Just as nutrition and exercise are important elements of a healthy lifestyle, getting enough good-quality sleep just as essential to staying healthy and aging well.
Sleep plays a remarkable role in detoxification, maintenance, repair, and growth of tissues and organs, as well as regulating hormones and sugar levels. Poor quality sleep is linked to everything from anxiety and depression to weight gain and chronic diseases.
Sadly, many of us find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, especially during the busy weekdays. However, there are many practical ways to boost good sleeping habits and quality sleep which can positively impact your overall health, mood, and attitude.
In order to enhance your quality of sleep and sleeping habits, follow these practical steps:
Light controls our biological clock. Historically, people ordered their days around the rise and setting of the sun. In today’s modern society which sees us surrounded by technology and screens, it is near impossible to avoid light exposure in the evening, in particular, blue light (lamps and other lighting or electronics such as TVs, laptops, mobile phones, etc.). Light suppresses the release of the natural hormone melatonin, which plays a vital role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
Dim the lights in the evening and before going to bed as this can help prepare your body for sleep. Make your room completely dark and say no to technology in the bedroom – even to your mobile phone.
Try also to expose yourself to the sun every day as this will help to regulate your sleep cycle.
The temperature of your bedroom plays a significant role as well, ideally, it should be between 16°C and 25°C.
Whenever possible, try to ensure that your sleeping environment is quiet and away from noise and undesirable sounds.
Mattress and pillow
Invest in a supportive pillow and mattress and make sure that both are comfortable. The life expectancy of most good quality mattresses is between 9 and 10 years. Your mattress should be firm enough to support your spine in the correct alignment and comfortable enough to promote quality sleep. If you wake up with aches and pains, then it’s probably time to consider changing your mattress.
Establish a regular bedtime routine and sleep pattern as this will regulate your circadian rhythm. Wind down to allow your body to shift into sleep mode. Try to spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity like reading a book or listening to relaxing music and don’t forget to dim the lights.
Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, to train yourself to fall asleep and wake up more easily.
Avoid prolonged napping during the day as it’ll prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep at night. However, a 10-30-minute nap can actually restore your energy levels without compromising your sleep at night.
Exercise can enhance the quality of your sleep. Maintain a daily workout routine and try to avoid exercising two hours before bedtime to prevent the adrenaline from disrupting your sleep. According to Harvard Health Publishing, practicing yoga helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer as it’s a gentle and restorative way to wind down your day.
Avoid drinking late at night
Empty your bladder before bedtime and try not to consume liquids directly before you sleep. Try to drink liquids an hour and a half before you sleep at the latest, to avoid waking up in the middle of the night.
Consider using essential oils like the naturally calming and soothing lavender oil or geranium oil to help you relax and prepare you for a good night’s sleep. You may pour a few drops of lavender or geranium oil on your pillow or bedding.
I encourage you to prioritize sleep and commit to making the necessary lifestyle changes to improve the quality of your sleep. Your circadian rhythm and quality of sleep have a major impact on your health. Sleep quality is as important as sleep quantity and may be a better indicator of overall health. With these healthy habits in place, you’ll be able to improve your quality of sleep and sleeping habits.
How do you make sure you sleep well at night? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.