10 Tips for Sleeping Better at Night

A good night’s sleep is very important for our health and well-being; it is just as important as good exercise and healthy eating. Our bodies have been programmed to sleep for between six and eight hours. Poor sleep has a visible influence on our mood and on our performance; lack of sleep makes us feel irritable and slows our cognitive functioning.

Lack of sleep creates an imbalance in our hormone levels which can cause weight gain and increased susceptibility to coughs, colds and other diseases. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep helps us to live healthier lives by eating healthier and exercising better.

A good night’s sleep is very important for our emotional, psychological and physical well-being. We all know when we have a good night’s sleep we feel refreshed and energised to tackle the day, feeling as if we can conquer the world.

5 Essentials that Help in a Good Night’s Sleep

Develop a bedtime routine – having a pre-sleep routine to relax before bedtime, priming your mind and body to relax into a peaceful sleep. Relaxation techniques before bedtime help to improve sleep quality and can treat insomnia. Read a book before bedtime, do breathing exercises, take a bath or practice aromatherapy to relax and unwind. You could also try a relaxing massage; listen to relaxing music or practice meditation. Try to identify something that works for you.

Ensure your bedroom is comfortable – ensure your bedroom is well ventilated; the temperature is not too high or too cold. Too much noise and strong smells are also detrimental to sleeping comfortably.

Ensure your bed is comfortable – a good comfortable mattress is very important for a good night’s sleep; different people find different types of mattresses suitable for their sleeping style. Too hard a mattress could place more pressure on hips and shoulder joints, a soft mattress, on the other hand, is bad for the back as it allows the body to sag. Identify a mattress which offers you the best comfort and support.

Exercise regularly – regular exercise is immensely important for our physical and emotional well-being, regulating our hormones and eliminating toxin build up in our muscles. Exercise is ideal during daytime or late afternoon. Exercising close to bedtime can disturb the sleep pattern as it generates chemicals called endorphins which cause the brain to become more alert resulting in sleeping difficulty.

Give selflessly – generosity has been seen to have a positive effect on our mental and emotional well-being. Volunteering or giving to charity has been seen to produce the hormone oxytocin which helps people to feel valued and loved.  Giving could be in the form of volunteering our time, sharing our expertise, donating to charities. Many people donate regularly especially during times of festivities such as Zakat-ul-Fitr, Christmas, Mitsvah Day, Diwali and so forth. Feeling valued and loved has a comforting effect which helps us to relax into deep sleep at night.

5 Not-To-Dos that Help in a Good Night’s Sleep

Refrain from caffeinated drinks closer to bed-time – caffeine lingers in the body’s system for long periods of time, keeping the body in a state of heightened alert. Drinks such as tea, coffee and many carbonated drinks have large amounts of caffeine which can ultimately hamper sleep. Try to take a warm non-caffeinated herbal beverage at night, although be careful to check that the herbal beverage does not contain caffeine. Milk is a great sleep stimulant.

Refrain from late-night eating– eating late at night has a negative impact on sleep; it decreases the release of the melatonin hormone in the body. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycles in our body. People with low levels of melatonin have trouble sleeping.

Refrain from drinking alcohol late at night – alcohol is well known to negatively impact sleep, causing disturbed sleep patterns, sleep apnoea and snoring. Alcohol decreases the production of the human growth hormone (GHG) which regulates the sleeping pattern, causing the body to become wakeful. People may fall asleep drinking alcohol but will find they wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep.

Refrain from an irregular sleep routine – a regular sleep routine helps the body to function in a set pattern, increasing sleep quality. Waking up and sleeping at set times helps to regulate body hormones which determine sleep and wake cycles. Irregular sleep patterns alter the melatonin and human growth hormone patterns in the body producing poorer quality of sleep.

Refrain from blue-light exposure late at night – blue-light helps the brain to remain alert, allowing it to work optimally during day time. Blue light is harmful to the body at night as it tricks the brain into thinking it is still day-time which results in poor nighttime sleep. Electronic devices such as smartphones, TV and computers emit large quantities of blue light, therefore it is best to stop watching TV or working late at night using electronic devices at least two-three hours before bedtime in order to have a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is essential in the optimal functioning of our bodies. It is vital that we actively work in getting a good night’s sleep. Hopefully, by following the above tips you will be able to improve the quality of your sleep.

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