10 tips for better sleep quality.
Sleep helps repair your body by producing proteins that help to fight infections and stay healthy.
Sleep keeps your heart healthy by helping to reduce stress levels and inflammation. Sleep can also help to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.
Quality sleep can also improve your memory by making it easier to concentrate. This helps retain facts, faces, lessons and even conversations.
As you sleep your brain is busy organising and correlating memories. Sleep also helps with weight control and body issues. When the body is deprived of sleep your appetite increases, craving high calorie foods, fats and carbohydrates rather than balance.
Sleep also helps to reduce the chances of mood disorders. Long term studies show lack of sleep promotes agitated moods during the day which can lead to depression or anxiety in the long term.
1. Sleep when sleepy.
Only go to bed when you feel tired to avoid time awake in bed.
2. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
Avoid any stimulants 6hrs before going to sleep.
3. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol disrupts sleep quality. It's best to avoid or limit alcohol if you have sleep difficulties.
4. No clock watching.
Many people with sleep problems tend to watch the clock or lay awake concentrating on the tick. This can disrupt sleep patterns and reinforce negative thoughts.
5. Bed is for sleeping.
Try not to use your bed for anything besides sleeping and sex so your body associates bed with sleeping. Your body will not learn this connection if you use your bed to eat, watch TV, work on your laptop et.
6. Sleep rituals.
You can develop your own rituals to remind your body that it's time to sleep. Meditation, breathing exercises, caffeine free herbal teas are all effective.
7. Shower time.
Having a hot shower 1-hr before bed helps to raise your body temperature, causing drowsiness as your body temperature drops again.
Regular exercise is ideal to help form good sleep patterns but try not to do any strenuous exercise 3-4hrs before bed time. Morning walks are great for multiple health benefits.
9. Eat right.
A healthy diet will help you sleep well but timing is important. Some people find an empty stomach at bed time distracting, yet a heavy meal can also disrupt sleep. Having a light snack 1-hr before bed can be helpful for a good nights sleep.
10. Avoid blue lights.
Blue lighting from electronic devices restrains melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep wake cycles. You can adjust the screen to 'night mode' on most devices to correlate with the sun setting.