Many adults don’t get as much sleep as they should. As a matter of fact, around 30 percent of the general adult population has insomnia to some degree, draining their energy and ruining their mood.
The story doesn’t end there, as sleeping problems can have severe health consequences, putting your quality of life and work performance in a downward spiral.
Simple adjustments of your daily lifestyle can go a long way and help you get the high-quality nighttime sleep you need to be your best self.
Create a Restful Sleeping Environment
Make a habit of using your bedroom for sleeping and never for watching TV, Netflix, or getting some work done on your laptop. Using it for those purposes may further increase your sleeping difficulties, especially if you already have trouble falling asleep. If you practice these activities in your bedroom, your brain will be less relaxed and prepared for sleep, as it will associate the environment with other, more demanding activities.
Other things are important too, such as the mattress you’re sleeping on, the room temperature, noise, and lighting.
Your bedroom should be quiet, as when we hear noises during our sleep, we come out of deeper stages of sleep or wake up. The same happens if we’re shivering or drenching in sweat.
Using blackout curtains and “white noise” machines can promote quality, restorative sleep.
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
For getting your 8 hours of undisturbed night sleep, there is nothing more important than having your sleep schedule and sticking to it.
A proper sleep schedule will help your body get into a routine, making it much easier for you to fall asleep at the desired time, and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.
The time your head hits the pillow should be the same each day, even during the weekends. Set it early enough so that you can get between 7 and 9 hours of night sleep, depending on your own needs.
It might take awhile for you to get used to the new rhythm, but being persistent will program your body to sleep better.
If you have trouble falling asleep within 20 minutes after you go to bed, you should get up and do a quiet and relaxing activity somewhere else, and then return to bed when you feel sleepy.
For easing your sleep difficulties and creating a sleeping routine, you can also visit Health Matters and check out natural products such as bath salts, teas, and supplements, that can help you fall asleep easier, and stay asleep longer.
Forget About Afternoon Naps
Most of us believe that we can catch up on the lost hours of zzz’s by taking a nap in the afternoon, but actually, these hours just don’t add up.
Sleepiness in the afternoon might be a result of your natural circadian rhythm, due to the accumulation of the chemical called adenosine. This need will pass, with or without taking a nap, as the circadian signal strengthens.
However, if you’re feeling excessively sleepy in the afternoon, it may be a symptom of sleep deprivation, or low sleep quality due to apnea, restless leg syndrome, or narcolepsy.
Napping at the wrong hours (after 3 PM) will only worsen your sleep difficulties, as long or frequent naps may interfere with nighttime sleep.
An occasional 10-20 minute nap, in the early afternoon, can relax you, improve your mood, and increase your performance.
Have Your Own Bedtime Ritual
Improving your sleep hygiene and establishing your bedtime ritual results in a good night’s rest. Taking a long, relaxing bath and practising calming activities before your bedtime such as reading, journaling, or mediation, will allow you to wind down and support a good night’s sleep.
It’s also important to avoid exposure to bright screens like smartphones and tablets, as they can suppress the release of melatonin, and disrupt your natural circadian rhythm.
Physical activity can help you overcome sleep difficulties, as it will both tire you and lower the levels of stress hormones in the body, which keeps us awake during the night.
As little as ten minutes of moderate exercises, such as swimming, cycling, or walking, can significantly improve your nighttime sleep, especially if you make a habit out of it.
However, even though it’s important to be active throughout the day, make sure you finish your training at least three hours before your bedtime.
This way, your body will have enough time to relax and wind down, allowing your body temperature, heart rate, and adrenaline levels to drop.
By following the tips above, you’ll find it much easier to fall and stay asleep in the night, and wake up fresh and energized in the morning.