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These days, we are all aware of the benefits of eating a healthy diet and maintaining a consistent exercise regimen. Although good nutrition and regular exercise are certainly important for both physical and mental wellbeing, we tend to neglect another crucial factor – sleep.
A regular bed-time and solid, restful sleep are essential for proper functioning. Scientists and clinicians have dedicated decades of research into exploring how the act of sleep is not just one of the many primal human necessities but is also key to being a happy, focused and alert individual.
Sleeping helps restore our immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems, and also helps to maintain mood, memory, and cognitive function, and plays a huge role in keeping us physically and mentally sound.
It is recommended for adults to get about eight hours of sleep every night, but this seems to be an unattainable goal for most. We try to fit our insane schedules into the limited hours of the day and end up losing sleep over unresolved issues and incomplete work. Such stressful livelihoods are undoubtedly detrimental to health and as a result demand a greater need for sound sleep. This is easier said than done.
Without further ado, here are a handful of tips and tricks which you could incorporate into your daily life towards achieving that all-essential goal of sleeping.
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Control Your Exposure to Light Before Bed Every Night
This seemingly intuitive trick can make all the difference between managing to fall asleep and staying awake till the wee hours of the morning. Your body has an internal clock which is regulated by the light from your environment, which in turn is regulated by the hormone melatonin.
Melatonin is normally secreted at night, when your surroundings are dark, and it tells your body that it’s time to sleep. However, if you have a habit of working long hours or staying up late in the presence of light, melatonin production is suppressed. This results in your being alert at night and causes difficulty when falling asleep.
You should try to limit your exposure to artificial light (through lamps, cell phones and other electronic devices), eat the last meal of your day at least three hours before bedtime, and avoid strenuous activity at night. If you suffer from stress on a daily basis or have already developed an irregular sleeping pattern, consider melatonin supplements.
Keep in mind that you should attempt to sleep at the same time every night and similarly awaken at the same time every day. And yes, this rule applies to weekends, too!
Be Mindful of What You Eat
A proper diet, with sufficient macro and micronutrients, is extremely important for quality sleep. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that short sleepers have a higher energy intake, notably from fatty, rich food and snacks, when compared to normal sleepers.
Interestingly, alongside maintaining a high calorie diet, if you tend to consume a smaller variety of foods that are lacking in protein, carbohydrates and fiber, your body fails to provide you with sufficient hours of sleep. In contrast, consumption of milk products, fish, fruit, and vegetables have beneficial sleep-promoting effects.
It is also wise to abstain from stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, especially in the later hours. You should also note that contrary to popular belief, alcohol is detrimental to restful sleep. Though alcohol can initially make you drowsy and help induce slumber, long term consumption can disrupt the hormonal balance of your body’s internal clock.
In simpler words, eat well-balanced and timely meals, cut down on excessive intake of tea, coffee and/or cigarettes and avoid drinking on a regular basis. Not only will you sleep easier, your body will thank you for it.
No one can deny the benefits of regular physical exercise. It helps maintain good health and physique, improves posture, keeps your mind alert, and also brings restful sleep.
A daily routine of cardiovascular exercise, even as short as 20 minutes can help improve sleep. However, keep in mind that exercising immediately before bed can increase stress and hamper sleep. It is best to avoid exercise three hours prior to hitting the sack.
Maintain a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
A cozy bedroom with ambient settings and comfortable bedding are extremely helpful in inducing and maintaining sound sleep. Try not to bring your work to bed. The environment around your bed should be optimal for resting and sleeping.
Several variables in your bedroom contribute to good sleeping habits, such as temperature, light, noise, bedding and the furniture arrangement. Try to optimize your bedroom environment by tweaking it to suit your personal needs.
Minimize harsh, external noise as much as possible, ensure that the temperature of your room is comfortable and always maintain cleanliness, especially that of your bedding. Organize your furniture in a manner that makes the room relaxing for you and remove artificial light sources such as glow in the dark objects and your electronic devices from your bedside.
Invest in a Decent Mattress
There is no denying the effects of perfectly fluffy pillows, clean bed sheets, the right sized bed and a comfortable mattress when you want to rest and sleep like a baby. Finding a good quality mattress that caters to your needs can improve your quality of sleep.
Generally, medium to firm, custom-inflated mattresses are the optimal choice. However, every individual is different and the choice of optimal bedding differs from person to person. Even though the idea of a perfect mattress is extremely subjective, we know for a fact that ALL uncomfortable mattresses result in back pain and lack of proper sleep.
If you think that your bedding and mattress are preventing you from sleeping soundly, consider upgrading them. We suggest the memory foam mattress reviews for a comprehensive comparison between the various different mattresses available on the market.
Granted, mattresses are a relatively expensive fix but these days, there are a plethora of options for you to choose from.
Find out what is most helpful for you to induce and maintain deep sleep. What is effective for others might not be useful for you, so don’t lose hope if a tried and tested method hasn’t helped you sleep in the past. With time and by putting in a bit of conscientious effort, you will certainly figure it out. Sleep tight!
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