When we think about staying healthy, we tend to think about exercising and eating well. But another one of the most fundamental factors of our health that is frequently overlooked is our sleeping pattern. The quality of our sleep has an enormous impact on our mental capacity and mood, which in turn have a huge effect on our ability to stay physically fit. The power and importance of a good night’s sleep should not be underestimated, so here are a few tips to help you get the best rest you can.
Firstly, one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of your sleep is to get into a routine. Our bodies run on a sort of internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which operates on a 24 hour cycle. This helps us feel alert during the day, and drowsy at night. But the more we adjust our sleep-wake cycle, the less finely tuned this clock becomes, and you can be left feeling sleepy when you want to feel awake, or vice-versa. Setting a strict bedtime and sleeping for 7-8 hours can help your body get into a proper routine, which will make it easier to both fall asleep and wake up over time.
Falling asleep is not asleep is not always as simple as getting into bed and closing your eyes, however. People can often spend hours lying in bed and not drift off at all. While there can be many reasons for this, there are a few things you can do if it happens. For starters, try to see your bed as a place for sleep only, and not somewhere to sit on your phone or laptop during the day. You should only go to bed when you actually feel tired, and if you have been unable to fall asleep for more than 20 minutes, you should leave the room until you are sleepy. And as you have probably heard, you should not use your phone in bed, not only because the blue light used in phone screens can keep the mind awake, but also because looking at an endless feed of posts does not give your mind a clear opportunity to shut down.
As you are also probably aware, consuming certain products before bed will likely keep you awake or lower the quality of your sleep, but this isn’t limited to just coffee. Many teas have just as much caffeine as coffee, and while eating a large meal within 2-3 hours of going to bed may not keep you awake, it will likely prevent you from getting high-quality sleep, as your body has to work harder to digest during the night. And despite what you may believe, drinking alcohol is more likely to keep you up then send you off to sleep.
While sleeping may sound like it should be one of the easiest things in the world to do, as you can see, there are a lot of normal things that can completely disrupt your sleeping habits. If you are having trouble sleeping on a regular basis, the important thing is to be aware of anything that could be a contributing factor. While none of the advice outlined above will work as a quick-fix for sleepless nights, getting into a proper routine and sticking with it will have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep in the long run.