No doubt about it, sleep is extremely important for mental and physical health. It helps the human body recover, ensures the healthy functioning of the brain, reduces the risks of heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure while protecting the overall emotional well-being. By being well rested, you are capable of handling everyday tasks, your cognitive performance is optimal, and your hormones stay in balance.
Being sleep deprived can be extremely damaging to your health, no matter if it’s due to the bad quality of sleep or the complete lack of it. While curing insomnia may require expert’s opinion, there are simple hacks that can help you sleep better every night.
Establish a Sleeping Routine
According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, adults should sleep a minimum of 7 hours for healthy functioning. But more often than not, sleeping this much seems like mission impossible. One of the most effective techniques for better sleep at night is syncing with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, i.e. its circadian rhythm. If you’ve gotten used to staying up late and you’re still forcing your body to get up early so you can get to work – no wonder you constantly feel tired. You need to “reprogram” your body and establish a healthy sleeping routine.
Commit to going to bed at the same time every night to build an internal clock for your body. You should wake up naturally, without an alarm clock, but be patient as forming this habit can take some time. In addition, try to avoid sleeping in on weekends. It might feel great to sleep longer, but you’re actually not doing yourself a favor. Big differences in the amounts of sleep you get on working days and on weekends can only disrupt your routine.
Mind Your Sleeping Position
If you can’t seem to get enough shut-eye, your sleeping position might be the one to blame. Even if you feel comfortable, the position of your body might be causing you health problems – from innocent ones such as temporary back sores to more serious conditions like insomnia or even sleep apnea. For example, lying on your stomach might feel comfy, but it can leave you with lower back and neck pain. If you sleep in the “soldier position”, i.e. flat on your back with your arms on the side – you might begin to snore or experience issues with the carotid artery.
Fetal and log positions are advisable. They both imply lying on the side, with spine resting in its natural alignment. Want an effective recipe for good night’s sleep? Choose the best mattress for side sleepers: according to a study conducted by the Duke University and the Research Triangle International from 2011, the choice of your mattress can have a huge impact on the quality of sleep.
Treat Your Body Right
Be mindful about the amount of caffeine you consume. This also includes limiting the cups of green tea you take, as this beverage contains L-theanine with similar weakening effects on the body. Smoking is another stimulant you should avoid before going to bed, as well as alcohol and heavy metals, specifically spicy or acidic types of food, refined carbs, and sugars.
An exercising regime can help you get great shut-eye, studies have shown. It is a great stress reliever, it tires you out, and puts your mind and body in balance, giving you a feeling of inner peace. With a busy schedule typical for the fast-paced 21st century, a daily minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity is mandatory for your well-being. Other popular methods of destressing include meditation and breathing exercises, as well as disconnecting for a while and finding time to be alone. We are all used to endlessly scrolling through our phones before sleep, but scientists of the Harvard Medical School warn that screen light suppresses the hormone called melatonin, which is responsible for inducing sleep.
Not all of these tips will work for the first time. But be consistent and learn to prioritize sleep: everything else depends on it.