All of us have had that sleepless night episode where it is simply impossible to fall asleep no matter how much we toss and turn. It could be any situation, from an exam to a marriagelooming on our heads, making us think about all possibilities related to it. On the other hand, if it is not something about the future, stress related to the past or present also poses a serious obstruction in our approach to fall asleep.
Sleep is one of the most important requirements of a human body. During sleep our body recovers from all the stresses it was exposed to during the day. It heals itself and gets prepared for the next day during these vital hours. If we do not sleep well, we are risking ourselves to a variety of health problems both physical and emotional.
Therefore, it is essential that we learn how to cope with the stresses of our daily life and work around them to catch a good night’s sleep regardless. Here are some pointers to help you get the sleep of your dreams and fight anything from insomnia to a jet lag:
Sleep and wake up at the same time
If you keep in sync with your body’s internal clock and maintain your sleeping pattern at the same time daily, you will definitely sleep better. Try to keep a bedtime close to when you usually feel tired. This way you will not spend too much time trying to fall asleep. If you sleep at the right time and get enough sleep you will not even need an alarm to wake up! This is an indication that you are getting the right number of sleeping hours.
Additionally, handle weekends in a better way. Do not sleep in, this will disrupt your whole routine and might bring you back to square one. Even if you have to sleep late, wake up at the same time, and make up for the lost sleeping by napping in the afternoon.
Do not nap at a wrong time
Napping does help in making up for the lost hours of sleep after a busy day or just giving you that extra burst of energy. However, it can disrupt your important night sleep cycle. Therefore, keep these naps 15-20 minutes long and at early afternoon hours. Do not nap near bedtime because this will prevent you from sleeping on time or will just cause you to wake up at the middle of the night.
Expose yourself to healthy sunlight
Melatonin is a hormone released by your body when it is in a dark environment which helps you feel sleepy. When exposed to sunlight, the brain secretes less of this hormone which in turn keeps you more alert. Therefore, keeping to this natural way, expose yourself to healthy sunlight during the day which will keep this hormone at bay and will keep you more alert leading you to get tired only at night.
Regular exercising will help you stay energized throughout the day and will prevent you from napping at the wrong times. This will help you direct your major chunk of resting period to the proper sleeping hours. Relaxing and low impact exercises such as yoga or even gentle stretching can help you fall asleep. Furthermore, exercising also helps us get longer periods of deep sleep which is the best curative time for our body.
However, one of the main aspects of exercising to carefully manage is the timing. Do not exercise too close to bedtime because this might stimulate you more and interfere with your sleep. In fact, keep a 3-hour gap between your last exercise routine and your bedtime.
Eat and drink right
What we eat and drink can effect every aspect of our life including sleep. Avoid or limit stimulants like caffeine and nicotine especially near bedtime. Also, have your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime. Avoid having very heavy meals or spicy meals at night. This might cause digestive discomfort and may disturb you after you fall asleep. Drinking too much liquid near bed time is also not a good idea, as it may cause you to take washroom trips in the middle of the night and might break your otherwise smooth sleep.
If your day was really stressful and you can still feel the rush of the stimulating hormones triggered by your brain earlier during the day, it is best to try some rituals to unwind. Activities like taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, doing some soft stretches, visualizing your favorite peaceful scene or just deep breathing can help you coax yourself to sleep.
Keep your sleeping environment just right
A good night sleep is greatly impacted by the environment you are sleeping in. Keep your bedroom noise free or try to mask external disturbances with a fan or even earplugs. Keep the temperature just right and slightly towards the cooler side. Make sure the bed you sleep in has enough space for you to turn and stretch during sleep. The mattress you sleep in should also be comfortable and right for your body type.
When in bed ‘avoid bright screens’
When finally, it is time to settle for the night, avoid bright screens. The blue light produced by your phone, laptop, TV, or tablets is the most disruptive and may hinder the production of melatonin. Furthermore, most of the activities done through these mediums actually cause you to become more alert rather than relaxing you down to a sleepy mode.
If you must use these devices, try to adjust the brightness to an appropriate level or switch to a night vision mode. However, avoiding these forms of activities is the best approach to a better sleep.
Follow the above tips and have a good night of deep sleep. This will not only help you in staying healthy but will also make you more productive, sharper, energetic and emotionally balanced.