Sleep is vital to our health, but unfortunately, many of us struggle to sleep well at night. With the ability to improve memory, boost your immune system and even help you to lose weight, a little extra sleep can go a long way and significantly improve your well-being. While sleep medications are an option, many cause unwanted side-effects. So, before turning to medication, try these ten tips on getting a better night sleep.
How the quality of your mattress can affect your sleep
The type of mattress you own is arguably the most important factor in getting a good night sleep. While no one single mattress is suited to everyone and personal preference is key, it is crucial that you invest in a supportive mattress which provides the right support for your body, no matter what position you are lying in. Feeling comfortable and supported through the night will enable you to sleep well, and help you to feel well-rested in the morning.
How exercise can be effective in helping you to fall asleep at night.
Exercising has a multitude of benefits, and besides improving your mental and physical health, it also has the added benefit of helping you to fall asleep at night. Working out tires you out and results in the increased production of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin, making you feel more tired. While regularly working out is most effective, even a brisk walk can significantly improve the quality of your sleep. And, as many of us are now working in sedentary jobs, it is more important than ever to exercise. However, it is advised not to exercise too late in the evening as it can overstimulate your nervous system making it difficult to fall asleep.
Reducing liquid intake before bed
While it is essential to stay hydrated during the day, it is recommended that you reduce your liquid intake 1 to 2 hours before you intend to go to sleep. Drinking large amounts before going to bed can cause you to wake up frequently during the night to go to the bathroom.
Cutting down on caffeine
Though cutting down on caffeine may seem like a major sacrifice, it can make a significant difference to your quality of sleep. You should refrain from drinking or consuming anything containing caffeine at least 6 hours before going to bed to prevent it from disturbing your sleep.
Practising a regular sleep schedule to reinforce a healthy sleep-wake cycle
Practising and reinforcing a regular sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at regular times can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. Adults require no more than 8 hours of sleep, and any more than this can negatively affect your sleep cycle making falling asleep a struggle.
Avoiding eating meals late at night:
A late-night meal can seem tempting, but it is worth your while to not give in to the appeal. Try to avoid large meals for a few hours before going to bed as a full stomach can make it difficult to fall asleep. If you choose to eat before bed, choose a light and healthy snack.
How relaxing can help you sleep
A relaxing bath or shower, relaxation exercises such as yoga and reading a book can help you unwind and prepare your mind and body for bed.
Controlling exposure to light before going to sleep:
Controlling your exposure to light can be an effective way to avoid insomnia. The body naturally produces melatonin to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle. However, certain factors can negatively affect the production and secretion of melatonin, thereby affecting your sleep. Avoid using electronics late at night as the blue light they emit can disrupt your sleep, try to spend more time outdoors during the day and allow natural light into your home. Once you are in bed, make sure the room is dark by using curtains that block out any light and avoid using bright lamps.
Why napping can interfere with your sleep cycle:
Napping during the day can make it much more difficult to fall asleep during the night. If you do choose to nap, attempt to limit it to 30 minutes or less to feel refreshed, rather than groggy.
Try to manage and resolve your stresses and worries before you go to sleep to help you fall asleep at night. This can be done by jotting down what’s on your mind, meditating, and trying to manage your anxiety.