Health Is Wealth: 5 Ways To Sleep Better
Lifestyle | 02 Sep 2019
If health is wealth, can you consider sleeping as your dream job?
Sleeping comes so naturally such that you can do it with your eyes closed. But from time to time, you still struggle to fall asleep, maintain deep slumber and get quality rest. Do you know that sleep loss directly contributes to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure and weakened immunity? Since you spend up to 33% of your life sleeping, it is useful to know how to have a night of better sleep and let the benefits carry over to when you are awake too.
1. Stick To A Sleep Schedule
At some point in your life, you have probably tried to sleep for over 8 hours. Somehow, it does not work, and you still wake up to the familiar feeling of exhaustion. The truth of the matter is the quality of your sleep matters more than the quantity. You have always been told to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends.
However, not many of us know why we should be doing this or how our bodies work. Commonly known as your body clock, the circadian rhythm runs in the background of your brains and cycles between phases of sleepiness and alertness. When you have irregular sleeping patterns, your body performs poorly in releasing the appropriate hormones at appropriate times. This is the reason why you nod off when you need to work and toss and turn when you need to sleep. When you stick to a sleep schedule, your brain and body will be more in tune with knowing when to sleep and wake up.
2. Use The Bedroom For Bedtime
Your brain is constantly looking for patterns. If your brain has a neural association as to “when I walk into my bedroom, I’m going to watch television” or “when I walk into my bedroom, I’m going to do some work”, these channels will fire up as you are conditioned to such behaviour. You may have the sole intention of going to bed, but if your television is right smack in your face or your laptop is just within reach from your bed, part of the brain is going to wake up and expect to do these activities.
So, one of the things that can aid you in having better sleep is to move these electronics to other rooms and set your bedroom as your sleep sanctuary. Your bedroom should be a worry-free zone that allows your mind and body to rest freely. When you use the bedroom only for bedtime, it allows for a smooth transition to sleep when it is time to do so.
3. Work Out Wisely
There are three perfect combinations in the world: toast with half-boiled eggs, pillow with bolster and exercise with sleep. Exercise is vital to a sound sleep. It strengthens the circadian rhythm by promoting daytime alertness and bringing about sleepiness at night. Furthermore, it also increases the time spent in deep sleep to restore and recover your body.
However, if you work out too late towards the night, this delays your transition to sleep. It is important to note that a post-workout burst of energy can keep you awake up to 2 hours after the exercise. Be it going for a jog or hitting the gym, you want to work out wisely by knowing when to work out without compromising on sleep.
4. Lower the Lights
Your natural body clock is influenced by the hormone called melatonin. Melatonin acts as a marker to cue the time for you to sleep. Unfortunately, most of us let the demands of everyday life dictate the times for sleeping and rising. Over the last few decades, the human race was able to manipulate the exposure of light and create a second daytime. This phenomenon confuses your body on the appropriate timings to wind down.
Lower light levels signal your brain to make more melatonin to ease yourself to sleep. As much as possible, you want to reduce your exposure to light before going to bed. One of the most effective ways is to avoid prolonged usage of light-emitted screens just before bedtime. You can make use of this opportunity to listen to soft music, read a book or pen down your thoughts. Furthermore, you can dim the lights with black-out curtains, room-darkening blinds or a sleep mask.
5. Have A Bedtime Routine
You cannot sleep well if your engine is constantly running. You need to gradually turn off the noise of the day and power it down too. By creating a relaxing bedtime routine, you can lull your body into a habit of regular sleep. Refrain from any strenuous physical activity right before bedtime that can produce stress or anxiety. Such a bedtime routine helps you from feeling awake to being asleep for the night. Doing the same things every night signals that sleep is incoming and guides your body to relax.
Sleep Protects Your Brain
It is hard to be happy when you’re not healthy, and sleep is considered one of the most fundamental aspects of your health. If you want to preserve and protect your health, sleep on it! There is nothing like a good night’s sleep to help you feel your best the next day. Your body is rested, and your mind is alert. Since you’re going to do this every single day of your life, let’s do it right. Let’s optimise sleep!
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