In today’s day and age staying up late, getting up early and irregular sleep cycles seem to have become the new normal, however, in the long run, it can be quite harmful. Having trouble sleeping once in a while is quite normal, but when that turns into prolonged insomnia, it can become troublesome. Aside from its obvious impacts on your health and energy, it also has a severe impact on health as it makes you vulnerable to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Here are five tips to ensure you get quality sleep:
1. Keep Track of Your Food and Drink Intake Throughout the Day
It might not always be clear, but the food and drinks we consume throughout the day can have a big impact on our sleep cycle. It is most essential that we monitor and limit our caffeine intake throughout the day, especially from the evening as it blocks melatonin receptors, giving the illusion of alertness and contributes to poor sleep quality. Another substance to avoid is alcohol as it along with caffeine and nicotine lead to poorer sleep quality. Sleep Hygiene Tips: Habits You MUST Follow More Restful Nights and Happier Mornings!
2. Make Sure to Add Physical Exercise to Your Daily Routine
The addition of physical exercise into your daily routine can do wonders for the body, including your sleep cycle. Exercising during the day will lead to some physical exertion and regularise the production of hormones; this will help you fall asleep more easily.
3. Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule
Creating a regular routine by sleeping and waking up at the same time on all days, including the weekend is important so that the body is accustomed to a regular and healthy sleep routine. Consistency is key as irregular sleep patterns disturb the circadian rhythm and result in poor sleep.
4. Create a Night-Time Routine
Having pre-bed routine much like small children can be a very effective way to help the body relax and lower your blood pressure. Therefore, activities like taking a warm bath, having a warm glass of milk or reading a book before bed can calm you down. This also distracts you from stressful thoughts at night which would activate a fight or flight response making you alert and leading to poorer sleep.
5. Make the Bedroom a Sleep-Inducing Environment
The environment of the bedroom also plays a vital role in the sleep schedule. Making a comfortable and relaxing environment is important to induce a sleepy effect, therefore make sure to use it only for sleep and not any kind of work. Aside from this, a dim room is ideal before bedtime as our body is programmed to more melatonin at lower levels of light, making you sleepy. Lastly, make sure that the room is quiet, and the temperature is comfortable so that there are no external factors that can disturb your sleep.
(Contributed By: Aviva Damania, Psychologist and Mental Health Specialist from City, University of London. She can be reached out at The Mind Essentials.)