Sleep has a major effect on both our mental and physical health, yet the majority of Americans and indeed people from all around the world report that they don’t get enough of it. This awareness of having a lack of sleep and not doing anything about it is rather strange; sleep is hugely important and a bad night’s sleep can easily hamper our productivity, energy and emotional state.
You don’t have to suffer with the effects of a bad sleeping routine, though; there are plenty of steps you can take to improve your sleep schedule and get your body back on the mend.
Here are three ways you can improve your sleep schedule:
No. 1: Control Light Exposure
Many people do not realize that exposure to bright, unnatural light immediately before bedtime can cause restlessness. Melatonin is a hormone which makes us sleepy and our body produces more of it when it is dark.
When the eyes are exposed to bright light, melatonin production slows down which makes us more alert and restless. When bedtime begins approaching (an hour or two prior), turn your lights down as low as possible and limit your exposure to electronics. Instead, perhaps read a book in low light or listen to some peaceful music.
This very simple method is the first thing you should be doing to improve your sleep.
No. 2: Exercise
Yes… nobody likes exercise. It’s hot, it’s sweaty and it’s just a farce. If you are finding it hard to sleep, however, exercise could just be your saving grace. People who exercise on the regular sleep much better at night and feel more alert throughout the day.
Regular bouts of exercise can improve the symptoms associated with insomnia and restlessness and increases the amount of time you spend in deep sleep—the kind of sleep which makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Half an hour to an hour of vigorous exercise will work wonders for your body and make you feel tired as the day comes to an end.
No. 3: Think About What You Consume
Your eating habits throughout the day play a massive role in your sleep at the end of it. Eating a ton of sugar or drinking lots of coffee throughout the day—particularly in the evening—can have a detrimental impact on your sleep.
Limit the amount of caffeine and nicotine you have in the evening, avoid having your big meal at night and cut back on your sugar intake in the hours leading up to your bedtime. Eating lots of sugar and carbohydrates close to bedtime can cause wakefulness at night as your body processes them. For ideas of natural remedies to assist in getting to sleep, visit ideahacks.com.
Although many of us suffer from sleeping issues from time to time, there are many simple lifestyle changes that we can make to improve our quality of sleep. A little exercise, sticking to a strict bedtime routine with low levels of light, and avoiding certain food and drink in the hours leading up to sleep can be the difference between a long and blissful night’s slumber or a restless, interrupted one.
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz
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