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There's nothing better than getting into bed at the end of a long day. But what happens when you wake up and feel even more exhausted than you did when going to sleep? If that's the case, you may need to reassess your bedtime routine to help lull your body into a more restful slumber.
In this article, we'll explore our top tips for getting the best night's sleep, as well as why it's important. So go ahead and get cosy, because you're in for a fantastic night of rest and relaxation.
1. Set a sleep schedule
If you want a good night's rest, you'll want to try and be consistent with your sleep schedule. By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, you can regulate your body clock and fall asleep faster at night.
Remember, good sleep patterns don't mean you should force yourself to sleep. Instead, if you haven't fallen asleep within twenty minutes of getting into bed, then you should leave the room and do something relaxing instead.
2. Avoid coffee
Coffee is a stimulant that can help keep you going when you feel like you have no more energy. And while a warm cup of coffee may seem tempting before bed, any caffeine intake before sleep can interfere with your sleep.
When you have too much coffee, your nervous system is firing on all cylinders, which means you're going to have a hard time falling asleep. If you want better sleep, you'll want to leave coffee alone for at least six hours before bed.
3. Adopt healthy eating habits
Have you ever been tossing and turning because your stomach is growling? There's nothing worse than going to bed on an empty stomach - except maybe going to sleep when you've overeaten!
Having a good meal a few hours before bed can keep you satiated through the night. And when your stomach is adequately full, you're going to have more restful sleep. Ideally, you'll want to eat around three hours before you go to bed.
4. Avoid alcohol
You've probably heard the old wives' tale that a strong drink is a fantastic remedy if you're having trouble sleeping. Although this natural 'sleep medicine' may seem appealing, it can have a negative effect on your circadian rhythm and your body's natural release of melatonin.
While alcohol may initially make you feel slightly sleepier (or even cause you to fall asleep), having too much before bed can disrupt sleep throughout the night.
5. Put your devices down
Did you know that your phone and other devices emit something called blue light? While the small amount of light that comes from your phone may seem harmless, it can actually suppress melatonin production and interfere with your sleep.
This goes for other devices like TVs, too! Yup, that means no more falling asleep to your favourite sitcom reruns. Instead, you should try to 'unplug' and destress for around an hour before you go to sleep.
6. Create a relaxing sleeping environment
Your sleep environment is probably the most important factor in helping you to fall asleep. After all, you probably won't get to sleep if you're too hot, too cold, or there's too much noise.
Before you go to bed, you'll want to ensure that your room's temperature is right. In summer, a fan can help to cool the room down, while a radiator or indoor heater can make all the difference in winter.
You'll also want to keep the noise to a minimum to avoid distractions when you're trying to sleep.
7. Avoid bright light
Light is important for your body's sleep-wake cycle. When there's plenty of natural light, your body understands that it should be alert and awake. Similarly, darker environments tend to make you feel tired.
To get the best sleep of your life, you'll want to consider investing in block-out curtains or a high-quality sleep mask. These handy little tools can help you to stay asleep - even when there's an unexpected shift in light.
8. Invest in high-quality bedding
If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, you may want to consider investing in a new mattress and soft, comfortable bedding. Of course, you should also ensure that your bedding is made for heat regulation to keep you cool or warm all night long.
9. Avoid exercise before bed
Exercise is a great way to tucker yourself out before you go to sleep, right? Wrong! While regular exercise can help to regulate your sleep more efficiently, you don't want to practice your exercise routine before climbing into bed.
Exercising later in the day can make you feel more alert and affect your body temperature, which may make it harder to fall asleep. Too much exercise at night can lead to sleep deprivation and other problems, so it may be best to do it in the morning or afternoon.
10. Take melatonin supplements
Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces to help you get to sleep. You can think of this as your body's natural 'sleep medicine' that induces restful, deeper sleep. Usually, your body begins producing melatonin in response to being in the dark. In some cases, however, your body may not be producing enough.
If you struggle to get to sleep, you may want to consult your doctor and ask about natural melatonin supplements. These can help your body to produce the hormones it needs for better sleep.
Quality sleep is important for several reasons. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, then you may need to reassess your sleep routine and environment. Getting good sleep is essential for several bodily functions and your overall well-being.
Here are just some of the reasons why you should be getting good-quality sleep:
Restoration: During sleep, your body undergoes several processes for physical and mental restoration. Sleep helps to repair tissues, promotes muscle growth, and supports a healthy immune system.
Cognitive function: Sleep is closely linked to cognitive or mental functioning. In fact, it can have a profound effect on attention, concentration, problem-solving, and memory.
Emotional well-being: Sufficient and high-quality sleep plays a role in emotional regulation. A lack of sleep can lead to mood swings, irritability, and a higher risk of developing health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Physical health: Quality sleep is associated with a lower risk of certain health conditions. For example, it can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. It also contributes to better hormone regulation and weight management.
Quality of life: When you consistently get good sleep, you're more likely to have more energy and experience better moods. Of course, this boost in your physical and mental health enhances your overall quality of life.
What should I do if I suffer from sleep disorders?
Sometimes poor sleep quality is a direct result of a sleep disorder. The most common sleep problems include insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.
If you suspect that you have a disorder, it's best to consult a healthcare professional to address your concerns. These professionals can provide an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatments like medication, therapy, or lifestyle changes.
Is napping during the day beneficial for sleep?
Napping during the day can be beneficial for better sleep at night, but it depends on the circumstances. While a 20-minute nap can boost your productivity, alertness, and overall well-being, napping for any longer may be detrimental to your usual sleep.
If you need extra rest to get through the day, napping is a fantastic way of listening to your body. Just be sure to limit your nap time to an appropriate period of time.
How many hours of sleep do I need?
The amount of time you need to sleep at night depends on your age. For example, teenagers need around eight to ten hours of sleep a night, while adults only need around seven.
The amount of sleep you need may also be influenced by factors such as your health or lifestyle. To ensure you're getting enough sleep, it's important to listen to your body. If you are lethargic and exhausted during the day, you probably need a few extra hours of sleep at night!
Now that you're equipped with the tools to get a good night of healthy sleep, you'll want to start putting them into action right away. And with our top tips, you'll be off to dreamland in no time!
Still, if you find that you aren't getting enough quality sleep, you may want to consult with your local healthcare professional to eliminate the possibility of any sleep disorders.