A good night’s sleep has a direct effect on your physical and mental health not to mention your waking life’s quality. According to Age UK, 31% of the UK population between 13 and 64 years struggle or never get quality sleep on weeknights.
Why is quality sleep important?
When we sleep, our bodies work the hardest to restore our bodies after the previous day’s exertion and strengthen our minds. Insufficient sleep has been linked to lack of productivity, car crashes, moodiness, and irritability.
Thanks to the abundance of information regarding the importance of quality sleep, more people are realising the importance of embracing quality rather than quantity sleep. Researchers have found out that quality sleep results in improved attention, weight control, enhanced cognitive performance, improved creativity and memory, and reduced inflammation.
Lack of sufficient quality sleep could put your health at risk. Some of the problems associated with lack of sleep include; diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic sleep deprivation, and heart attacks. People who have quality sleep are also less susceptible to anxiety and depression.
How to maximise your chances of quality night’s sleep
There are behavioural and physical changes that could significantly increase your chances of enjoying a good night’s sleep. These include:-
- Making your bed comfortable
If you tend to wake up feeling numb, stiff, and tired, it could be time to replace your mattress and pillows. Ideally, a mattress should last up to around 10 years, but if it has holes, it sags, or it is ripped, you should think about replacing it as soon as possible. You need a mattress that moulds with your body and treats your hips and shoulders differently, thus providing you with the required body alignment.
Casper, one of the most popular bed-in-a-box companies, is one of the most marketable mattress brands. The brand is backed by notable investors who include Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. The Casper mattress has four layers of premium foam thus ensuring a perfect balance between comfort and support. Upon placing an order, the bed is delivered to your residence within four days, and you can return it within 100 days should it not fit your requirements. Casper uses the latest technologies to improve their brands constantly.
- Engage in physical exercise in the course of the day
Regular exercise is said to improve the symptoms of sleep apnea and insomnia and also increases the time you spend in deep restorative sleep. Exercising elevates your body’s temperature, boosts your metabolism rate, and stimulates the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Therefore, try working out at least three hours before going to bed.
While more vigorous exercises will result in more benefits when it comes to sleep quality, even light exercises such as walking for about 10 minutes a day will improve your sleep quality. It can take a few months to realise the effects of these exercises. Hence, be patient and come up with an exercise regimen which you can stick.
3.Keep your room dark and quiet
Just like natural light, artificial light could be what is keeping you from sleeping. Turn off any light before you sleep. If possible, get some heavy curtains and blinds that block out any light from the outside. If you carry your cellphone to your bedroom, flip it over so that you do not get distracted when it lights up due to incoming notifications.
Keeping your room quiet also helps you sleep better. While the noise itself could be preventing you from sleeping, the inconsistency of the silence or the sound could be extremely disruptive. If the noises are beyond control, a sound machine or earplugs could help you drown it out.
4.Clean your room by getting rid of all the clutter
You should associate your bedroom exclusively with sleep. Avoid making it your office, playroom, gym, or a place to watch television. Using it for other purposes only causes your brain to associate it with what you do therein. For instance, if you use it as an office, you are bound to be anxious about work when you should be sleeping. Try to make your bedroom as restful as possible. Get rid of anything that makes your bedroom feel cramped and congested.
- Nap earlier in the day or do not nap at all
Napping improves your mood and reduces your fatigue, however, it could interfere with the quality of your sleep at night particularly if you already have insomnia. Excessive daytime sleepiness could be as a result of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or depression.
If you must nap, make it brief. Limit it to about 30 minutes at most. As you do not have a lot of time allotted for the nap, set the scene by making the room dark and quiet. This will enable you to fall asleep as fast as possible. Make sure you nap not later than 5:00 pm.
If you have trouble sleeping during the night, consider taking a walk instead of napping.
- Be smart about your evening meals
Your daytime meals have a profound effect on how well you sleep. Try taking your dinner earlier in the evening. Avoid rich, sugary, heavy, spiced or acidic foods as they could cause stomach issues and heartburns. Avoid taking alcoholic drinks right before you go to bed. Although such could help you relax, they will interfere with your sleeping pattern once their effects wear off.
Taking caffeine also increases your chances of disrupted sleep. Experts recommend a daily intake of about 200 mg. Stick decaffeinated drinks or water later in the day. While you should take enough water to keep you hydrated throughout the night, avoid taking too much that you will need to wake up to go to the bathroom.
- Get rid of all the electronics in your bedroom
Avoid using your phone in the bedroom, playing video games, or watching the television. Electronics only entice you to stay up later than you intend to. Engaging in interactive activities also keeps your brain alert, thus minimizing your chances of falling asleep faster.
8.Engage in relaxation techniques
Worry, stress, and anger from the day could make it difficult to get sleep. Create an easy transition before falling asleep by engaging in relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation an hour or 30 minutes before sleep time. Other activities could include taking a bath or reading a book. Avoid activities that could stimulate the brain such as working or engaging in emotional discussions.
Aromatherapy also relaxes your brain and induces sleep. Through continued use, your brain could pick this as a cue that it’s time to sleep. Vanilla and lavender are great relaxation scents.
- Create a sleep pattern and stick to it
Sleep restriction is one of the most effective behavioural approaches used in treating sleep problems. Try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day. This is not only necessary during the weekdays, but is also critical during the weekends. This does not imply that you should wake up at the same time on Saturday as you do during the week, but desist from extending your sleeping time by an hour or two. Avoid late-night partying as well. Observing a constant sleep schedule will help regulate your ‘internal clock’ or the circadian rhythm.
10.Follow through on the above tips
While some of the above tips are easy to implement, others are hard to include in your daily routine. Sticking to most if not all of them will increase your chances of getting quality sleep. However, not all sleeping issues are easily treatable. Some could signify serious sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome. Should you still experience sleeping difficulties in spite of a healthy sleep regimen, consult a sleep specialist or your physician.