12 tips on how to get a good night's sleep
In my previous blog ‘Why We Sleep- A book review’ I revealed a summary of all the reasons that Mathew Walker explained in his Book ‘Why we Sleep’ and how sleep benefits us in both emotional, physical and psychological ways.
But the big question is…
‘HOW DO YOU GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP?’.
Lets face it…
We’ve all been there. You have a busy day at work and not to mention you have either kids or pets waiting on you to come home to, and whats more is that you know your evening is far from relaxing. You have to make sure that food is ready, all chores are done and to top it off everyone is ready for tomorrow morning. Or as for the younger generation who are proactive in their life (so to speak), you spend your day in college or university or at work, only to finish and visit the gym to get that body you saw on Instagram or Facebook and coming home to cook (for some) and eat. Then if that wasn’t enough you sit on your sofa or bed and watch your beloved series on Netflix.
The problem, is next thing you know, its 11:30p.m. or for all the Netflix’ers 1:30 a.m. / 2 a.m. and you realise that you’re not asleep intact your are far from it.
Well no need to panic. Here are 12 steps that were mentioned in the Book ‘Why We Sleep’ by Mathew walker, that you can follow to improve your quality of sleep to gain all the benefits sleeping has to offer.
1. stick to a sleep schedule.
Humans are a creature of habit, so we find it difficult to adjust to different sleeping patterns within a week. It's a myth that by Sleeping later on the weekends, it makes up for the lack of sleep during the week. In fact, it makes it harder for the body to adjust to the desire sleeping pattern. Try setting an alarm for when you want to go to sleep as well as setting one for when you want to wake up. Remember, an alarm is in just for waking up.
This alarm clock has been a game changer for me. It sets the light to dim and slowly turns It off and it brightens the light to wake my body up in synch with the alarm.
2. Don't exercise too late and close to your sleeping time.
We all know that exercise is great and it's what we all require to keep in shape and make sure that our internal organs are functioning optimally. But to avoid restlessness in bed ,try not to exercise within 2 hours of your bed time. The reason for this is that when you exercise you release endorphins and adrenaline, which in turn keeps your heart and mind occupied and racing.
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
Did you know that caffeine that is contained in your coffee, Coca-Cola, certain teas and even chocolate can take sometimes as long as 8 hours to fully wear off?
Therefore, for a majority of us out there a cup of coffee in a late afternoon can make it so hard for you to fall asleep at night. Same thing goes for nicotine. Often smokers only have very light sleep. Furthermore, nicotine withdrawal can wake the person up really early making them sleep deprived.
4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
Having a night cap can make you feel relaxed. However, too much will affect your sleep cycle making you a light sleeper. And when the effect of alcohol wears off in the middle of a night, it also tends to wake you up.
5. Avoid large meals before bed.
Realistically it's ok to have a light snack, as long as it is 30 minutes before bed and you brush your teeth before bed. (sorry not sorry I am a dentist after all). But if you have a Big Meal before bed, it sometimes can cause indigestion. And I'm sure many of us remember our mum's telling us to not eat too much food before bed because it's not good for us. Now you know why. Thanks Mum.
6. Don't take naps after 3 p.m..
Naps can help when you are tired. In fact companies like Google, NASA, Nike and Apple, have carried out a research and shown the people who are well rested perform 40% better in general at work. So they have invested in nap pods. But be careful, because napping after 3 p.m. Will make it harder for you to sleep at night. The advice from the book is to have a 30-45 minutes nap before 3 p.m. if you wish.
7. Relax before bed.
Your mind is like a computer. If you run too any applications it will crash. Don't overwhelm your day with tasks that leave you know time to unwind before bed. Meditation is a fantastic way to relax in bed before you sleep. Next time, try guided meditation. Or better yet, why don't you pick up this book and read to relax.
8. Take a hot bath before bed.
Now this one is a double whammy. A hot bath before bed helps you to relax and slow down. And when you come out of a hot bath, the drop-in your body temperature automatically makes you feel sleepy. Making sure that when you sleep you enter a restful healthy cycle of sleep.
9. Dark and cool bedroom.
When we are relaxed our mind searches for anything to keep it distracted. Hence why we have so many thoughts running at the same time when we try to sleep. So any light that is present in the room is not helping us. Try to get curtains that block out light from outside fully. And make sure there is nothing flashing or any lights are on in the room. The temperature of the room is also important. During summer we find it hard to sleep because of the hot weather. A cool temperature in the room lowers your body temperature making you feel sleepier.
10. No gadgets before bed.
The most successful people in the world tell you that nothing will distract their bedtime. Their phones are left on charge in a different room. They do not watch TV before bed nor do they reply to emails on their laptop. So why don't you take a page out of their book. Plus by leaving your phone outside in another room helps you get out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes off, rather than snoozing it. The only gadget should be a pillow mist spray to help you sleep.
11. Don't lie in bed awake.
If you find yourself still awake in bed after 20 minutes, or if you starting to feel anxious or worried, then get up and do some calm yoga stretches. Or better yet meditate. Remember the anxiety from not being able to fall asleep can sometimes make the matter worse.
12. Catch some sunlight.
Research show that people who are exposed to at least 30-60 minutes of sunlight per day 10 to be able to sleep better at night. This is because sunlight helps us regulate our sleeping cycle. And by being exposed to sunlight it acts as a body clock synchroniser.
So there you have it, 12 tips on how to improve your sleep and get a full restful healthy night's 8 hours of sleep.
If you would like to find out the benefits of sleeping and the risk of lack of sleeping then you can always check out my blog 'Why We Sleep'.
sleeping is a natural and fundamental process there we all need to be able to live happier and longer. So don't neglect it.
Live life, love life.