One sleepless night is usually only followed by a day of feeling out of sorts. As an odd occurrence, it’s probably bearable.
However, poor sleeping routines and long term insomnia can harm your wellbeing. It affects your brain function and can lead to a compromised immune system, hormonal imbalance, and even weight gain.
This article explores how to establish a solid sleeping routine. We’ll consider the quantity or number of hours of shut-eye you need. Equally, if not more important, it looks into proven tips and tactics on enhancing the quality of sleep.
Your Sleep Environment
To help you get a good night’s rest, you’ll need to optimize your bedroom environment. This includes managing your bedroom temperature, eliminating noise, adjusting light settings, and your vitally important mattress choice.
Your mattress can support you in establishing a good sleeping position. The sleep masters at ThisOldHouse.com recommends that you consider your preferred sleeping position when selecting your mattress.
As an example, side sleeping is considered one of the healthiest snoozing positions. It supports your neck, spine, and back and prevents you from waking up feeling stiff. Therefore, side sleepers should opt for a mattress that supports the spine while cushioning your shoulders and hips.
Your room should be a comfy, quiet, and relaxing space. Minimize artificial lights from alarm clocks and digital devices, and draw the curtains or shutters to keep external light out.
You may need to test the room temperature to find your comfort zone. Most people find a room of around 70°F best suited. Remember, this is influenced by your body temperature and may vary depending on the season.
Food, Drink, and Sleep
Eating too late at night influences your sleep. A massive evening meal makes you feel uncomfortable and makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Large or spicy meals may lead to heartburn or indigestion.
You should ideally not eat for at least two hours before you go to bed. If you do get the late-night munchies, choose something light and have it no later than 45 minutes before going to bed.
Try light snacks with magnesium and calcium like yogurts, cheese, and crackers or have a banana with nut butter. These may support rather than disrupt your rest.
When it comes to drinks, both caffeine and alcohol should be used in moderation. Drinking coffee too late in the afternoon may impact your sleep as caffeine can stay in your system for up to 8 hours. If you can’t give up the afternoon java-fix, opt for a smaller cup, or try a decaf version.
Alcohol is known to alter melatonin production, which takes place while you’re asleep. It’s also a culprit that significantly worsens sleep quality as those who drink alcohol are prone to snore. In the long run, this disrupts your natural body clock or circadian rhythm and can cause severe sleeping disorders like sleep apnea.
Supplementing your diet may be required. If you’re not able to get there on your own, you may consider taking melatonin or a natural hormone supplement to help you. Alternative options include magnesium or calming lavender to help you relax naturally.
Just like you need to apply regular exercise and eating habits to maintain your physical condition, you’ll need to create a healthy nighttime routine to improve your sleep quality.
You’ll need to build solid habits to benefit your health and stick to it over time to impact. Here’s how you can implement this.
Routines and Schedules
Set up and stick to a routine and schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Think of how sleep is managed for younger kids with a strict bedtime.
By doing this daily, even on weekends, you’ll train your body’s natural clock and set a sleep rhythm. Over time the pattern will stick, and it will become easier to go to sleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed in the morning.
Part of your go-to sleep routine can include relaxing rituals at bedtime. Take a shower or have a relaxing hot bath before you go to bed.
Remove yourself from bright lights. Start dimming your bedroom lights and limit time spent on mobile devices or screens before you go to sleep.
Clear your mind from the day’s stress and worries to get a sound night’s sleep. Consider listening to light music at a lowish volume, practicing deep breathing, or do mindfulness meditation.
Regular exercise is scientifically proven to improve your sleep patterns and your overall health. Introduce light exercise like a daily walk to help improve the quality of the rest you get.
As you get fitter, you can expand on your exercise. Be mindful that a vigorous workout before bed may have the opposite effect as it increases stimulation, rather than winding you down. Choose to do more strenuous activities earlier in the day.
The Beauty of Better Sleeping
To better the quality and quantity of sleep, you’ll need to do a bit of work. Creating the right environment will help you shift from daytime into sleep mode.
Healthy habits in every aspect of your daily eating, drinking, and exercising all add to how you end your day. The reward for a good routine is no more restless nights.
In addition, take note if you notice or experience the following symptoms during your sleep:
There are times when your breathing stops during your sleep.
You get sleepy in the daytime.
You snore loudly and excessively.
You wake up with a sore throat and a dry mouth.
You have a headache in the morning.
Those symptoms may be indicative of sleep apnea, a medical condition that is treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) through sleep-aid devices like CPAP machines. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or any kind of sleeping disorder, go to your primary health-care physician (a sleep specialist, preferably) for your diagnosis and corresponding treatment.
Your sleep routine’s ultimate benefits are good health and an improved lifestyle in which you’re well-rested to perform at your best, so you should always pay attention to your sleeping habits and anything that negatively affects the quality of your sleep.