Sleep plays an integral part in maintaining good health and well-being. Getting quality sleep can help protect your physical and psychological health. When you sleep, the brain forms new pathways and prepares you for the next day. Studies show that a night of good quality sleep improves learning and problem-solving skills.
Proper sleep also makes you more creative, improves attention, and helps you make better decisions. In a recent study, participants who had a deep phase sleep, also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, did 40 percent better in solving creative problems tests than those who did not have REM sleep. Relaxation can help to set the tone for sleep and wind the body and brain down for optimal rejuvenation during the night. There are simple changes one can make to improve sleep hygiene and relax for a good night’s sleep.
1. Watch What You Eat and Drink
Sleeping on an empty stomach can affect sleep quality, but overeating also has the same effect and will keep you awake at night. Refrain from eating a large amount of food two to three hours before bedtime. This will ensure your body is not overwhelmed with digestion and can focus on rest and sleeping. Have small portions of healthy snacks such as fruits or crackers when you feel hungry before sleeping but avoid spicy and acidic food.
A healthy diet and drinking enough water can help you get a good night’s sleep. Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine before sleeping because they can affect sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant and can disrupt sleep during the night. Experts warn against mixing alcohol and coffee because caffeine masks alcohol’s depressant effects, making people more alert and less sleepy.
2. Get Enough Physical Activity
Exercise during the day makes for a good night’s sleep. People who do aerobic exercises for at least 30 minutes a day will see a difference in sleep quality. A recent study of postmenopausal women showed that those who exercise three to four hours before sleeping had an easier time sleeping than those who did not exercise often. But, make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime because it can overstimulate you and make for poor sleep.
3. Create a Relaxing Environment
Your room’s environment plays an essential part in improving the quality of sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is relaxing, quiet, dark, and is a comfortable temperature. There are many ways to build a relaxing environment: diffuse some lavender oil, play soothing music, etc. Avoid using electronic devices before bedtime as their screens emit the blue light that can trick the body into thinking it’s daytime.
Make sure you’re comfortable and have the proper sleeping equipment, such as a good mattress and pillows. Try the Nolah mattress and pillow for a more comfortable and restful sleep. If you sleep on your side, use a soft mattress and if you sleep on your back, use a firm mattress that will help support your spine. Experts do not recommend sleeping on your stomach because it places strain on your back.
4. Relieve Stress
Sleep is so essential that even a few hours of sleep deprivation can affect your mood, memory, and judgment. According to studies, stress gets in the way of quality sleep. When they do not get enough sleep, 21 percent of adults feel more stressed. Around 37 percent of adults report feeling tired and exhausted due to stress.
If your mind keeps wandering, read a book, meditate, or do some light yoga or stretching. Exercise has been shown to relieve stress. Aerobic exercises release endorphins that make you feel better and less stressed. Take a brief break, relax and do breathing or mindfulness meditation.
Set realistic goals and expectations so that you do not overwhelm yourself too much. Drink some lavender tea or take a warm bath. Avoid the things that are causing you stress.
5. Stick to a Schedule
Be in control of your schedule and make sure you stick to it. People need at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night. It is essential to go to sleep at the same time to regulate the body’s internal clock for optimal rest. Do the same rituals every night to signal the mind and body that sleep is near.
Practice self-care because you deserve it and should never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Research shows that Americans would be happier and healthier if only they had an extra 60 to 90 minutes of sleep per night added to their usual sleeping routine.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Sleep is vital because it helps your body rest and your brain recharge. Sleep helps consolidate memory and aid in muscle repair. Having a relaxing night routine is essential to have a good night’s sleep and waking up ready to take on the day.