Ever experienced waking up to the feeling of snuggling back into the blanket instead of embracing the day? On the contrary, you might notice days when you feel supercharged and ready to take on the world! Ever wondered why the difference in energy levels?
The key is a night of restful sleep! Not a big secret.
The body is functions like a machine, and even machines need a break. According to a study, our body gets its fair share of rest via restful sleep of 7-8 hours a day, but 73% of the American population has a sleep deficit.
So to wake up refreshed and energized, it is vital to give our body the shut-eye it requires. Not only our body recuperates, but it also goes through healing and repair processes during sleep.
Unfortunately, a majority of us owe sleep debt to our bodies. The fast-paced lifestyles have not made things easy around us. Losing an hour of sleep requires four days of sleep time to refurbish the missing resting hour and other ill-effects like weight gain, high blood pressure, decreased brain performance, imbalanced hormones, etc. Sleep deficit could add to the speed of aging years and memory decline.
Well, there is not a lot you need to do. A little discipline goes a long way when it comes to sound sleep and refreshed awakening. We need to prioritize our rest by not giving in to other temptations when it’s time to hit the bed.
Let’s have a sneak peek at the factors influencing our sleeping routine and get the best out of them.
How to get a sound sleep?1.Sticking to the biological clock
So, which clock is that we are talking about here? It’s the timings at which we sleep and wake up. Our body has a circadian rhythm that follows the bright sunlight of the day and switches off at nighttime. The circadian rhythm affects the body hormones and other bodily functions, telling when it is time to sleep and wake up.
We must keep our timings fixed. If we sleep at our fixed time at night, no matter what, it'll help us wake up right away the following day. A study conducted on the elderly found that only two hours of bright light exposure during the day helped increase the amount of sleep at night by two hours and improved sleep efficiency by 80%.
However, suppose we find ourselves being lured away by the temptation of checking Instagram or the number of likes on the photo we uploaded in the morning. In that case, there's a good chance we might not wake up even at the set time, leave alone feeling refreshed or energized!
So, make sure to hit the sack when you know it's the time!2.Limit screen-time
It has been scientifically proven that the blue light emitted by the gadgets like laptops and phones drastically disturbs our sleep! To get better sleep at night, we must stop using all those gadgets well before we plan to turn in to bed.
Exposure to bright light at night imbalances melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep. Blue light emitting from the screen of your cell or laptop does not allow you to sleep.
Waking up in the middle of the night to check for messages or emails also disturbs our sleep. The brain needs complete peace at night to recharge for the day ahead. So when you feel like surfing through social media, resort to reading a relaxing book instead!3.Watch your drink
Coffee is a drink for mornings. Please keep it in its place value to reap its benefits like improved focus, attentiveness, and enhanced energy levels. Avoid coffee and other after five in the evening because caffeine stays in the blood for at least six hours. Drinking coffee late in the evening does not let your nervous system relax.
Often we’re so tired that we just hit the hay without ensuring the comfort of our room’s environment. That’s so wrong! Before sleeping, ensure that the rooms light, temperature and other such factors are set according to your comfort level. A study revealed that noise pollution has detrimental effects on the quality of sleep. Similar is the case with room temperature.5.Take the chill pill
Another critical factor is that no matter what you've been doing, call it a day a few hours before bedtime. Now that does not mean taking any sleeping pill. Relax and calm yourself with relaxing techniques. They help to improve sleep quality.
Taking a relaxing bubble bath would help wipe off all the worries from the mind. A study showed that taking a hot bath 90 minutes before going to bed improved sleep quality. A foot soak will also work the same way if you don't have time to take a bath.
Clear your head of all stressful thoughts and focus on relaxing. Meditating, listening to music or reading a good book does wonders.
Being active during the day and exercising helps overcome the symptoms of insomnia. Exercise helps improve all aspects of sleep, reduces the latent period, enhances the quality and duration of sleep, etc. The benefits of exercise to improve sleep quality were comparable to sleep medications, as reported by some studies.
7.Have a look at your bed
While you are customizing the room ambiance, do not overlook the mattress and pillow. A quality bed with clean sheets, a good mattress and a comfortable pillow contributes to sleep quality in surprising ways.
A comfortable mattress and pillow help relieve aches and pains throughout the body and improve sleep quality.8.Be consistent with timings
There was a reason why your mother would call it bedtime every night, 24/7. Having consistency in sleeping and waking hours help maintain the sleep quality over the long term. As the circadian rhythm keeps its pace, so do the bodily functions. According to a study, teenagers who were used to sleeping late at night had more behavioral issues than those who followed sleep hygiene. The study analyzed the effects of consistent sleep timings on such parameters as
- substance use
- anxiety and depression
- use of sleeping pills
- school attendance
- morningness/eveningness scale
Studies have proved the benefits of afternoon naps (usually less than 30-minutes duration). However, taking daytime naps and longer naps can disturb the circadian rhythm. So if you are not in the habit of taking naps during the daytime, avoid them to sleep better at night.
10.Rule out a sleep disorder
If nothing seems to work, do rule out any underlying disease or sleep disorder that might be keeping you awake at night. These may include sleep apnea, sleep movement disorders, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, and so on. If you work on a night shift, consult your doctor. Supplementing with melatonin might work for you if your work shifts changes.
Take home message
The subject article covers multiple vital factors playing a role in helping us sleep better and waking up refreshed. Our food, activities and sleeping ambience; everything plays a role. One needs to go through all these pointers to understand the science behind sleep hygiene.