With the fast pace of everyday life, it can be hard to keep track of your sleep. Many of us neglect our sleep, and end up getting much less than we need to properly function. This can have many detrimental effects, including inflammation in the body and an inability to focus.
However, it’s not just the amount of hours that counts – it’s also the quality. If you’re someone who gets the recommended amount of sleep each night but still wakes up feeling tired, this is likely due to poor quality sleep. In this article, we explore some ways to increase your chances of getting some truly restful sleep.
Establish a routine
A routine can help train your body and mind to wind down and prepare for sleep at the same time each night, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. When we have a consistent routine of sleeping and waking up at the same time each day, we allow our body’s natural circadian rhythm to function optimally, allowing us to feel more energised and alert throughout the day. Creating and sticking to a sleep routine may seem like a small step, but it can have a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing.
Limit screen time before bed
In today’s digital age, screens are an integral part of our lives. We use them for work, entertainment, and even communication. However, spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on our health, particularly in terms of sleep.
Many studies have shown excessive screen time can lead to difficulty falling asleep, poor sleep quality and even insomnia. The blue light emitted by screens interferes with the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which disrupts our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, it’s paramount to limit screen time to ensure that we get enough good quality sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Avoid sugar and caffeine
Do you often lay in bed for hours trying to drift asleep, only to find yourself tossing and turning all night? Well, it’s time to put down that cup of coffee and step away from the candy jar.
Consuming sugary and caffeinated drinks and foods can seriously sabotage your sleep. Although these treats may give you a quick energy boost, they come with a price – ultimately interfering with the precious, deep sleep your body needs. Ensuring you eat whole, nutritious meals and hydrating with water throughout the day can have a drastic impact on the overall quality of sleep you receive (as well as other health benefits).
Generally people should stop drinking caffeine four to six hours before bed, but it can take a bit of trial and error to figure out what works for you.
Many of us may not realise the close connection between exercise and sleep. Engaging in physical activity is not just important for keeping us healthy and fit, it can also have a positive impact on our sleep quality. Exercise helps to release endorphins, the neurotransmitters in our brain that make us feel good and help alleviate stress. As a result, regular physical activity can help to reduce feelings of anxiety or depression that can interrupt our sleep.
Additionally, getting some exercise during the day can help to regulate our body’s circadian rhythm, which is our natural sleep-wake cycle. When our circadian rhythm is out of sync, it can be challenging to get quality sleep. So, if you’re struggling to sleep well at night, carving out some time for physical activity during the day could make all the difference.
Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. As humans, we require a certain amount of restorative rest each night to function at our best. Simply put, it sets us up for success both physically and mentally. So prioritising sleep is one small change we can make to lead a healthier, happier life.