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6 Tips for Adopting Healthy Sleep Habits

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Get Plenty of Sleep

It’s something you always want more of but can never seem to get enough. Aside from money, a quality night’s sleep is that one elusive thing that so many of us desire but can’t seem to achieve. Living a hectic life filled with work, obligations, stress, and chaos usually leads to the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. This leaves you exhausted and unable to focus throughout the day. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By adopting these 6 healthy sleep habits, you can finally get the quality night’s sleep you’ve been wanting.

1. Create a Calming Environment

Start-by-paintingOne of the best things you can do to promote a healthy sleep routine is create an oasis in your bedroom. Start by painting it a soothing color that helps relax your mind and body. Peaceful colors include light blues, violet, gray, and yellow. Avoid too many decorations or wall decor that is distracting or eye-catching. Room darkening shades are a great way to block outside light and help create a dark space for sleep. If white noise helps you sleep, invest in a sound machine. This will muffle any outside noises or disturbances while offering soothing sounds of nature. Your bed should be comfortable and supportive. This means finding the right mattress and pillow for you neck and back. Here you can learn more about choosing the right pillow for your neck. Invest in some soft, quality sheets as well.  It’s also important to reserve your bedroom for sleep and rest. Avoid bringing work or other stressful activities to bed at night. This helps your mind and body associate the bedroom with sleep and relaxation.

2. Consistency is Key

Establishing a routine or schedule for sleep is important at any age. While you probably outgrew your bedtime years ago, you should still be diligent about what time you go to sleep and wake up. When you go to sleep around the same time each night and wake consistently, your body falls into a natural rhythm. You’ll soon find yourself getting tired around the same time each night and waking without an alarm in the morning. This means your body is rested and ready for the day. It also means that your body gradually prepares for sleep as the day progresses. With each hour, your mind and body is preparing for a quality night sleep that evening. Sleeping late the next day will make it difficult to fall asleep and waking too early will cause you to feel extra tired in the afternoon.

3. Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

Caffeine is probably the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of staying up all night. Avoiding coffee at least six hour prior to bedtime is the first step in preparing your mind and body for sleep. Caffeine stimulates your body’s nervous system, which is why most people drink it in the morning. It helps you feel more alert, awake, and energized, which is exactly why; it’s sleep’s worst enemy. Caffeine is found in coffee, certains, and most sodas and sports drinks. Alcohol is another beverage to avoid at night and also acts as a stimulant. Although you may think a glass of wine or small drink will help you sleep, it will do more harm than good. Alcohol prevents your body from entering the REM cycle during sleep. REM, or rapid eye movement, usually occurs about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and lasts for 10 minutes. It’s during this time that your mind and body experience dreams. Heavy meals or foods loaded with saturated fats are also a bad idea before bed. These types of meals will leave you feeling bloated and may cause uncomfortable gas or bloating, leading to disrupted sleep.

4. Limit Screen Time

This tip goes for children and adults alike. Limiting your screen time before bed is crucial for getting a quality night’s sleep. The lights in your television screen, cell phone, lap top, and tablet emit a blue light which is sad to disrupt the brain’s ability to prepare for sleep. Screen time stops your brain from releasing melatonin, the body’s natural chemical that regulates your sleep and wake patterns. When you watch TV or look at your cell phone prior to sleep, your body doesn’t have enough melatonin to elicit feelings of relaxation and fatigue. It could take upwards of 2 hours for your brain to release these chemicals. This makes achieving sleep very difficult. Take the television out of your bedroom and charge your cell phone across the room. Choose an alternative activity prior to bed like reading or chatting with your partner.

5. Eliminate Naps

 listening to energetic music to snapIf you enjoy your afternoon naps, this tip is for you. Catching a cat nap or a short snooze in the afternoon is sure to sabotage your sleep later on. We’re all familiar with that afternoon wall. After lunch but before the work day is done where your eyelids get heavy and you fight the urge to crawl under your desk and take a nap. But giving in to these cat-nap temptations can make it even harder to fall asleep at night. Try a brisk walk outdoors, splashing some cool water on our face, or listening to energetic music to snap you from your sleepy state. It’s also interesting to note that sometimes, a nap might actually make you feel worse rather than better. Longer naps leave people feeling groggy and disoriented upon waking, rather than rested and energized.

6. Exercise

Exercise has so many proven benefits and achieving sleep is one of them. Whether you enjoy working out in the morning or at night, regular exercise can fight insomnia in some people and leave you feeling ready for bed at night. Morning workouts are a great way to boost your adrenaline and mood and often prepare people for the day ahead. Others enjoy working out at night, where they and release stress from the day. The post-exercise fatigue you feel may help you fall asleep faster but be sure to time your workouts right. Exercising too close to bedtime might actually energize you and make you too alert for sleep.

A final note

It’s rare that someone achieves the perfect night’s sleep every single night. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your current sleep habits and patterns. Making small changes to your daily routine, your bedroom arrangement, and your rituals before bed, can help you fall asleep faster and feel more rested in the morning. The lack of sleep leads to a long list of health complications. Improve your health and mental clarity by adopting these beneficial sleep habits.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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