What makes a good night? A lot of people can agree that sleeping well is an important component of a good night. Having difficulty sleeping at night is a very common issue that many people face. It may be a temporary problem that arises due to increased stress, which spans for a few days at most.
However, sometimes sleeping difficulties can become a more lasting problem which can affect your relationships with other people, your work and your mental wellbeing.
So how can you improve your sleep?
It’s well-established that there’s nothing’s more frustrating than a night of tossing a turning, but by experimenting with the following tips, you can enjoy better sleep at night, boost your health, and be more productive during the day.
- Establish a sleep routine
Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm, meaning the way we sleep and wake up is influenced by the sunrise and sunset. By keeping in sync with this rhythm, your body will programme itself to naturally fall asleep and wake up at certain times, which will result in you feeling more refreshed and energized.
Following a 7 or 8 hours sleep pattern can aid long-term sleep quality and ensure you’re well rested. Being consistent with your daily sleep schedule is a powerful step toward getting better sleep.
- Make your bedroom sleep-friendly
Turning your bedroom into a place of comfort and relaxation will help you fall asleep quickly and easily. Though this might seem obvious, it’s often overlooked, contributing to difficulties getting to sleep and sleeping through the night.
In designing your sleep environment, focus maximizing comfort and minimizing distractions. Other tips to note are:
- Choose quality bedding
- Keep the noise down
- Keep your room clean and tidy
- Introduce pleasant aroma such as a drop of lavender oil onto the pillow
- Avoid technology
Ban every light-emitting screens from your bedroom, and avoid looking at them before bed. Devices such as smart phones, computers and TVs emit a blue light which suppresses the sleep hormone, melatonin.
The blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, which will consequently cause your body to stop producing sleeping hormones. Doctors recommend putting your gadgets away at least a half hour before bedtime. All of these will help you have a good night and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Eating too much and eating too little is bad before bedtime. In particular, avoid heavy meals, alcohol and spicy foods before going to bed because they can cause discomfort, which will keep you up at night.
Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas and chocolate) can interfere significantly with sleep as they have the effect of stimulating the body for about 3 to 5 hours, but they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 6-8 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality.
- Stay active during the day
Getting regular exercise during the day will help you feel tired at night. Being active increases your metabolism and helps against stress and anxiety, which in turn will improve your sleep. Try to exercise earlier in the day or, if you prefer late night workouts, give yourself time to wind down and relax afterwards.
Practising the following strategies will assist you to slowly resume a better pattern of sleeping. Remember that changing old patterns and developing new ones takes time and practice, but If your sleep problems persist, you should contact your health care provider.