Sleeping well plays a vital role in your health, mental function and energy levels. While there may be factors like work, relationships and general stress affecting your sleep, adopting certain habits will help you to improve your quality of sleep.
1. Stick to a sleeping schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will do wonders for the quality of sleep you are getting. Rather than getting a lack of sleep on the weekdays and waking up at noon on weekends, being consistent with 7-8 hours of sleep will reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Part of schedule can also include doing the same things before bed. Activities that promote relaxation such as light stretching, reading, meditation or writing are great for getting your body and mind to wind down for the night. Dimming the lights in your room and avoiding computer/phone screens will make it easier for you to fall asleep too.
2. Create the right environment for sleeping in
Ensuring that your room has ideal conditions for sleeping involves minimising light and sound as much as you can. Darkness promotes release of melatonin for a calming effect on your body.
Our body’s core temperature drops slightly when we are asleep. So having a room on the cooler side will aid in this natural temperature drop and help you to sleep better.
As we spend about a third of our lives asleep, it would also make sense to invest in some comfortable bedding to make sure you are as relaxed as possible when it comes to sleeping.
3. Watch what you eat
As a general rule, you shouldn’t go to bed hungry or stuffed from a big meal. A large meal in particular just before bed will most likely keep you up in discomfort. Ideally, you should eat 60-90 minutes before you go to bed.
The stimulating effect of caffeine and nicotine will also disrupt your sleep as their effect can take hours to wear off. Even though alcohol is sometimes regarded as an aid to sleep, it can actually reduce your quality of sleep massively, leaving you exhausted despite being in bed for a long time. Not to mention all the other ways in which alcohol harms your body…
4. Struggling to fall asleep? Get out of bed!
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed for hours, it’s much better to get out of bed and do something relaxing rather then confining yourself and trying to force sleep. One of my personal favourites is to meditate or read until I begin to feel drowsy again.
Once you feel drowsy, head back to bed and you’ll find that you feel much more relaxed and likely to fall asleep quicker.
If you’re not getting enough asleep, it can be a big detriment to your body and mind. Read more about the negative effects of sleep deprivation here. Making sleep a priority will benefit every aspect of your life from your physical fitness to your careers!