It is very important to maximize on your sleep, in order to maximize on your long term health and productivity during the day. However, busy lifestyles get in the way so many times, leading to a problem where not many of us get sufficient sleep – leading to drowsiness, poor judgment, and health problems like digestion issues.
The good news is that sleep control is actually easier than you may think. If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed in the middle of the night, the way to solve it begins with recognizing that restful sleep and restlessness are determined by your sleep habits themselves, also known as sleep hygiene. Here are some of those tips to help you out in your quest.
Taking a shower 30 minutes before bed
Many people like waking up and heading to take a shower, but you might want to consider being an outlier in this behavior – especially regarding warm showers. Warm showers have a powerful effect of helping your body relax, so taking them before bed ensures you have better chances of sleeping more soundly.
Consider having one at least 20 to 30 minutes before lying down on your comfortable ghostbed mattress. The shower will help your body temperature to rise, your muscles to relax, and increase in tiredness, while the body will eventually cool off faster due to reduced muscle activity, and the brain will interpret that as a conducive environment to release melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy).
Avoid consuming chemicals that interfere with your sleep
There is a reason why people like taking coffee or tea I the morning after waking up – they contain caffeine, which makes you stay awake. This is a bad idea when you are heading to sleep, although you might not know that caffeine actually has effects that last between four to seven hours – so you will need to eliminate your nighttime coffee, cola, certain pain relievers, chocolate or tea drinks.
In addition, nicotine is a powerful stimulant, so avoid cigarettes if you are a smoker. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant that tends to fool your nervous system that you are ‘asleep’, although this is a false thing because it will fragment your sleep cycle. This reduces the quality of your sleep, because the body has insufficient time for recovery between sleep cycles – making you more tired when you wake up. If you must take it, avoid drinking alcohol within three hours before heading to bed.
Make the bedroom for sleeping only
It is impossible to expect that you will sleep in a room full of noise and disturbances, so you need to make your bedroom conducive to sleeping by darkening it and leaving it quiet. To get this environment, first reduce the volume of outside noises, like through the use of earplugs. Darken the room through using curtains, shades, or eye masks to block out light – light is nature’s way of telling the brain you need to wake up, which is why you cannot sleep when your room is full of light.
The temperature must also remain cool, otherwise it will be very hard to sleep. Ideally, the temperature should be between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 to 23.8OC), and the room must always have good ventilation to help you stay comfortable.
Another rule you should follow is never allowing your pets to sleep with you. This is a common mistake many pet owners seem to make, but pets will disturb you regularly and might even leave their fur all around, which makes the bedroom hard to clean. The bedroom should only be for sleeping, so any electronic devices such as TVs, computers and laptops must always stay outside.
Incorporating a pre-sleep routine
If you simply jump into bed when you want to sleep, you might find it very hard to relax – simply because your mind is unprepared to relax and let go. This is where sleep routines come in; they not only help your body to wind down, but also assist the mind to prepare itself to slow down.
The exact routine you may follow might be different from someone else – it all depends on what works for you. They might include doing some relaxation exercises stretching, and listening to calm songs. Watching TV is not the best choice every time, but if you are watching it, then it is not a good idea to turn on the news – you might see distressing reports or discouraging headlines that make you stressed. You are better off watching a relaxing program instead, as it will relax your mind and prepare it to sleep.
Incorporate more mental exercises to help your brain stay busy
You might have trouble sleeping at a certain point in the night, even if you followed the advice of creating a sleep routine and reducing the use of electronics. In this case, your worries might be the culprit here, as something may pop up in your mind and make you feel stressed. For instances such as these, it is vital to do some mental exercises or games that will distract the mind from its worries and help you relax.
An instance would be names that end with certain syllables or begin with certain letters, or thinking of fruits or vegetables that begin with a certain letter. The ‘counting sheep’ game also helps, even though it might seem silly.
Some other useful ideas can include naming on the physical characteristics of an object such as the size, color and shape, thinking of your favorite songs from a certain artist and reciting them,or thinking about the lyrics of your favorite tracks and the wordplay they might have. It always works to help your mind stay occupied and fall asleep faster.
Getting better sleep is not just something that happens, as you will need to cultivate certain habits to make it happen. Therefore, these habits will assist you to get better sleep and avoid the problems of waking up feeling exhausted, while also creating consistency in your sleep routines – overall making you a better person in better shape.
To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.