We all struggle with making big changes to our daily routines, even when we know that they will produce positive long-term health benefits. Change is hard!
We are aware of the good practices to maintain our health and longevity, but we end up dismissing them by rationalizing, “I can never do that”, “I don’t have any time for that”, or “I don’t like doing it”.
If you have even been in that position, then here’s some good news for you – you can achieve terrific health benefits by making some simple changes to your sleep too. Here are 7 of them to help you get started.
These are easy, hardly take much of your time, and you can start doing them right away.
1. Cut Off Your Screen Time Before Sleep
Your brain produces sleep hormone melatonin for regulating your circadian rhythm, or more commonly known as the sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to intense sources of light suppresses the production of melatonin. So, your brain and mind “feel” that you are not ready to sleep yet. So, you lay awake in your bed for hours, and sleep continues to elude you. You can prevent this by not using your phone, laptop, TV, or other screen devices for at least 1 hour before you go to sleep.
2. Start Using Night Mode on All Devices
Modern smartphones and computers come with the “Night Mode” feature, which reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your device screens. Do you know why? Because blue light confounds your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime. The night node feature shifts the display light towards the red end of the spectrum.
You can usually schedule the Night Mode to switch on and off during the night hours automatically. You can set it once and forget about it forever.
3. Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sleep Haven
Sleep is not all about the number of hours you lay dormant. It is also about the quality of sound slumber you get. You feel well-rested and relaxed after a good session of REM sleep. To kick off the REM sleep, it’s critical that your sleep is uninterrupted. Get rid of everything that can distract you during your sleep. Put your phone in the DND mode. Use mosquito repellants. Most importantly, get the best mattress that matches your body type. You do it once and enjoy excellent sleep time for years to come.
4. Avoid Stimulants
Tea, coffee, tobacco, cigarettes, and other stimulants are not really great friend with sleep. They supercharge your brain and keep you active for hours.
Another less understood culprit is alcohol. Sure, it lulls you into a deep sleep pretty fast, but that’s only during the first half of your night’s sleep. During the second half, as the body begins to process the alcohol, it disrupts your sleep and even makes you run to the bathroom once or twice during the night, effectively nullifying any sleep-inducing benefits it offers.
5. Get Out. Seriously!
If the screen light is a sleep disruptor, natural light is a powerful enabler. Use it to your advantage. The moment you wake up every morning, let in as much natural light into your room as possible. While at the office, take a short break to spend some time basking in the sunshine. Once your brain calibrates itself to the natural day-night cycles, your sleep time will also fall into a routine.
6. Exercise is Important
If your job involves a good amount of physical activity, then you are likely getting enough exercise. By the time you hit the bed, you are exhausted and fall right into sleep. However, if you have a sedentary job, then get some exercise regularly. A decent level of tiredness puts you into a sound sleep.
7. Follow a Pre-sleep Relaxation Routine
We carry a lot of stress from the day to the bed with us – office altercations, domestic issues, and whatnot. Create a pre-sleep routine that unshackles you from all of the toxic thoughts. It can be a nice shower, reading a book, or something else. The only criterium is that it must be soothing and deeply relaxing for you.
Most of these tips will hardly take much of your time. In fact, as you incorporate them into your daily routine, they will become barely noticeable to you over time. They’ll become second nature to you, and even before you realize it, you’ll start experiencing positive benefits of the sound sleep routine.
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