When people plan about living a healthier lifestyle, the goal usually focuses on exercise and a balanced diet. Sadly, sleep is often left out of the picture. Many are willing to do extended physical activities, even until late in the evening but neglect maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
It is worth noting that poor sleep leads to memory issues, trouble with cognition and concentration, mood swings, high blood pressure, weight gain, and other medical conditions. In contrast, getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep boosts mood and the immune system, improves memory and physical performance, prevents obesity, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
That said, it is evident that sleep is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps you have always wanted to get a good night’s rest but find it difficult to fall and stay asleep. If so, here are several practical tips that can help you sleep better at night:
Choose the Right Sleepwear
Choosing what you wear is an essential element of getting a good slumber. After all, it is practically impossible to doze off if your nightwear feels hot, itchy, or generally uncomfortable, right? That is why instead of merely picking out the cheapest pajamas you can find online, you should be more discerning of the fabric, fit, and details when buying sleepwear.
Your nightwear should be made from breathable, soft, and lightweight material that feels good when you put it on, like cotton and rayon. If you are prone to night sweats or have trouble staying cool and comfy at night, you may want to consider purchasing nightclothes made with thermo-regulating fabrics. As the term suggests, such material helps regulate body temperature, so you always feel fresh and comfy while sleeping regardless of the weather or season.
Besides the type of fabric, you should also consider the fit of the nightclothes you are planning to purchase. Opt for a looser fit instead of tightfitting sleepwear that could hamper blood circulation. Also, be sure to pick a design without problematic and annoying elements like large buttons, snaps, and itchy tags.
Avoid Caffeine Close to Bedtime
Do you love coffee so much that you drink it even at night? If your answer is yes, then it is time to change your coffee drinking habits immediately. As you may know, coffee and other caffeinated drinks like tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and cola are stimulants. They keep you awake and alert. That is why you should limit your drinking in the early parts of the day. Do not indulge in caffeine-rich beverages and supplements for four to six hours before getting ready for bed.
Transform Your Bedroom into an Ideal Sleeping Environment
An environment that is conducive to sleep has three crucial characteristics: dark, cool, and quiet. To achieve such a setting, you need to change some elements in your bedroom. For one, try switching to heavy curtains or blackout shades to make your room darker. Take note that darkness triggers the release of melatonin in your body, the hormone that causes sleepiness, while exposure to natural or artificial lights can disrupt or block melatonin production. If it is challenging to block light from entering your bedroom, or if you prefer not to alter your window coverings, you can simply wear an eye mask.
Secondly, keep the temperature in your room comfortably cool—between 60 to 75oF. Doing so will help lower your body temperature and eventually make you fall asleep faster and longer. Lastly, make sure that your bedroom is free from noise that may prevent you from getting sleepy or may wake you up in the middle of the night. Perhaps, you can use a white noise machine to mask disrupting sounds, or you can also wear earplugs to sleep. Apart from turning your room into a dark, cool, and quiet environment, you may also want to invest in high-quality pillows and mattress to increase your comfort level for a better night’s sleep.
Create a Pre-Bedtime Routine
To help you fall asleep faster, you must transition well from wake time to bedtime. You can do so by creating a relaxing routine that you can abide by every night at least an hour before sleeping. For instance, you can read a book, do breathing exercises, take a warm bath, or listen to soft music. You can also apply essential oils known for promoting sleep—such as lavender, chamomile, sage, and frankincense—to your palms and wrists to help you feel relaxed and calm. Journaling is also an effective pre-bedtime routine since it can help you reduce bedtime worry and stress.
Exercise Early in the Day
Although regular exercise can aid in better sleep, doing so near bedtime can be counterproductive. Working out activates the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases alertness. As such, it is best to do your exercise routine early in the day. If you only have time in the evenings, try finishing up at least three hours before going to bed so it will not affect your sleep.
Keep Evening Meals Light
Eating heavy meals close to bedtime is a no-no if you want a restful sleep. For one, feeling too full can prevent you from falling asleep. Also, the habit can cause indigestion and acid reflux, which can make it challenging for you to stay asleep. As a general rule, it is best to finish dinner several hours before bedtime and to stay away from foods that can cause indigestion, like fatty, acidic, and spicy dishes.
Sleep is vital to maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. As such, you should exert effort to ensure that you get at least seven hours of quality sleep. Start acquiring good sleeping habits by following the tips above and sticking to them. Keep in mind that all good things require consistency and commitment. Observe them religiously, and you will surely increase your chances of achieving restful sleep.