When we sleep well, our batteries are recharged and ready for the next day. Our immune systems benefit from it, and we are able to cope better with unexpected challenges. Whilst most people can live with the occasional bad night, it can be debilitating when insomnia becomes a regular experience.
Statistics reveal that 50 to 70 million people in the world have a sleeping disorder. Between 30 and 35% of Americans experience issues in this area at some stage during their lives. The good news is that there are practical steps we can take to improve our quality of sleep. Let’s look at six of them together right now.
Have A Quality Bed
No matter what strategies a person uses to help them nod off at night, they will be of little help if the bed is uncomfortable. If the frame rocks when you move, replace it. If you have cheap, unsupportive pillows, buy some decent ones. Choose a duvet of the right weight and thickness for the season. Statistics confirm that weighted blankets can help some people sleep better. They can make people feel more relaxed and secure.
It may be that you have a cheap or over-springy mattress that doesn’t support your back. Many people look for their next mattress by going online and visiting specialist websites. There are some which help people not to disturb their partners when they move, and others that are suitable for people with allergies. It’s also possible to buy versions that provide pressure relief, or that help maintains the temperature.
Create The Right Environment
Imagine having a warm bath at the end of the evening. You then enter your bedroom, which uses lavender oil for aromatherapy. The room is not over-busy and stimulating to the eyes. The room colours are gentle and calming.
There may be shutters or light-blocking blinds to stop the room from becoming light early in the morning. Alternatively, you may wear an eye mask. If it’s noisy outside, you can either close the windows or use earplugs.
Stick To A Routine
Our bodies have built-in time clocks. We have what’s called a circadian rhythm. If a person switches on the light at night, they will be sending their brain a message that it’s now daytime.
Try to stick to a regular routine of getting-up times and bedtimes. On the weekends or during the holidays, try and avoid the temptation to stay up late and get up late. Any variation in your habits beyond thirty minutes could upset your sleeping pattern. If you didn’t sleep well last night, don’t have an afternoon nap.
Research confirms that the blue light found on mobile phones and other electrical devices can adversely affect our melatonin production. That’s our sleep hormone. For this reason, you should avoid looking at screens during the hour before bedtime.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
If you eat a large meal late in the evening, especially if it is spicy, this will adversely affect your night’s rest. It’s wise to avoid the nicotine found in cigarettes because this acts as a stimulant. Don’t drink coffee during the evening, because caffeine is also a stimulant. Alcohol can impair peoples’ sleep too.
Some foods have been proven to help people sleep better. They include quinoa, sweet potatoes, milk, brown rice, and yoghurt with a sprinkling of cereal.
Take Regular Exercise
Our mental health, diet, and physical fitness are all related. If someone is not physically tired at the end of the day, they may only sleep lightly. When people take exercise, they experience hormones that make them feel happy, and they also sleep more deeply.
Thirty minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise is the key. Do something that gets your heart racing, be it swimming, jogging, cycling, or taking brisk walks. Don’t do this during the three hours before bed, however, or you will struggle to physically unwind at bedtime. Interestingly, sexual activity helps people fall asleep quickly.
Calm Your Mind
Studies confirm that people who practice mindfulness for ten minutes during the day and before bed, sleep and feel better. They learn to live in the moment, and to slow their thinking down. Studies confirm that people who practice mindfulness for ten minutes during the day and before bed, sleep and feel better. They learn to live in the moment, and to slow their thinking down.
There are special apps you can download on your phone. They can provide mindfulness scripts, play ambient music or feature sounds (e.g. the seashore or a ticking clock).
Anyone who takes these tips seriously will stand to benefit. Instead of dreading their bedtimes, they will look forward to having a restful night’s sleep.