Usually, when the topic of healthy living comes up, the conversation steers towards the proper diet and the right amount of exercise required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Well, sleep is just as important as the food you eat and how much exercise you get.
Even with a healthy diet, getting little to no sleep can negatively impact your hormones and brain function, causing adverse effects such as the increased risk of diseases, anxiety, high-stress levels, and weight gain.
Simply put, the quality and quantity of your sleep matters. If you struggle with insomnia or restlessness during the night, the idea of falling asleep easily may seem like an impossible dream. Well, it isn’t – impossible.
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It’s been shown that several habits can help improve the amount and quality of sleep you get at night, putting an end to whatever restlessness you endured in the past.
If you want to enjoy a sound sleep every night, here are ten ways to improve your sleeping pattern.
Read more after the jump:
1. Determine the quality of your bedding
Do not underestimate the power of quality bedding. The mattress and pillows you lay on can be the difference between sleeping soundly or staying up all night. With poor quality bedding, you’re bound to experience lower back pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
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2. Avoid consuming caffeine before bed
Coffee is great to kick-start the day but drinking it at night is not a good idea. Caffeine serves as a stimulant to the nervous system and as such, can make it difficult for your body to relax naturally especially at night.
If you want to improve your sleep pattern, it’s best to limit your caffeine intake to daytime hours. If you can’t do without coffee at night, try decaffeinated to ensure a restful sleep.
3. Avoid taking naps late in the day
A quick and short nap can be incredibly restful during a busy day, helping you replenish your energy levels and get back to the day’s activities.
However, if you struggle with falling or staying asleep through the night, taking long naps, especially late in the day can decrease your ability to fall asleep at night. It’s, therefore, best to reduce the length of your naps and avoid taking one around late afternoon to evening.
4. Reduce blue light exposure
Nighttime activities that involve working on your laptop or spending long hours on the phone can negatively affect your sleeping pattern.
While exposure to natural light in the daytime is beneficial for healthy sleep, blue light can interfere with your circadian rhythm and trick your brain into believing it’s still daytime.
If you must use your smartphone or computer before bed, some apps can help reduce blue light on your devices.
5. Reduce your intake of heavy meals at night
To improve the quality of sleep you get, you’d have to make some compromises in your lifestyle, and this extends to your evening meals. Eating heavy foods just before bed can be problematic for those who struggle with falling asleep.
It’s best to finish dinner several hours before bedtime, so your body has a chance to digest the food. Also, limit nighttime snacks to foods that won’t affect your sleep.
6. Transform your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment
Your bedroom environment is another key factor that can influence sleep, and getting quality bedding – as advised earlier – is a good first step.
External noises can act as stressors and interfere with your sleep, so try to minimize such noises, especially at night. Eliminate or reduce artificial lights and set your bedroom temperature to what’s most comfortable for you.
7. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
Irregular sleep patterns can reduce melatonin levels and alter your circadian rhythm, leading to difficulty in falling asleep. Making a habit of going to bed and waking up at a specific time each day is a good way to set your internal clock.
Try to keep up with this sleep/waking cycle even on weekends, and soon your body’s internal clock will run so smoothly, you’d hardly need an alarm.
These tips, if followed consistently, can help you improve your sleep pattern and enjoy restful sleep every night. However, if you find that your sleep problems are no so easily cured, it could indicate a sleep disorder, and a visit to your doctor is in order.