A healthy sleep cycle is extremely important for everyone. Truth be told, there is no real harm in skipping your regular sleep time every now and then; after all, a great number of people don’t get enough rest, nor do they need coffee to start their day, and everything seems to be working fine.
However, this kind of lifestyle will eventually show its repercussions in the future, simply because you are causing your body to constantly be active without the necessary rest. Moreover, your natural sleeping habits become distorted, which makes it difficult to adjust to a normal lifestyle, so to speak.
In order to restore normal sleeping habits and return that feeling of being well rested, you will need to do some of the following things. You need think about the elements that interfere with your sleep, and start managing those issues a bit better. Once you are able to better control these factors, you will be able to have a quality rest.
Additionally, if you cannot manage them effectively, you can adopt better sleep habits to make it easier for you to cope with these issues. In other words, you need to work on both fronts and the following article will be able to help you achieve that. Here are some tips and tricks for quality sleep.
The Normal Sleep Cycles
You might have heard that a healthy sleep cycle is from 9/10pm to 7/8am. This is correct, however, it doesn’t really need to be this strict; after all, it makes no difference when you turn in at night, whether it is 8pm or midnight.
The important thing to remember is that you need around seven to nine hours of sleep in order for your body and mind to adequately recover. In other words, you don’t need to force yourself to fall asleep at a particular time, but you do need to ensure that you get enough sleep.
Basically, the time when you need to get up will dictate when you need to turn in. Try to ensure you go to bed and get up at approximately the same time on both workdays and weekends.
In the event that you have trouble falling asleep, there are means of managing this as well. If you cannot fall asleep 20 minutes after you lay down, you need to leave your bed, and do something that can relax you. You can either read or listen to soothing music, until you feel drowsier.
Do not look at the screen of a computer or phone, as it can be counterproductive since their blue light gives the wrong signals to your brain. If you still can’t fall asleep, get up and repeat the relaxing process or try another method.
Pay Attention to the Intake of Foods and Drinks
Going to bed on an empty stomach or stuffed will keep you up at night. So, you should eat a couple of hours before turning in, but you should avoid heavy and large meals for dinner. Moreover, there are substances that can interfere with your sleep time that are not necessarily ingested via food.
Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can stimulate your body in different ways, and it will take some time before these effects wear off. Moreover, these things directly impact the quality of your sleep, and can prevent your body from resting properly even if you sleep for 8 or 9 hours.
There are also meals that can actually help you fall asleep faster. Foods containing tryptophan, or foods that help your body make serotonin and melatonin will significantly improve your odds of falling asleep faster.
So, you can have a light snack at night like walnuts or almonds if you wish to get some Z’s over the course of the night. Lettuce, tuna, and rice, are also viable meals for dinnertime, and all of these are great sleep enhancers, so to speak.
Drinking chamomile tea or eating some honey can turn out to be really helpful tuners for your body clock. Learn more about the foods that can help you fall asleep more easily.
The best way to become drowsy is physical exhaustion. By collapsing from sheer fatigue, you can fall asleep faster, and you will be out for a couple of hours for sure. Of course, you do not need to train yourself to the point of exhaustion just to fall asleep more easily, but adding exercise to your daily routines will really help you in this department, and it is good for your health in general.
As you have probably heard a million times, exercise is a miracle drug; the only problem is powering through the first 20 or 30 training sessions, until it becomes a habit. Also, it is important to remember that you should not train right before bedtime, because as you get worked up, it will take some time before your body cools off and for the exhaustion to kick in.
You do not need to train as diligently as athletes; you can have a half an hour of an active work out session on a daily basis. It should be really helpful for better sleep quality. You can also ride a bike or simply take a walk outside, since being outdoors also tends to help.
Create a Peaceful Environment
An important aspect of quality sleep time is definitely your bedroom or your sleep environment. You should ensure that the room you rest in is ideal for sleeping. The space should have minimal exposure to light and good sound isolation; in other words, it needs to be dark and quiet; otherwise, it will be more challenging for you to fall asleep. It was also mentioned that you need to avoid light-emitting screens before turning in, as they can stimulate your brain, which hinders your attempts to get a good night’s rest.
In the event that your room does not have good isolation and light can easily barge in, you can install some shutters, put on a sleeping mask, or use earplugs. Also, if you have a fan or an air conditioner, it would be ideal to always keep the room at the ideal sleeping temperature, between 15 and 19 Celsius (60-67 Fahrenheit) – so probably a little cooler than you’d feel comfortable in during the day. You can also promote sleep by doing relaxing activities prior to your bedtime, such as taking a bath, applying your night cream, meditating, listening to relaxing music, etc.
Set a Limit on Your Daytime Naps
Power naps are amazing, as they do not take up too much of our time, yet the outcomes can be quite refreshing. However, it is important that you keep the number of such naps to a bare minimum, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night. Long daytime naps are very likely to mess up your nighttime sleep and prevent you from achieving the healthy sleep cycle discussed at the beginning.
So, it is really important that power naps are only kept between 20 and 30 minutes, and that you avoid relying on them later in the day. Of course, in the event that you are working night shifts, you are going to sleep through the day; there is no reason to heed to this advice.
Manage Stress Levels
Lastly, it is really important that you keep your stress to a bare minimum. Of course, stress is a part of our daily lives, and it can also be connected to some chronic medical conditions. Of course, lack of sleep significantly magnifies the negativity we experience, so it important we try to overcome or at least mitigate the stress that causes lack of sleep – or we risk creating a vicious cycle of being tired and stressed.
If you are experiencing back pain or headaches, you can try pain killers, hot and cold treatments, or you can sleep with an additional pillow between your knees to get into a more favorable sleeping position. In the event that you are stressed about things you have no control over, you need to repeat that fact to yourself, and reassure yourself that worrying won’t do you any good.
Again, you can do breathing exercise and meditate to become more relaxed and increase your chances of falling asleep. Additionally, it is good to take your mind off things that cause stress, so you can either watch or read something to divert your thoughts, or even exercise to blow off steam.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to ensure a healthy and long sleep, so you should feel free to implement them, if you are having issues with insomnia. Of course, in the event that you are experiencing more serious psychological problems, it would be wise to consult a professional, and get to the root of your troubles.