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Good sleep is absolutely vital for attaining overall physical and mental well being. However, falling asleep is an enormous challenge faced by millions across the globe. Though sleeplessness is commonly attributed to certain illness and stress, other overlooked factors like bad mattresses, surroundings, food and personal habits can also impact sleep patterns.
Here are 10 simple tricks to sleep better:
Fix your schedule:
Our daily schedule has a direct influence on our sleep patterns. When this daily schedule is interrupted, our bodies start reacting to the irregular routine and variations in sleep time. This disrupts our body clock or circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is responsible for triggering our brain to send signals of alertness and sleep to our body. When we follow a fixed routine, this signal works well. In case of disruption of our normal schedule, our body clock is thrown off balance and often fails to trigger the sleep signal. Sleep is a physical phenomenon and hence it is always beneficial to have a routine uninterrupted schedule to help our body mechanism do its magic.
Keep your body synced with daylight and darkness:
Another important factor that triggers circadian rhythm is exposure to light. Light naturally helps our body stay alert and awake while darkness is responsible for triggering sleep. Irregular exposure to light disrupts the circadian rhythm thereby affecting the sleep cycle. Staying in total darkness for most part of the day will disrupt the sleep cycle. Always remember to expose your body to sunlight during the day. In the absence of natural light, make sure you have sufficient artificial light. This will ensure your body’s natural circadian rhythm is in sync.
Plan activities spread through the day:
It is vital to include some amount of physical activity during the day. Most of us have jobs that push us into a sedentary routine for a larger part of the day. However, it is important to plan and include some physical activity into your routine. It maybe just a walk, a cardio gym session or simple yoga. You can choose your activity according to your preferences but ensure to stay physically active for at least one hour every day. Health experts recommend all types of exercises, especially in the morning.
Nod off in daytime naps:
A lazy afternoon nap is always enticing. A short power nap can make you feel brisk and refreshed. However, be aware of longer naps during the day as it can upset your natural sleep cycle. Sleep specialists advice against longer daytime naps as it can affect the quality of sleep at night. That being said, it is always better to avoid naps during the day. However, if you cannot do without it, limit it to a maximum duration of 30 minutes. A study by NASA reports that a couple of short 30-40 min naps spread out over the day even boosts performance of astronauts in space.
Beat the mercury:
In India, we often reel under warm weather for a larger part of the year. Falling asleep in a warm room can be quite a challenge. The age-old practice of lowering room temperature before sleeping is also recommended by sleep experts around the world. So, try reducing your room temperature by couple degrees to help induce sleep. You can do this by ventilating your room or by growing indoor plants. In addition to enriching the oxygen supply in your room, it also lowers the temperature. Also ensure that the mattress you sleep on, does not trap body heat. Use a mattress that is crafted with cool gel infused memory foam layer, that absorbs body heat and helps you cool off.
Say no to gadgets:
Most Indians have the habit of having their eyes glued to their mobile devices for a couple hours before hitting the sack. The blue light that is emitted from these gadgets suppresses the release of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone). In addition to delaying sleep, this light is also harmful to the eyes. Hence it is best to turn off all gadgets at least 30 minutes before sleeping. If you are left with no choice but to use your device, set it in night mode with lowered brightness level. You can also try reading a book, meditate, or take a relaxing bath to induce blissful sleep.
Think what you eat:
Having a heavy late dinner can spoil a good night’s sleep. Sleep experts recommend finishing dinner at least two hours prior to bedtime. In case you are eating late, always opt for a high fat and low carbohydrate diet. This has proven to help induce sleep faster.
Stay away from Caffeine:
Caffeinated drinks are also known to suppress the release of melatonin. Hence, having such drinks a few hours before bedtime can surely hinder your sleep cycle. It is always best to have such drinks 4-6 hours before bedtime. Opt for green tea or herbal tea instead as it can help trigger sleep. Try sipping on such soothing beverages to sleep better.
Surrender to music:
Music has the innate ability to relax the mind and soul. Listen to some relaxing music before your bedtime. There are many apps out there having exclusive playlists comprising special melodious music to help induce sleep. Research what type of music appeals to you and listen to it for a while before going to sleep.There are millions of people around the world who find the combination of music and books to be the perfect remedy to fall asleep faster.
Keep out light and sounds:
Having unwanted light and sound from external sources can hamper your sleep process. Try using noise cancelling apps or earmuffs to block out unwanted sounds. Remember to use curtains or blinds to block out excess light.
Getting a sound sleep of 7-8 hours every night is essential for all. But, if one has difficulty falling asleep it can be really frustrating and stressful in the long run.. These simple tips for better sleep can help you enjoy that perfect snooze. Give it a shot for some quality sleep each night. You will thank your stars for it!