Are you unable to function without your morning cup of coffee? Are you tired and irritable throughout the day? Do you regularly wake up feeling you didn’t get enough sleep? If this sounds like you, then you may need to do some work on your sleep habits.
Getting enough sleep is not just important to help us function well at work the next day. It also has significant effects on our physical and mental health. If you regularly fail to get enough sleep, you are more at risk for a variety of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It can also make you stressed and lead to anxiety and depression. Good sleep, on the other hand, helps us maintain healthy physical and cognitive functions, keeps our immune systems strong, and improves our emotional wellbeing.
Good sleep habits are not just about the duration of sleep. Experts do generally recommend that you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but the quality of your sleep is just as important to experience the health benefits. Good quality sleep means falling asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed and sleeping soundly through the night without waking.
If you struggle with maintaining a healthy sleep routine, here are some tips to help you sleep better.
Being consistent with your sleeping patterns is crucial to regularly getting enough sleep. Your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle, works on a roughly 24-hour loop. If you go to sleep at random times each night, this inconsistency can play havoc with your body’s natural rhythm and lessen your sleep quality. To avoid this, get in the habit of going to bed and waking up at similar times each day.
Cut down on caffeine
Although caffeine substances have some health benefits, drinking it late in the day will make it harder for you to sleep. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can make you alert and unable to relax. The stimulating effects of caffeine can be present for up to six hours, so avoid drinking coffee or tea in the afternoon. If you do crave a hot drink in the evening, try switching to decaf.
Optimize your sleeping environment
Many factors in your bedroom have a significant influence on how well you sleep. The temperature of your room, the comfort of your bed, the lighting, and external noise all play a large part. Before going to sleep each night, make sure your environment is ideal for a good night’s rest. Keep your bedroom tidy and relaxing, minimize any noise in the house, and remove or hide any artificial lights from devices such as alarm clocks or computers.
Don’t use phones before bed
The blue lights emitted by phones and other devices can trick the body’s circadian rhythm into thinking it’s still daytime. Therefore scrolling through social media before bed makes it harder for you to sleep. Stop watching TV or using phones and computers for at least two hours before bed.
Relax in the evening
Often the stresses of the day carry on into the evening and can make it harder for us to get into the right frame of mind for sleep. Implement a relaxing nighttime routine to calm your body down and improve your sleep quality. Many people find activities like reading, taking a hot bath, meditation, or listening to music all help them to drop off.
What methods do you use to sleep better? Share your tips in the comments!