How you feel while you are awake is greatly dependent on how well you sleep at nights. Your lifestyle, sleep schedule and habits can have a profound effect on the quality of your sleep. There are strategies that you can use to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. However, you would need to experiment with different techniques to figure out which one works best for you.
The first step in getting a good night’s sleep is determining the number of hours of sleep you need. While some people may need a minimum of eight hours every night to feel rested, others may be able to function with just six hours of sleep. Once you know this figure, you can begin using the different strategies to find out which one is perfect for you.
Have a Regular Sleep Schedule
It is important to get in sync with your body’s circadian rhythm. This refers to the body’s natural sleep and wake cycle. If you want to maintain a regular sleep schedule, you should make a point to go to bed every day at the same time and wake up the following morning at the same time. This will make you feel fresh and energized. If for some reason you are unable to go to bed at the fixed time, it is best to take a nap during the day rather than sleeping late to make up for the lost hours. However, napping during the day can worsen insomnia and if you are suffering from insomnia, avoid napping. But if you need a nap, make sure you limit the time to just 30 minutes and try to nap early afternoon.
Regulating Your Sleep Wake Cycle Naturally
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and it is controlled by the amount of exposure the body gets to natural light. This hormone is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. The brain secretes more melatonin in the night and this causes you to feel sleepy and the amount of secretion is lower during the day when the body is exposed to light. The production of melatonin can be disrupted by spending long hours at office and being away from natural light. Also, spending time in front of the television or computer can cause suppression of melatonin.
The best way to enhance the production of melatonin is by spending more time in the sun. If you are working, spend your breaks outside to expose your body to sunlight. When commuting to work, instead of wearing sunglasses let the light shine onto your face. If you find it difficult to expose your body to sunlight, it may be best to invest in a light therapy box. This box simulates natural sunlight and can be used during winters or other times to boost the production of melatonin, so that you can get a good night’s rest.
Furthermore, you can regulate your sleep-wake cycle by switching off your computer and television in the night. Watching TV can suppress production of melatonin and it also stimulates the brain. Instead, if you want to relax, try to listen to music or do some relaxation exercises.
When your bedtime comes, make sure you turn the room dark to let your brain secrete melatonin. You could try using a sleep mask to mimic darkness.
Set up a Bedtime Routine that is relaxing
If you want to have a good night’s sleep, it is important to relax your mind. This can be done by creating a bedtime routine that is relaxing. You can do this by ensuring that your room’s temperature is cool, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, as this is the temperature that is best suited for good sleep. Ensure there is adequate ventilation and your bed is comfortable. Block out sounds by listing to soothing music or white noise.
Exercise Regularly and Eat Healthily
What you eat and how active you are, will have an impact on your sleep. It is best to avoid large meals at night. Try to eat food two hours before you retire to bed. This will prevent indigestion and heartburn. Also do not drink alcohol before going to bed. While alcohol can make you fall asleep quickly, it has a negative impact on the quality of sleep. Do not drink too many liquids, such as water, tea or juices, in the evenings, as it will cause you to wake up to use the bathroom.
Exercise is very important for good sleep. Regular exercise of about 20 to 30 minutes will help you de-stress your body and relax it. Schedule your exercise for early morning or late afternoon, as exercising late will stimulate the body and prevent you from getting good sleep. If you are not into exercising, try doing some yoga or stretching to de-stress yourself and promote sleep. Yoga is a good idea to cope with the many stresses of work and home.
These are some tips that you can use to get a good night’s sleep. You may have to experiment with them to see which one suits you and works best for you.