Many people struggle with getting a full night’s rest, which is a real shame. A proper session of full, fitful rest can do wonders for your body and your mind. To that end, we present several tips and tricks to helping you get a full rest, followed by an explanation about those wonders.
Bedtimes exist for a reason
Figure out a point in your day when you are feeling worn down and lock that time in as your bedtime, regardless of what day it may be. Keeping your sleep regular will keep your circadian rhythm in proper condition; circadian rhythm is the fancy name for the body’s awareness of when it should be awake or asleep. If you must change up your sleep routine, ease into it in increments of 15 minutes a day.
Exercise is a way of treating insomnia, the inability to sleep. People who get in at least four sessions of aerobics a week have an easier time falling asleep. That being said, keep strenuous activity like exercise at least 2-3 hours away from your bedtime; the raised body temperature of exercise makes it harder for the body to fall asleep.
Give yourself a “cooldown” time
While having a scheduled time to his the sack can help, you can bolster the effectiveness by prefacing bedtime with a low energy activity like taking a hot bath, getting things ready for the following day or just playing some calming music tracks. Just be careful with electronic relaxation as the lights from such devices can cause sleep-diminishing mental stimulation.
Abandon smoking and drinking
Between the nicotine in the bodies and the haranguing sensations of withdrawal, smokers far less likely to feel well rested after sleeping. Smoking can also lead to asthma and sleep apnea.
As for alcohol, it may help you sleep sooner but this sleep will be less of the restorative REM type-the good stuff. It can also lead to reduced breathing.
Set the atmosphere
An ideal bedroom is cool (around 65°F), calm and low-lit. Warm rooms can screw with your body’s internal temperature just like exercise, making it harder to fall or remain asleep. Bedtime means that all the little noises like the TV, dripping water pipes and so on, should be mitigated or stopped. If lighting proves difficult to manage, consider blackout curtains or a sleep mask.
Naps have their place
There is a reason why major companies allow their employees to nap on the job. While a nap can boost awareness and productivity, it should be limited to between 10 and 30 minutes once a day, ideally around the mid-afternoon, just far enough remove from bedtime to keep your circadian rhythm in check.
Eat in moderation
While large meals may satisfy your stomach, especially ones with spicy foods, they are a horrible idea to enjoy before bed. The two most basic drawbacks to eating a large meal right before bed are a lengthy digestion period and the potential for heartburn. If your stomach insists on being treated before bed, pick something that mixed carbs with calcium, protein and some serotonin-boosting tryptophan. Your options include a banana with a tsp of peanut butter, low-fat fruity yogurt or a slice of toasted wholegrain bread with either a slice of turkey or some low-fat cheese.
Bedrooms exist for sleep and sleep alone
Only use your bed for sleeping and keep things like TV, food and work outside of your bedroom whenever you can. Keeping a sharp mental division between daytime activity and sleep will do wonders.
A 2001 study involving sleeping pet owners revealed that just over half experienced nightly disruptions to their sleep. Pets and kids are light sleepers, meaning their bursts of energy with take their toll on your attempts to recharge energy.
De-stress whenever you can
Stress has an inverse relationship with rest. Meditation, writing out your worries on paper, delegating tasks and penning to-do lists are all great de-stressing exercises.
Sleeping on your back is best because it mitigates pain around the back and neck while also diminishing acid reflux. Just remember to use a proper pillow to support your head and neck. While side-sleeping is fine, it also calls for a thick pillow to cover the area above the shoulders. Sleeping on your belly messes with your spine and stresses the surrounding joints and muscles. In the video below, you will find an overview of health sleeping positions:
Why all this matters
All of these steps are intended to help you gain a full night’s sleep. “What are these benefits?” you may ask.
- More energy
- A more stable mood
- Better healing and immunity
- Better alertness and awareness
- Better memory
- Better cognition
- Better heart health. Staying awake for prolonged periods of time causes the body to release heart-taxing cortisol hormones