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Good sleep is the foundation for good health and a happier mindset. But when was the last time you regained consciousness feeling energised, alert, and ready to face the day? Or did you fall asleep easily and without effort?
If you nodded as you read those questions, you’re not alone. Many of us are affected by these issues.
According to research, nearly a third of us drag ourselves out of bed in the morning because we didn’t get enough good-quality sleep the night before, which means we don’t feel as good as we could during the day.
Do you need to sleep more soundly?
As you’re groggy and exhausted in the morning, it can be difficult to recall details like where you put your keys when you’re racing out the door. You might also find that you’re not as focused or effective as you could be at work.
A sleepy brain lacks executive function, making it more difficult to make good food decisions. Being tired also causes your hunger hormones to become out of balance. That implies that when you’re feeling down in the dumps in the middle of the afternoon, you’re more likely to reach for a candy bar, a bag of chips, or other salty or sugary snacks that a nutritionist wouldn’t recommend.
Unsurprisingly, by the time you arrive home, you could feel a little tense and unpleasant. Not the best attitude to go asleep quietly a few hours later.
You need to get enough sleep at night in order to feel your best during the day. Unfortunately, you can’t wave a magic wand to make that happen. However, there are several easy actions you may take to improve your sleep.
Here are 15 ideas to think about if you wish to sleep better:
Five suggestions for setting up a peaceful environment for sound sleep
Your bedroom should have the atmosphere of a stress-free, distraction-free sleep paradise. While setting up the ideal atmosphere is, in part, a matter of personal preference, sleep professionals provide these science-based sleep hygiene recommendations.
- A cold, dark area is best for sleeping. The majority of specialists concur that the ideal temperature range is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that 73% of Americans believe that the darker the room, the better. Shades, curtains, or blinds are used by 65% of people to filter off undesired light.
- A peaceful bedroom is a blissful one. The majority of Americans (74%) believe that peace and quiet are essential for restful sleep. However, a lot of individuals use ambient noise, such as “white noise,” to block out distracting sounds like horns or cars. You can also use a fan, which will serve a dual purpose by keeping your room cold, or one of the numerous relaxing sleepcasts or some of the sleep music from the Headspace app’s Sleep experience. Sleepcasts, which last around 45 minutes, can facilitate the development of a tranquil, soothing sleep environment. Sign up and use the Headspace app to contribute to the creation of a sleep environment that is favourable.
- Select the bedding and sleeping position that are most comfortable for you. Good sleep requires a comfy bed and pillows, but you can choose whether they should be soft or firm. Depending on how you prefer to sleep, you might choose a different pillow. Your pillow should support your head, neck, and ear comfortably if you sleep on your side (as most people do). To reduce strain on the neck, back sleepers may want to think about using a thinner pillow.
- Purge your room of junk. You may be more susceptible to sleep issues if your bed feels dreamy but your room is a mess. According to a study that was presented at the SLEEP conference in Seattle in June 2015, people who live in cluttered environments are more prone to suffer from sleep disorders. Whether or not you find it simple to fall asleep depends on what your eyes see when you enter a room. So, tidy up your room, as many of us parents used to suggest!
- Decide which pillow is best for you. If you have allergies, it’s crucial to think about the pillow fill. Fills can be made of synthetic materials like rayon, foam, or latex or of natural materials like feathers. To reduce the likelihood of nocturnal congestion and sniffles keeping you awake, look for hypoallergenic pillows.
5 techniques for unwinding for better sleep at night
It’s crucial to schedule time in the evening to decompress and unwind before going to bed, especially after a busy day. That doesn’t entail converting your house into a seclusion haven. The shift from day to night can be made easier with a few simple adjustments that will stimulate your senses and relax your busy mind.
- We can relax to music. When you reach home, turn on your favourite music rather than the news or the chatter in your head. While studies have shown that listening to classical music can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, listening to any music you enjoy will also help you unwind and improve your mood. Check out Headspace’s sleep music and sleepcasts if you’re seeking for some noises that are especially made to calm.
- When you are home at night, turn down the lights. To create a more tranquil environment, consider using lamps, a dimmer switch, or candles rather than turning on a harsh overhead light. In addition to being more subdued, indirect light doesn’t mess with your body’s circadian rhythms as much.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine in the afternoon. In reality, a portion of the nighttime winding down process starts throughout the day. Exercise first thing in the morning, restrict caffeine intake after lunch (coffee, tea, and soda), stay away from things that can make you queasy, and maybe skip happy hour because drinking alcohol too late in the day can affect how well you sleep.
- Get outside if you can in the morning or earlier in the day to be exposed to natural light. Receiving sufficient natural light during the day will also help to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle in your body.
- Reduce evening email traffic. After supper, try to avoid reading or sending work emails. Anxiety and tension can be brought on by the mere anticipation of viewing work email after hours, according to a 2018 Virginia Tech study. Every new message forces you to make a decision, keeping your mind engaged (and taking away from social time, family time or alone time). According to the study, mindfulness exercises can keep you relaxed and focused during group, family, or solitary activities.
5 ideas to reduce stress and improve sleep
What disturbs you at night? It’s usually an active mind preoccupied with worry and anxiety, agitation, or even grief. Here are a few techniques for relieving stress so you can go to sleep more quickly.
- Before going to bed, practise some easy yoga positions. In a study conducted by The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, more than 85% of yoga practitioners said their stress levels had decreased and 55% said they slept better. Before going to bed, try these seven restorative yoga positions to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
- Make a daily thankfulness list. Numerous research point to a link between sentiments of wellbeing and gratitude. According to Robert A. Emmons, a renowned expert on the science of gratitude and professor of psychology at UC Davis, cultivating gratitude can have a variety of positive effects on our lives, including lowering blood pressure, lowering risks of depression and anxiety, and creating the ideal environment for better sleep. Consider keeping a thankfulness journal and listing a few items each week for which you are grateful. Although there is no right or wrong way to do this, here are a few pointers to get you going.
- Shower before retiring. One study found that taking a warm bath or shower an hour or two before bed can help to relax the body and mind by reducing blood pressure and pulse rate. You can relax and reduce tension by allowing heat to penetrate your body.
- Read a bedtime story to yourself (in book form). A excellent way to unwind is to read. According to studies from the University of Sussex, spending even just six minutes immersed in a story can lower stress by 68%. You can escape from the concerns and stresses of ordinary life by becoming immersed in a good book, according to the cognitive neuropsychologist who conducted the test, Dr. David Lewis. In the best case scenario, it’s a book rather than a Kindle, iPad, or other backlit gadget—you know, those hardback or paperback volumes with the pages stitched together. If you don’t currently have a book to read, consider listening to one of Headspace’s sleepcasts. You can unwind and gradually wind down by selecting from a number of evocative narrations in which calming voices lead you through tranquil, dreamy settings.
- Find some quiet time. The fact that many Headspace users reported using meditation in the evening, particularly right before bed, to relieve tension and promote sleep was one of the ideas behind the creation of Sleep by Headspace. While clearing or halting thoughts is not the goal of meditation, learning to be more at ease with them and compassionate toward both yourself and others is. In this approach, practising mindful meditation can lower stress and facilitate restful sleep.