A well-known fact is that an individual’s sleeping habits play a major role in his/her physical and mental health. However, most people struggle to get a good night’s sleep despite its many effects and consequences. A higher percentage of the population belongs to the sleep-deprived category. There are several reasons and types of sleep disorders, but there are a couple of steps and measures to ensure better sleep and rest habits. It can be hard to follow all these tips and tricks, but daily change can ease the process. Try starting with small steps and gradually add to the process. This way, it is far easier and less intimidating.
Bright Light Exposure
Our bodies have their way of keeping track of time, and this natural quality of timekeeping is also known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm has a direct impact on our brain, body, and hormones. It is how the body knows when to stay awake and when to sleep. Keeping our circadian rhythm healthy, getting daily, and sufficient exposure to natural sunlight or bright light is crucial. This improves our energy during the day and also helps us sleep better at night. Studies have shown that individuals with improved circadian rhythm have better sleep quality duration with an 83% reduction in the falling asleep time. Another study conducted on adults showed that daily exposure to natural light for 2 hours increased sleep duration by 2 hours and increased sleep efficiency by 81%.
All in all, exposure to bright light or natural sunlight helps treat insomnia and other sleep-related issues. Due to any reason, natural sunlight is not a viable option then try investing in bright light or bulb.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Exposure to light during the daytime is good, but blue light exposure has the opposite effect. Remember the circadian rhythm. Being exposed to bright light in the night tricks our body’s circadian rhythm to think it is still daytime. This alters the rhythm pattern and leads to a lack of melatonin, a hormone that helps us relax and achieve deep sleep. Because our body thinks it is still daytime, it produces energy to stay awake hence disrupting the cycle.
Blue light is commonly emitted from your cellular devices. Laptops, computers, cell phones, tablets, iPads, etc., all emit large amounts of blue light, which is very bad and harms an individual’s sleep quality and quantity.
Several ways to reduce nighttime blue light exposure
- Use glasses that block blue light.
- Download blue light blocking apps on your phones and computers.
- Avoid using any bright light devices 2 hours before bedtime.
- Reading a book for an hour before sleep can help you sleep better.
No Evening Caffeine Intake
One of the popular reasons for caffeine intake is the energy and the boost it provides. 90% of the American population consumes caffeine solely for its energy gain. Caffeine intake is not necessarily bad, but it interferes with the circadian rhythm when consumed during late evenings. Due to caffeine, you feel energized and are less likely to feel relaxed and sleepy. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime leads to significant damage in sleep quality.
So make sure you avoid any caffeine intake during evenings if you plan to correct your sleep pattern. Also, if you have a night coffee craving, you might want to switch to decaffeinated coffee.
No Long Naps
If you have an irregular nap pattern, it can ultimately affect your night sleep. Sleeping during the day or afternoon can confuse your body’s internal clock, and so long naps should be avoided. Anything beyond 30 minutes isn’t considered napping. In case you are feeling drowsy or stressed and want to rest your body and eyes consider power naps or cat naps. Power naps are the best way to feel energized and increase daytime brain function. However, some studies have shown that those individuals who take regular naps do not face any sleep issues during the night. So it entirely depends on the person; if you are regular, the chances are that naps may not affect your sleep quality.
Stick To A Pattern
Do not fluctuate your sleep timings. Wake up at a set time and go to bed at a set time. Be consistent with your timings; this way, your circadian rhythm works perfectly in a loop. Most individuals follow a pattern during the weekdays but do not adhere to it during the weekends. This is not a good practice. Rising late and sleeping late at weekends will affect your overall timings.
Going early to bed is also a wrong practice. For example, if your daily sleeping time is 9 pm and rising time is 7 am, do not go to bed earlier than 9 pm because it will change your rising time. Following a pattern may seem difficult at the very beginning but stick to it. After several weeks your body will adapt to the routine.
As mentioned above, melatonin is an essential hormone present in our body that provides a relaxing sensation to our body, informing us to head to bed. Irregular sleep patterns affect the melatonin present in our system. Melatonin supplements are an excellent sleeping aid to those suffering from sleep disorders. Melatonin is widely used to help those who have insomnia and has shown excellent results during various studies. Melatonin is easily available in many countries and does not require any prescription. In case you plan on administering this supplement to a child, do take an expert’s opinion. 1-5 mg of melatonin, 30-60 minutes before bedtime, works perfectly in inducing faster sleep and better sleep quality.
As mentioned above, melatonin supplements may require prescriptions in some countries and are only administered to severe cases of sleep disorders. All can use supplements, and so there are some natural alternatives one can try to achieve the same results as melatonin supplements.
- Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is a natural herb and has many benefits; it helps to relax, sleep, and reduce stress. However, it is important to note that the results regarding this herb are limited. 250 mg 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
Taking 3 grams of glycine has shown better sleep quality in many individuals.
- Valerian root
Some studies show that using valerian roots can help people sleep better and longer. Taking 500 mg before bedtime is sufficient.
Lavender plants and oil have many proven benefits, one of which is helping with anxiety and providing relaxation. The lavender scent is enough to induce a relaxing feeling. Using multiple supplements simultaneously is not good. So stick to one choice. Also, natural remedies take time to show change, so be patient.
Some other tips
- Do not drink alcohol before bedtime. It alters the production of melatonin it also increases symptoms such as snoring and apnea.
- Check your sleeping environments such as lighting, temperature, and noise.
- Avoid having a late dinner. Having a heavy meal before sleeping can lead to bad sleep quality and pattern.
- Relax and keep calm. You might notice that it is hard to fall asleep when you have a lot on your mind. So try and be calm and relax.
- A warm bath or shower can help sleep better and can result in better sleep quality.
- Your pillow and mattress quality plays a crucial role in your sleep quality and back or joint pain.
- Exercising regularly will help spend your body’s energy which will help you feel drowsy and sleepy at night time.
There you have it 8 tips and tricks to help you sleep better. Following these trips may take some time but keep at it, and the overall results will be satisfying.
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