Getting adequate and good sleep is as essential as maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, yet a significant portion of adults are shown to receive insufficient sleep. It is recommended that an adult receives an average of between seven and nine hours of sleep each night; however, most of us sleep less than is recommended. Furthermore, the quality of sleep we may receive could also be improved.
Poor sleeping habits can lead to negative physical and emotional impacts, such as poor cognition, decreased productivity, immune system impairment, as well as improved inflammation, amongst many other side effects. For more information as to why good sleeping habits are important and the potential repercussions of poor sleeping habits, click here.
It is pivotal to obtain good sleep, in terms of both quantity and quality, since both aspects impact our overall health. Thus, the following article aims to provide seven tips on how we as individuals can adopt certain practices that may help us sleep better at night to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle our day-to-day lives.
1. Minimize blue light exposure before bed
Exposure to light at night can be harmful as it disturbs our circadian rhythm and may trick our brain into thinking it is still daytime, thus disrupting our sleeping and waking cycles. Furthermore, significant quantities of blue light emitted from electronic devices are the most harmful form of light exposure at night. Thus, using any electronic device before bed can negatively impact sleep quality.
In order to minimize our exposure to blue light, there are several precautionary steps that we can take. For instance, wearing glasses specifically designed to block blue light and installing software or apps on our electronic devices that are created to prevent the emanation of blue light.
2. Refrain from consuming caffeine towards nighttime
Caffeine is shown to stimulate the nervous system when consumed later in the day and can therefore prevent your body from relaxing at night when you may attempt to sleep. Studies have indicated that caffeine can remain heightened in your blood for a period of six to eight hours after consumption. Thus, when ingesting caffeine, it is necessary to consume it before this time when sleeping.
Due to such factors, if you crave some coffee before bed, be mindful that there are much healthier alternatives available and try limiting your caffeine consumption too early in the day.
3. Enjoy a relaxing shower before bed
Numerous studies have indicated the benefits of taking a shower before bed, as it has been evidenced to improve the quality of sleep for individuals and has also been shown to aid in inducing sleep. One particular study yielded results which highlighted that taking a warm shower 90 minutes before bed induced sleep faster for the individuals taking part.
Merely washing your feet in warm water would suffice in improving relaxation to facilitate better sleep in the event you may not wish to take a shower late in the day. Therefore, the next time you may have trouble sleeping, simply switch on your water heater and enjoy a nice warm shower before bed.
4. Maintaining a consistent sleeping and waking schedule
The circadian rhythm of our bodies is shown to function in a natural cycle which is in tune with night and day. Thus, irregular sleeping patterns have been shown to disrupt the natural circadian rhythm of our bodies and alter melatonin levels, leading to difficulty sleeping. In order to rectify this, it is important to practice sleeping and waking at consistent times to accustom our body to healthy sleeping patterns.
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5. Avoiding intermittent, long naps
It is important to note that studies indicate that individuals who do not often take long naps during the day may suffer from poor sleeping quality at night due to irregular, long daytime napping. However, those accustomed to frequent long daytime naps seem to suffer no such negative impact. Thus, this factor is dependent on the individual.
The negative impact of such naps is attributed to the fact that it disrupts one’s internal body clock, which can lead to difficulty in falling asleep at night. Thus, if you wish to take a nap during the day, it is recommended that it is limited to a maximum of thirty minutes, as short power naps have been proven beneficial in contrast.
6. Taking vitamin and melatonin supplements
Melatonin is a hormone that impacts sleep control, and studies have shown that taking melatonin can aid in improving sleep quality. Additionally, melatonin can help induce sleep faster as well as aid in adjusting one’s circadian rhythm, which may be disrupted due to travel and the associated jet lag.
Vitamin deficiencies have also been shown to impact sleep quality negatively. Iron deficiencies are a potential contributing factor for restless leg syndrome, which can inhibit your ability to get proper sleep. Thus, taking such supplements may be greatly beneficial to improve sleep quality further.
7. Refrain from consuming alcohol at night
Studies have shown that alcohol can increase snoring and sleep apnea, as well as disrupt normal sleep patterns. Furthermore, consuming alcohol at night can decrease normal nighttime HGH levels. HGH, the human growth hormone, plays an important role in maintaining one’s circadian rhythm, and thus, its disruption can lead to poor sleep.
Adopting the practices mentioned above may facilitate better sleeping habits and in turn enable you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day. Maintaining good health and well-being is crucial to leading a better quality of life. Thus, if you wish to learn more about how you can do so, click here.
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