your body temperature cools, it seems to get the body ready for sleep.
Give your body 4 hours to cool down after exercise!
If you eat dinner early, exercising after the meal may work for you – but giving your body at least four hours of cool down time is said to be best.
A vigorous workout in the evening shortly before bed means you are trying to sleep with a raised body temperature, and studies have shown that a cold body temperature is most conducive to sleep.
If morning is the only time, you have to exercise, of course, that is better than no exercise at all. Because any kind of workout is beneficial for the body overall, all body systems from circulation to muscle tone are improved, and keeping your body systems in top shape ultimately promotes a good night’s sleep.
Exercise also relieves tension. A 2008 study pointed out the relaxing benefits of workout and the subsequent benefits of better sleep.
What Kind of Exercise Is Best?
For the most effective sleep promotion, most experts agree that cardiovascular exercise is best. A vigorous cardio workout that lasts at least 20 minutes is sufficient to raise body temperature, get your heart pumping, and enhance circulation. Examples of cardiovascular exercises you can do at home or nearby include:
* Walking (vigorous, fast walking)
* Jumping rope
* Bike riding
The key is to make the exercise continual and vigorous. This is why activities like Yoga and lifting weights, while valuable and valid types of exercise, are not necessarily the best choices for sleep-promoting cardiovascular exercise.
Yoga and other meditative, stretching exercises may be helpful before bed, to relieve tension without raising the body temperature too much. In fact, some experts say that stretching periodically throughout the day may be of benefit. Muscle tension is kept at bay and is less likely to “take hold” and cause pressure and pain this way.