This is how you improve your sleep hygiene
One of the things that can affect our mood to a very high degree is our sleep. We can actually be negatively affected both if we sleep too much or too little. The quality of our sleep also matters a lot for whether we actually feel rested when we wake up. Research shows that sleep can improve mood more than most people expect. There can be many reasons why one has trouble sleeping well. But there are some basic things you can do to improve your chances of good sleep.
Have a good routine
The body has an internal clock and follows a certain sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. Going to bed late one night and early the next puts the circadian rhythm out of balance, and we should therefore aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. When the circadian rhythm gets out of balance, it often leads to lost sleep (sleep deficit), which in turn leads to physical and mental fatigue, and attempts to regain sleep are not always effective. Therefore, following a daily sleep plan is one of the most important pieces of advice to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Drop late night workouts
Strength training or intensive yoga sessions too close to bedtime can make it harder for the brain to relax. Therefore it is best to try and complete workouts two to three hours before going to bed.
Take time to relax
Make a relaxing routine before going to bed – such as reading, drinking a cup of tea (without caffeine) or hot milk, listening to music or stretching out. It can also be a good idea to keep a worry diary, which can help you process difficult emotions before going to bed, so you reduce the risk of being awake with thoughts
Avoid powernaps after 15PM
A small powernap may be a good idea to restart the brain, but taking them late in the day can make it difficult to fall asleep later when you go to bed.
Avoid lying in bed for too long.
If you have been lying in bed for more than 30 minutes without getting tired, it is better to get up and do something else until you feel tired again. Lying in bed for long periods without being able to sleep often causes you to become anxious and frustrated, and your brain will eventually associate the bed with being awake.
Keep a cool bedroom
We sleep better at night if the temperature in the room is kept on the cooler side. This is because the temperature naturally drops at night. On the other hand, one tends to wake up when the temperature rises, as it naturally gets warmer when the sun rises.
Take a warm bath before bedtime
The drop in body temperature you experience after the bath can help you feel tired. In addition, a bath can help you slow down and relax before going to bed.
The importance of light
Keep a dark bedroom
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm, and it increases in the evening when it gets darker. It is the daylight that suppresses the secretion of melatonin, and devices such as mobile phones and computers emit a similar blue light. Therefore, it may also help to reduce the use of technology with blue light in the evening, to reduce the amount of blue light you are exposed to close to bedtime.
Get some daylight
Exposing yourself to natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day can help regulate your sleep pattern. Aim to catch these rays in the morning, which can help you be more alert and energetic as you start the day.
Reduce caffeine and nicotine consumption.
Cola, coffee and tea (that are not herbal teas) contain caffeine, which is a stimulant. Caffeine temporarily blocks the signal from adenosine, which is an important sleep chemical in your brain. Nicotine is also a mild stimulant, which can make it harder for you to get a deep sleep.
Avoid alcohol before bedtime
The presence of alcohol in the body can reduce your REM sleep, which is the deep sleep your brain needs for optimal recovery. You will therefore only get the lighter sleep stages, and thus not be completely rested after a night’s sleep, where you have consumed alcohol the day before.
Avoid large meals before bedtime
When it comes to eating late at night, small meals are preferable to heavy meals, which can cause indigestion that disrupts your sleep. It may also be a good idea to avoid drinking plenty of fluids before bedtime, to prevent frequent toilet visits in the middle of the night, which can lead to fragmented sleep.