Sleep is as crucial to a healthy body and a sound mind as eating nutritious food and physical exercise. Yet, more often than not, we tend to take this aspect of our lives a bit carelessly. One who suffers from a bad night’s sleep and a poor sleep cycle can suffer from serious negative implications on their health.
These include weight management problems, increase risk for heart diseases, negative hormones and brain functions, as well as tiredness and lethargy. On the other hand, those who get their recommended 7-8 hours per night of sleep without any disruptions are prone to a much healthier lifestyle. Since this notion of our health that is often taken for granted is of utmost importance, here are some tested and trusted tips and tricks to getting a good night’s sleep.
Avoid Caffeine at Night
Although we all crave our cup of coffee from time to time, if you’re looking to fix your sleep schedule, please avoid caffeine at night. Known to enhance focus, energy and performance, drinking coffee in the evening and night can stimulate your nervous system and prevent your body from relaxing once you get into bed.
Experts recommend not drinking coffee at least 6 hours before bed as caffeine can stay in one’s blood for up to 6-8 hours. However, if you’re really craving that delicious beverage after a long day at work, stick to decaffeinated coffee, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night.
Don’t Use Gadgets in Bed
One of the most common factors that affect a good night’s sleep is exposure to blue light at night, and by that we mean gadgets and devices in bed. Night-time exposure to devices such as laptops and smartphones affects your circadian rhythm, tricking the brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This prevents your body from relaxing and falling asleep.
At least two hours before bed, turn off your TV and laptop, and set your smartphone at a small distance away from your bed, so you don’t fall victim to late-night scrolling on social media. If you need to turn your air conditioner or air purifier on or off at night, avoid using your phone to do that and simply set the adjustment timings to automatic.
Don’t Take Long and Irregular Naps in the Day
Although we all require a rejuvenating nap from time to time, stick to 30–40-minute naps during the day, as napping too long can affect your night’s sleep. In contrast, short naps are beneficial for giving you a quick burst of energy. Sleeping for too long during the day can have a detrimental effect on your sleep pattern as well as energy levels.
Naps are prone to confuse your internal clock and hence have an adverse effect on sleep quality in general. So, every time you feel yourself getting sleepy during the day, make sure to set your alarm for just 30 minutes, so you don’t oversleep and end up spending your nights awake.
Consider Taking Supplements
There are many supplements that act as a sleeping aid if you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Amongst these, melatonin is the most effective one that helps treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. It is also a great supplement to take if you’re travelling, which can affect your circadian rhythm due to time zones.
Other than melatonin, try some natural herb-based supplements to improve your sleep health. These include valerian root, lavender and ginkgo biloba. Lavender is a great way of introducing a calming and sedentary effect that improves sleep tremendously. You can also use it in the form of essential oils inside a diffuser as you go to bed.
Set Your Bedroom Environment
Setting your bedroom environment and optimising it to your sleep needs can also help you improve your sleep health. This includes taking care of the temperature – not too cold, not too hot, external lights-dimmed, and other factors. Minimise external noise and light from devices and gadgets such as alarm clocks, air conditioners, and air purifiers.
Music on the other hand can help you ease into a good night’s sleep. Set up a good quality Bluetooth speaker and put on some relaxing and calming music as you drift off to sleep. Music is known to reduce heart rate, blood pressure and lead to slow breathing which can all work to make you sleep faster by relaxing your nervous system.
Don’t Eat Heavy Meals Late at Night
Eating late at night has negative implications for your sleep quality. As a tip, do not go for the high-carb diet to satisfy your night cravings, as this kind of food prevents the HGH and melatonin needed to relax and fall asleep naturally. You can avoid eating carbs and fats at least 4 hours before bed, as it is generally recommended to eat dinner earlier for good quality sleep.
If you’re looking to snack before bedtime, stick to fruits such as apples and kiwis or drink some chamomile tea to help you relax and wind down. Eating light at night also prevents any digestive discomfort that can affect your sleep and prevent you from getting comfortable.
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