Monday, March 15, 2021

4 Simple Steps to Better Sleep

 Everyone has a rough night’s sleep from time to time, but when they happen more often than not it can have a serious impact on our physical and mental health. When we are sleeping our body and mind have a chance to repair the damage from the day before and recharge for the day ahead. There are many possible reasons for a poor night of sleep, such as stress or illness, and while it is true that sometimes circumstances will conspire and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, having a healthy sleep routine most of the time will greatly improve your wellbeing. Here are 4 simple steps to a better sleep routine. 

  1. Stick to a regular routine

Adults should get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night and this is much easier to do if you stick to the same routine. Our bodies operate to a circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle during which the body carries out its essential functions, including sleeping and waking. Circadian rhythm is regulated by environmental cues such as light from the sun triggering the body to be more alert and the darkness of night encouraging us to relax and switch off. Fighting the body’ natural clock or disrupting its routine can lead to mental and physical problems over time. Taking naps of longer than 30 minutes during the day can disrupt your routine and make it much harder to fall asleep at night. You should certainly avoid taking naps later in the day. 

  1. Think about food and drink

Trying to sleep when you are hungry or uncomfortably full will prevent you from relaxing, so try to eat your evening meal at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. It is also a good idea to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol or smoking cigarettes in the evening. Many people believe that alcohol helps sleep and while it might make it easier to drop off, the quality and duration of sleep is usually worse. There are several supplements on the market which can promote more restful sleep for some, such as CBD gummies, magnesium, the B vitamins, and the amino acids L-Tryosine and L-Theanine.

  1. Make changes to your environment

Your bedroom should be designed for sleeping and little else. For example, it should be dark, cool, and peaceful. Try not to use electronic devices which emit blue light in the hour before you go to bed and do not use them in the bedroom. The blue light confuses the body’s circadian rhythm and the devices themselves are full of distractions that will prevent you from switching off. Blackout blinds, ear plugs, air conditioning, and a more supportive mattress might also help to improve your sleep.

  1. Do some exercise 

Exercise gets rid of excess energy that may be keeping us from switching off at night and it causes the body to release endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and calm the mind and body. It is best to exercise during the day and outside if you can, as the sunlight is beneficial for your circadian rhythm. Some people find exercising too late in the day prevents them from falling asleep as the brain needs time to wind down. Exercise can also help to regulate your core temperature as exercising increases your temperature. When it drops again, it mimics what happens to your body temperature as you fall asleep, signaling to your brain that it is time sleep. 

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