Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.
Eat right, sleep well, exercise enough and love without limits – you are well on your way towards achieving good health. If you are someone who consistently gets less than six hours of sleep nightly, reading these tips will help you sleep better.
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the simplest and most important things you can do. One in three of us is known to suffer from poor sleep. Apart from the usual fatigue, bad moods and a lack of focus, poor sleep patterns put you at risk of serious health issues like obesity, reduced immunity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure and shortens life expectancy.
So, you tried everything from avoiding caffeine and heavy meals in the evenings to switching off your devices in the bedroom, but it doesn’t seem to work?
1. make your bedroom sleep-friendly
Reduce your nighttime light exposure and increase your daytime exposure. Ban all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Switch off the bright lights and make your bedroom cozy and dark before bedtime. At the same time, keep the bedroom bright during the day with either natural sunlight or by keeping the lights on.
Noisy environment may wreak havoc with your sleep patterns. A quiet room goes a long way in getting quality sleep. Television in the bedroom is an absolute no. Even if you have one, turn it off at least an hour before bedtime.
The temperature of your bedroom also affects how much quality sleep you get. If the bedroom is too warm or too cold, your sleep patterns will get disrupted. Set the temperature at a level you are comfortable with.
Many of us overlook this aspect of the bedroom. Keep the bedroom free of clutter. Invest in a good quality bed and pillow for that uninterrupted beauty sleep.
2. be smart about what and when you eat before sleep
- Try to eat dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Limit drinking excessive water or liquids just before bedtime to avoid frequent trips to the toilet.
- Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Nicotine and alcohol disrupt your sleep pattern, so avoid them before bedtime for a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid heavy meals and those with high sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- On the other hand, don’t go to bed hungry. If you feel like you must have late-night snacks, have some plain milk or yogurt. Yogurt promotes better sleep. Not the flavored ones laden with sugar, just plain milk or yogurt.
3. prioritize physical activity
The more you exercise, the better will be your sleep patterns. There are theories that working out late in the day interrupts your sleep, but it really depends on the individual. There are people who work out in the evening and still get good sleep at night. Low-impact exercises like yoga or walking actually help induce sleep.
4. rule out medical conditions
Certain medical conditions or medications can result in irregular sleep patterns. Consult your doctor so that the medical condition can be treated or medication can be adjusted to help you sleep better.
5. stick to a sleep schedule
- However hard it might sound, try your best to sleep at roughly the same time every day. You can allow yourself a grace time of 30 minutes.
- Limit day time naps to 30 minutes and time them earlier during midday.
6. take a shower to sleep well
A warm bath before sleep soothes and relaxes the body and helps you wind down. It also serves as an activity to signal your brain that it is bedtime.
7. write down your worries
Worries are one of the main reasons you aren’t able to sleep. Follow a daily ritual of writing down whatever is in your mind – reasons for today’s stress, things left undone and things to do tomorrow. Spending those few minutes writing will help clear your head and save you hours of tossing and turning in bed. This habit also helps you avoid bright screens (your phone, tablet, computer or television) before bedtime.
8. pray to sleep better
Once you are done writing down your worries, stop worrying, pray and hope that tomorrow will be a better day and promise to work towards it. Nothing relaxes you like faith. Faith in God, faith in yourself and faith in the future.
9. breathe and meditate
I found this to be the most effective method and wanted to save the best for the last 🙂 I’ve combined the techniques of breathing and meditation of yoga to come up with this strategy which has always worked for me.
- Lie down on the bed flat on your back, close your eyes, concentrate and slowly relax the muscles in each part of your body starting from the feet all the way upwards to the arms, face and head.
- Then very slowly, take the deepest possible breath and release. When you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out all that stress and bad vibes.
- Repeat this deep breathing up to a count of 10. The key is to focus and do it very slowly. I can challenge that you will never be able to finish 10. You will be in your dreams by then!
All these activities of winding down with a shower, writing, reading, prayers and meditation will automatically take about 30 to 40 minutes and help you stay away from all electronic devices. Congratulations! You are destined to sleep like a baby tonight. And every night from now.
Try these tips and get a good night’s sleep. Have you tried any other strategy that has worked for you? Don’t forget to share it in the comments column. I would love to hear from you.
Reference: Harvard Health Publishing.