GET A ROUTINE
Syncing with the bodies natural clock, the circadian rhythm is one of the most effective (and natural) methods we have to getting a good night’s sleep.
Getting into a strict and consistent routine of going and getting out of bed at the same time each day will have major benefits.
It’s also important to experiment with different sleep and wake times, as various set ups will benefit people differently. So not only find the ideal length of sleep, but also the times this sleep should start and finish.
CONTROL THE SURROUNDINGS
On top of finding the best sleeping routine, we can naturally encourage the body to feel more alert or relaxed. A hormone known as melatonin is released when we are in dark surroundings, as it helps the body regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
If we are exposed to little or no sunlight during the day, we can release melatonin making us sleepy during the day.
In a bright environment, melatonin production is suppressed. The same occurs at night when we do want a release of melatonin to induce sleep. If we are exposed to bright light or blue light omitted from screens just before bed, it can slow down the release.
The goal should be to spend more time in daylight during the day, with less exposure to it (including artificial light) at night.
KEEP THE BEDROOM FOR SLEEP
Ensuring the bedroom is optimised for relaxing, unwinding and sleeping is essential. The bedroom should therefore become a place to be associated for sleep which will send a powerful signal to help us nod off.
Other important factors here are:
- Eliminating any noises that may disturb our sleep
- Keeping the bedroom at the right temperature
- Removing any electronic equipment
- Ensuring the room is dark enough
- Ensuring the bed is comfortable enough
IMPROVE NUTRITION AND EXERCISE HABITS
Good nutrition habits can drastically improve sleep quality, particularly in the last hours before bed. Some important considerations are:
- Avoid eating large meals before bed
- Avoid drinking too much liquid
- Avoid caffeine in the latter part of the day
- Avoid alcohol before bed
A small bedtime snack containing a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates can be ideal to help people fall asleep, as that feeling of being satisfied can help the body rest.Daily exercise can also lead to improved sleep, while exercising too late may disturb the body’s natural wake-sleep cycle as it can act as a heavy stimulus on the body.
REDUCE STRESS AND RELAX
Stress related to family, money, work or other day-to-day difficulties can be a common sleep disruptor. Managing these stressors and using pre-bed relaxation techniques can be effective in aiding a better nights’ sleep.
You can find lot’s of articles I have written around stress and its effects on the body. each article gives some ideas on how to reduce stress. Make sure you take a look.
Some common techniques are:
- Write down any problems or issues. Journaling.
- Conduct some deep breathing techniques. Mindfulness and Meditation.
- Use progressive muscle relaxation techniques
- Avoid any stressing tasks or thoughts before bed
- Keep the bedroom clean and tidy
- Have a hot shower or bath
- Do something you enjoy before bed
We now know the impact sleep can have on the body and health. By upgrading our knowledge around this important topic, we can see drastic improvements in those with sleep disorders and those who are sleep deprived.