by Barbara Green
Sleep issues creep up on people at different points in their lives. When I was in college, I couldn’t stay asleep in bed for more nights then I’d like to admit. The problem was so persistent that it drastically impacted my studies. Research shows that long-term sleep deprivation causes serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. After seeking medical help, it was evident that poor sleeping habits was one of the contributing factors to my challenges getting quality sleep. As a result, I decided to put together a list of Top 11 Tips for Healthier Sleep Habits
#1. Find time to relax
Scientists attribute stress to most of the sleeping disorders around the world. I usually relieve stress by reading a novel, taking a warm bath, or listening to soft music before going to bed. Moreover, I could write a to-do list before going to bed to free my mind of worrying about tomorrow’s list of things to do.
#2. Develop a sleep routine
Having a regular sleeping and waking time contribute to healthy sleep. In the past, I could watch a movie till late in the night before going to bed. This was the primary cause of the sleeping problems. Nowadays, I sleep at 10 PM and wake up at 5 AM every day. I recommend finding a time that works best for you and stick to it.
#3. Avoid electronic gadgets
Smartphones, TVs, computers and other electronic gadgets are known to interfere with sleep quality. They have bright screens and radio waves that make sleep very difficult. The blue light from these devices suppresses a sleep hormone known as melatonin. Therefore, it is best practice to stop using the electronic devices at least one hour before sleep. Nowadays, I get a peaceful sleep after adopting a routine of switching off technology gadgets by 9 PM.
#4. Make your bedroom comfortable
Equip your bedroom with comfortable bedding and temperature control systems. Studies have shown that bedrooms with pale colors can contribute to better sleep. Additionally, pleasant smells such as geranium and lavender provide a soothing setting for sleep.
#5. Don’t stay awake watching the clock
In the past, I had a habit of watching the clock regularly in the night. This causes a lot of anxiety that can hamper your sleep. The remedy is to focus on calm thoughts rather than turning around to look at the clock after every few minutes. When I need an alarm, I usually turn the clock around to prevent seeing the time.
#6. Foods for sleep
Studies show that healthy foods improve sleep significantly. Foods that are beneficial for healthy sleep include chicken, milk, pumpkin seeds and turkey. These foods contain chemicals known as serotonin and tryptophan. These chemicals stimulate the release of melatonin, which promotes sleep. Moreover, I am always keen on eating a well-balanced diet with lots of veggies and fruits.
#7. Avoid certain foods
Poor sleep can creep up if you consume alcohol, spicy foods, and large meals few hours before bedtime. Also, coffee late in the afternoon affects sleep. In this case, I usually take caffeinated drinks early in the day to avoid interfering with the night sleep. Also, I avoid sugary foods before going to bed. Sugars found in these foods lead to energy spikes that can hamper your sleep. Studies have shown that people who have problems sleeping tend to eat junk foods the day prior. This habit creates a cycle of bad diet and poor sleep, so you should avoid sugary foods at all cost.
#8. Switch off lights
I have also found that darkness promotes good sleep. People sleep when it is dark and wake up in the morning when the sun rises. Alternatively, I use dimmer lights to reduce the light intensity in the bedroom. Therefore, you should also consider buying inexpensive lamps that come with a dimmer switch. Also, I recommend considering the use of heavy curtains if street lights penetrate your bedroom. I live near the street, so I invested in blackout blinds to prevent street lights from entering my bedroom.
#9. Keeping Fit Helps with Sleep Quality
A great way to keep fit is by engaging in physical activities. Exercise boosts not only your sleep, but also your overall body health. I usually engage in a 30-minute workout daily, and the benefits are amazing. Some individuals find it hard to sleep if they engage in physical activity a few hours before bedtime. Overall, you will get better sleep if you exercise daily.
#10. Spend the right time in bed
To get a good sleep every night you should aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep consistently on a daily basis. However, the number of hours varies greatly depending on an individual. Everyone’s phenotype is different, but typically spending more than 9 hours in bed can lead to a poor sleeping habit for the average person. I usually sleep for about seven hours and have found it helpful. People who take hours to fall asleep may go to bed later to avoid spending much time on the bed.
#11. Focus on the sleep quality
Many people focus on the amount of time spent sleeping rather than the sleep quality they are receiving. Research shows that there are five stages of sleep, each with its significance. In short summary, there are iterative phases before reaching deep sleep. So even disruptions like getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of your sleep can make you fail to complete all stages. In this case, you should avoid taking too much liquid just before bedtime and regulating the timing of when dinner is had. To help with sleep quality, it helps to have a nice pillow that can keep the heat down and comfort levels high. Check out our guide to best cooling mattress pad to see our mattress pad break downs or Best Pillow For Stomach Sleepers to see our pillow break downs.
Many people around the world have sleep-related problems. It leads to poor health and low productivity in the workplace. Most of the people fail to get healthy sleep because of the poor lifestyle habits. I had a sleeping problem in the past until I decided to change my sleep habits.