Getting a good night's sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. But for many of us, it can be difficult to get the rest we need. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your sleep quality and duration. First, don't set aside more than eight hours for sleep.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink, and don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. Including physical activity in your daily routine is also important. Exercise affects the brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake during the day and telling your body when it's time to go to sleep.
Taking a warm bath, shower, or foot bath before bedtime can also help you relax and improve your sleep quality. The best mattress and bedding are highly subjective, so if you're looking to change yours, base your choice on your personal preferences. Regular exercise can help you sleep better, as long as you don't do it too close to bedtime. A post-workout burst of energy can keep you awake, so try to finish any strenuous exercise three to four hours before going to sleep. To reduce the chances of needing to go to the bathroom during the night, don't drink anything in the last two hours before bed.
If you do have to get up at night, it can be difficult to get back to sleep quickly. Lowering the lights in your home two to three hours before bedtime is also important. Dim light tells the brain to produce melatonin, the hormone that causes sleep. Additionally, set aside any work, delicate discussions, or complicated decisions two to three hours before bedtime. It takes time for the noise of the day to turn off. If you still have a lot of things on your mind at night, write them down and let yourself go at bedtime.
About an hour before going to bed, read something relaxing, meditate, listen to quiet music, or take a warm bath. This will help you relax and prepare for sleep. We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but when insomnia persists day after day it can become a real problem. Beyond making us feel tired and moody, lack of sleep can have serious effects on our health, increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Taking a daily brisk walk will not only trim you but will also keep you awake less often at night. Exercise increases the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin.
A study published in the journal Sleep found that postmenopausal women who exercised for about three and a half hours a week had an easier time falling asleep than women who exercised less frequently. Just watch the time of your workouts - exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating. Morning workouts that expose you to daylight will help you with the natural circadian rhythm. Bills add up and your to-do list is a mile long - daytime worries can surface at night and activate fight or flight hormones that work against sleep. Give yourself time to relax before going to sleep - learning some form of relaxation response can promote good sleep and reduce anxiety during the day. To relax try deep breathing exercises - inhale slowly and deeply then exhale. Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss; from exercises to strengthen your abdomen to advice on treating cataracts; plus the latest news on medical breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. While they are not a magic formula for sleep problems they can be useful when combined with other natural sleep strategies - try this simple visualization technique to calm your mind and relax your body creating ideal sleeping conditions. Alternatively if you don't want to take a full bath at night simply bathing your feet in warm water can help you relax and improve your sleep. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy behavior patterns that can worsen your sleep especially at times like these - remember that your sleep routine starts before bedtime so take time every night to relax and try disconnecting from technology. Daily sunlight or bright artificial light can improve the quality and duration of sleep especially if you have severe sleep problems or insomnia. The tips here are a good way to make you think about your sleep and what may be preventing you from sleeping well - many of us have had additional worries or anxiety due to COVID-19 which can affect how easily we fall asleep and how well we sleep. If you're looking for some sounds that are specially designed to soothe check out Headspace's sleep music and sleepcasts.
If you've had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep you may have turned to sleep medications for a more restful sleep. Most importantly you'll learn what you can do to sleep, what you need to achieve optimal health safety and well-being. While most research involves people with serious sleep problems daily exposure to light will most likely help even if you are sleepy...