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A Step by Step Guide to Improve the Quality of Sleep

calender

2020-04-06 15:52:50

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The quality of sleep you experience regularly can have a huge impact on your daily life. Deep sleep (Non-REM) is important to maintain our physical health and day time performance. Light Sleep (REM) is important to support healthy brain function and emotional well-being. In children, it helps to support their growth and development. According to various studies, people who suffer from sleep deprivation or sleep deficiency have been linked to illnesses such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, obesity, etc.

A lack of good quality sleep can affect your productivity, creativity, decision making, mood, and problem-solving skills as well. Not to mention, your immune system takes a hit if you don’t sleep well at night which is bad for the safety of your overall health.

If you often experience daytime sleepiness, have a slower reaction time, or feel you have lost control of your emotions, it can be a sign of a lack of good quality sleep. Sleeping well for at least 7-8 hours a day can help eliminate some of these symptoms. To do that, you just have to change or modify your sleeping habits and other activities that can affect your sleep schedule.

Here are a few steps you can follow to improve the quality of your sleep:

1. Sleep on a good mattress
Sleeping on poor quality mattresses and bedding can cause a lot of problems including insomnia and back pain. If your mattress is over 7-8 years old or if you find yourself sleeping better in hotels or someplace else, it is time to change your old mattress. To sleep comfortably all night, you have to find the best mattress for your body type. Simply choosing back support mattresses or referring to a mattress firmness guide is not a good idea as every individual has a different requirement and sleeping habits.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to choose the right mattress online. KingKoil stocks the best mattresses in India. It’s simple to learn how to choose the best mattress with KingKoil SleepID. With just a few clicks, the SleepID software will recommend mattresses that are the most suitable for your body type. When you sleep on such mattresses, you would notice that you have an easier time falling asleep at night. Plus, sleeping on a suitable mattress would allow you to sleep without feeling any discomfort or pain.

Also, don’t forget to change your pillows if you notice yourself adjusting their position every night. Bad quality pillows can also prevent you from achieving a healthy amount of sleep at night.

2. Sleep in an environment that encourages good sleep
Your bedroom environment should promote sleeping and your mind should associate your bedroom with only sleep and sex. This would make it easier for you to fall asleep when you finally hit the bed after a long day of work. So, try to keep electronic gadgets like TVs, laptops, PC, or work materials in a home office or somewhere else. It also helps to keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. The ideal temperature for a restful slumber is between 15 and 24°C. Make sure the bedroom is properly ventilated as well. To drown out external noise, you may use earplugs, a sound machine, or a fan. Anything that creates ‘white noise’ can help. If you wake up too early in the morning due to bright light, consider replacing the curtains on your bedroom windows with a darker shade or try using an eye mask.

3. Avoid eating food and drinks that can interfere with your sleep cycle
What you eat and drink during the day can affect your sleep quality later at night. Studies show that people who feed on a lot of refined carbs(pasta, white rice, white bread) and sugar during the day often experience wakefulness at night which prevents them from slipping into the deep, restorative sleeping stages. It is also important to avoid consuming heavy meals that consist of spicy or acidic foods at least 2 hours prior to going to sleep at night. Eating big meals or rich foods can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach trouble, all of which can keep you awake at night. Make it a habit not to consume lots of fluids before going to sleep. Drinking too many liquids at night may cause you to visit the bathroom more than once or twice, disturbing your sleep. Avoid smoking tobacco products or consuming caffeine (coffee, chocolate, tea, cola) close to bedtime. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and can disrupt your sleep if consumed within 6-8 hours of hitting the bed. Alcohol is proven to cause disrupted sleep patterns, snoring, and increase the symptoms of sleep apnea. It also interferes with your circadian rhythm, nighttime melatonin production, and acts as a stimulant after a few hours. So, while drinking alcohol can help you to fall asleep faster, it will decrease the overall quality of your sleep.

4. Follow good sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene includes all of those factors that can affect the quality of your sleep. This can include everything from the tidiness of your bedroom to your daily habits or behaviors that can have an impact on your sleep. For eg., participating in late-night conversations, watching horror movies before going to bed, hitting the bed without changing into a set of comfortable clothes is practicing bad sleep hygiene. These habits would not allow you to rest properly or fall asleep as quickly as you would like.

5. Establish a comfortable pre-sleep routine
A soothing pre-sleep routine that includes doing relaxing activities or things that you enjoy can help you lower the amount of stress hormone (cortisol) and make the transition from wake time to sleep time easier. The relaxing bedtime ritual of many people includes a light book reading session, listening to calming music or audiobooks, watching their favorite tv shows, or practicing relaxation exercises. Taking a warm bath helps a lot as the subsequent fall in temperature after it rises helps to promote drowsiness. You must learn to wind down and clear your head. Avoid thinking useless things to seek fresh stimulation. Whatever you do, don’t participate in any stimulating or stressful activities before hitting the bed at night as it can increase alertness at night. If you cannot relax your mind, write down your thoughts in a journal or a notebook.

6. Exercise in the morning
Regular exercise in the morning not only boosts your health and helps you get into shape but also promotes good sleep. According to studies, people who follow a consistent exercise schedule notice an improvement in their sleep quality and a reduction in symptoms such as sleep apnea and insomnia. The harder you exercise during the day, the better you would sleep at night. However, make sure you don’t exercise at least 3-4 hours before going to bed as it can have the opposite effect. Exercising stimulates hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline elevates the temperature of your body, and boosts your metabolism. So, exercising too close to sleep time can keep you awake and alert at night. If you suffer from a condition that doesn’t allow you to exercise intensely, you can practice gentle stretching or low-impact exercises like yoga in the evening as it can help you relax and fall asleep sooner at night.

7. Figure out your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
It is important to keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle a.k.a circadian rhythm to enjoy good quality sleep every day. In fact, if you follow a routine or maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, you would notice that you feel much more energized and refreshed when you wake up in the morning. Altering your sleep schedule even by an hour or two can adversely impact your sleep quality. To optimize the quality of your sleep and keep in sync with your body’s internal clock, choose a bedtime when you naturally feel tired every day and maintain the habit of going to sleep at the same time every day. Don’t change your sleep schedule during the weekends or holidays as it can cause symptoms that people experience when suffering from jetlag. If you have to nap in the afternoon, limit them to about 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, it can make things worse. Don’t go to bed immediately after dinner. Fight the after-dinner drowsiness by doing something mildly stimulating such as calling a friend, doing the dishes, or ironing the clothes that you have to wear the next day.

8. Adjust your exposure to light
Your exposure to light controls the production of the sleep hormone known as melatonin and also affects your sleep-wake cycle. In the morning, expose your body to bright sunlight to promote wakefulness. Adjust your window and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible. Go on morning walks and spend some time outside during work breaks. You may use a light therapy box that stimulates sunshine during the winter if necessary. Your body produces more melatonin when it’s dark. Melatonin helps you to relax, fall asleep easier, and experience deep sleep at night. So, you have to limit your exposure to light at night. Avoid bright screens or anything that emits blue light at least 1-2 hours before going to sleep at night. This can include devices such as TV, laptops, tablet, smartphone, PCs, etc. If necessary, use an e-reader to read ebooks instead of backlit devices as they are softer on the eyes. Another option is to turn the brightness down to the minimum or use light-altering software such as f.lux.

9. Practice deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep
Doing deep breathing exercises before sleeping at night activates a good relaxation response by lowering your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels. As a result, it allows you to drift into sleep much more easily. A good relaxation technique is to practice slowly breathing from your stomach instead of your chest and slowly exhaling air through your mouth. You should feel your lower abdomen slowly rise when falling when doing this correctly. Another good relaxation technique is to close your eyes, focus on every part of your body by visualizing them in your mind, and relax every part one by one by releasing the tension and stress in them.

10. Consider taking supplements that induce relaxation and sleep
If you cannot sleep well even after following the steps listed above, you may consider taking a sleep aid such as melatonin supplements. According to studies, consuming 2 mg of melatonin before hitting the bed at night can help you fall asleep sooner, improve sleep quality, and make you feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning. A vast majority of people don’t experience any bad side effects from consuming melatonin supplements. However, you should start with a low dose to assess your tolerance levels and figure out if you have any allergic reactions to it. You should practice the same for any other supplement that you consume. Other popular supplements that aid in sleeping include valerian root, L-theanine, Ginkgo Biloba, lavender, glycine, magnesium, etc. Before you take any kind of supplement, you should consult with your healthcare provider to avoid any potential problems these may cause in the long run.

Conclusion
You must never compromise on sleep quality as it is a vital part of your life. To enjoy good health and an active lifestyle, you must sleep for 7-9 hours each day. Following the tips stated above can help you to sleep better. However, if you suffer from sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and other such illnesses, it is best to consult a doctor. Once you rule out any sleep disorders, the best way to improve the quality of your sleep is to purchase a good mattress that is suited for your body type. Visit KingKoil to browse the best mattresses online in India at best prices. You can also discover mattresses for couples and mattresses for older people on our website.

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