A good night’s sleep is something we all crave especially after a long stressful day.
Sleep is essential to our lives,
– It helps to improve productivity and concentration,
– It improves the brain function,
– It improves physical health,
– It improves the immune system and it helps with emotional and social well-being.
To fully enjoy the benefits of a good night’s rest you need to sleep for at least 7 hours.
Some people have trouble sleeping from time to time and this could reduce performance at work, lead to moodiness, and tiredness, it can also lead to weight gain and heart diseases.
Many people use sleep medications for a good night’s sleep. However, most of these drugs have side effects such as a change in appetite, strange dreams, dry mouth, daytime tiredness and headaches.
To avoid the side effects sleeping pills have, try these methods
1. Have a consistent sleep time and pattern on weekdays and weekends
Consistent sleep time and sleep patterns help you have a good night rest, it also improves the circadian rhythm and melatonin levels which signals the brain to sleep.
Research has shown that people who have irregular sleeping patterns and slept at late hours often have poor sleep.
It is best your weekdays’ sleep pattern is consistent with your weekend sleep pattern and that you do not disrupt your sleep pattern
Exercise has been known to have a lot of benefits and one of the favorable benefits of exercise is – it helps to have a good night sleep.
You don’t have to do a rigorous exercise to have a proper sleep, a 20 minutes exercise 5 to 6 hours before bed is enough the enjoy the benefits of exercise. You could take a 20 minutes’ walk or jog, or you can create a personal exercise routine.
3. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine is found in food and drinks such as dark chocolate, coffee and energy drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant, it acts as a mild stimulant on the nervous system.
A lot of working adults consume caffeine during the day to stay active and energized.
Caffeine remains in the blood for 6 to 8 hours, so when caffeine is consumed about 6 to 8 hours before bed, it can affect a good night’s sleep.
If you consume caffeine during the day and you have problems having a good night’s sleep, try to stop the consumption of caffeine 6 to 8 hours before your regular bedtime.
Other foods and drinks that contain caffeine are
energy drinks and espressos,
some painkillers such as aspirin also contain caffeine.
4. Avoid nicotine before you go to bed
Nicotine is a stimulant found in cigarettes, it increases the heart rate and blood pressure and this could cause sleep problems.
Nicotine is known to cause insomnia, affects deep sleep time and smokers tend to spend more time sleeping lightly. It is best to avoid nicotine if you have sleep problems.
5. Avoid alcohol before you go to bed
Alcohol alters the mood of an individual. Having an alcoholic beverage before bed helps you relax, but it disrupts sleep during the night, it robs you of Rapid Eye movement (REM) sleep and you may wake up after the effects of alcohol wears off which leads to less sleep time.
It also causes snoring, sleep apnea, tiredness after sleeping and disrupted sleeping patterns
6. Control exposure to light
Light exposure can be controlled to give you a good night’s sleep. Ways you can use light exposure to your advantage for a good night’s sleep is
- Increase exposure to bright light during the day: Exposure of bright light during the day improves sleep quality, it improves the circadian rhythm, it improves day time energy and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep
- Reduce exposure to blue light in the evening: The blue light tricks the brain to think that it is still daytime and it leads to the difficulty to relax and to fall asleep, you can avoid this by reducing your exposure to blue light 2 hours before bed, wear glasses that block blue light or use apps that block blue light on computers and smartphones and avoid watching TV before bed. Sources of blue light are smartphones and computers.
7. Avoid eating large foods late at night
It is best to avoid large foods about 2 to 4 hours before your good night’s sleep, you should eat light foods instead. This helps prevent indigestion and discomfort which could interfere with your sleep.
8. Get a comfortable Bed and Pillow
If you are not comfortable on your bed, you probably won’t have a good night’s sleep, you may wake up feeling tired and it may take longer hours for you to fall asleep.
Try changing your bed and to a more comfortable one. There are a lot of beds and pillows made especially for people who can’t have a proper good night’s rest, you can try them
Some other things that you can do to have a good night’s sleep are
1. Avoid sleeping in when you had enough sleep at night
2. Try to cut out stress or reduce stress in essential areas of your life
3. Take a hot bath or try out various relaxation methods such as music and meditation before going to bed
4. Use your bed for just resting and sleeping, don’t work on your bed, don’t read or eat on your bed
5. See a doctor if sleeping problems continue after trying these methods.
A good night’s sleep is essential and it is something we should all enjoy and benefit from, try these methods and have a good night’s sleep.
Read more on how to have a good night’s sleep here.
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