How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
The vast majority of adults require about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, but our sleep patterns change as we grow older and we tend to get less and less of it. Our mental wellbeing also has a significant role to play in having either too little or too much sleep, and some life stages such as menopause have the potential to disrupt our regular sleep patterns.
You can easily find yourself slipping into a poor sleeping routine, particularly when balancing working from home and the office, but if you follow the tips provided here or making simple changes, there could be a huge impact on your sleep quality. The following guide aims to provide some tips for better sleep along with how to get into the right sleep routine.
Follow these tips on how to sleep through the night provided below:
1. Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule
Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, whenever possible, even on your days off or weekends. The consistency will help in programming your internal body clock and get it used to the routine.
If you have an irregular schedule, you are likely to suffer from mood swings and drowsiness, along with memory and concentration problems. Available evidence also suggests that people with a disjointed sleeping pattern are more likely to gain weight.
If you frequently change the time when you go to bed and wake up, your body will be unable to adjust to a set schedule. So, how can you get your sleep schedule back on track? Well, it is all about proper timing and consistency.
2. Have a Relaxing Sleeping Routine
Take some time to wind down before going to bed. Activities such as taking a warm bath or reading, can help you separate sleep time from what has been happening in your life. You can also write a “to-do” list for the next day to organize your thoughts and clear your mind about any anxiety or stress that you might be feeling about the next day.
3. Optimize the Sleeping Environment
You should make sure that your bedroom is the ideal place to get a good night’s sleep. First, ensure that it isn’t either too hot or too cold.
Aim for it to be between 18°C (64.4°F) and 21°C (69.8°F). The room also needs to be free from noise likely to disrupt your sleep. If that isn’t possible, consider getting earplugs for blocking out any disruptive sounds.
You should also consider removing phones, tablets, and TVs because they provide a stimulating environment as opposed to a resting environment. Finally, the room should be free from light – eye masks or blackout curtains can help if your room is too light.
The Sleep Council recommends getting a new mattress every 7 years. That means you will be spending about 20,000 hours lying on it, so you need to make sure that you get one that suits you. Birch mattress certifications will help you to find the mattress that is right for you. Available research shows that sleeping in a bad bed is the same as getting 1 hour less of sleep each night.
4. Minimize Worry and Stress Before Sleep
A key reason for getting a bad night’s sleep is feeling stressed or worried. Relaxation techniques such as meditation can also help you feel calm prior to settling down for the night.
Relaxing music can be a great way to minimize stress before going to bed and there are also several apps designed to help with sleep. Still, you should consider that it is advisable to minimize the use of tablets and smartphones 1 hour before bed since the screen light can have a negative effect on your sleep.
5. Avoid Naps
If you are having trouble sleeping at night, you might be tempted to catch up with naps after getting home from work in the evening. However, unless you’re feeling dangerously tired, such as when you’re driving, it is best to avoid naps since they can make it more difficult for you to sleep at night.
If you feel like you are getting tired during the day, stand up and take a walk, get some fresh air, or do something that will challenge the brain for some time, such as a word search or crossword puzzle.
6. Avoid Stimulants Such as Nicotine or Alcohol Before You Sleep
The best things to avoid at all costs to help you sleep are nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol since they stimulate the system. The effects of stimulants can take hours to wear off and can have a major impact on how fast you fall asleep and your quality of sleep.
Alcohol might make you feel drowsy, but it may disrupt you later in the night and will not help you fall into the deep sleep that you yearn for.
Nicotine causes the heart rate and alertness to increase, which means that you will feel more awake before going to sleep. Nicotine gets into the bloodstream within just a few minutes, but it will start leaving the body after a few hours and since it is highly addictive, your brain will wake you up for additional nicotine, causing a more disruptive night.
7. Don’t Eat Sugary Snacks or Big Meals Before Bed
If you have a large meal right before going to bed, it may take a while for the body to digest it, which means it may be harder for you to fall asleep. A general rule to follow is to finish eating at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed, especially if you’re eating sugary or heavy foods that may keep you awake for longer.
What Foods Should You Avoid Before Bedtime?
Chocolate: It has a high caffeine content, which can cause rapid eye movement to occur more frequently during the latter stages of sleep and this leads to the grogginess you might feel in the morning.
High Caffeine Drinks: Coffee, tea, and energy drinks are some of the high caffeine drinks that you should avoid 4 to 6 hours before you go to bed.
Curry: Spicy foods, such as hot sauces, mustard, and curries all contain high levels of capsaicin that causes the body’s normal temperature to be elevated, which can interfere with the thermoregulation process that disrupts sleep.
Crisps: Crisps and salted nuts contain lots of salt and dehydrate the body and increase water retention causing fatigue and tiredness. Research by the European Society of Endocrinology found that salty foods were some of the worst to eat before bed since they contributed to “superficial” or disrupted sleep. According to experts, you should avoid salty foods 2 to 3 hours before bed to increase the chance of a good night’s sleep.
Ice-Cream: Large quantities of sugar usually have a negative impact on health, with obesity being a highly publicized risk factor. Still, sugar in large quantities can affect you too.
Foods with high sugar content such as sweets, fizzy drinks, and ice-cream lead to a spike in blood sugar levels at first, then crash during sleep, which makes the body believe there’s an emergency and wakes the body from slumber.
Cheese: Aged or strong cheese contains a high level of the amino acid, tyramine, which causes the human body to release the “fight or flight” hormone that increases alertness for several hours.
Besides cheese, preserved meats such as pepperoni, ham, and bacon contain this amino acid that will likely affect your regular routine.