“If you are suddenly fraught with nightmares, drink a glass of juice before going to bed. You will sleep better that way”
We, on average, spend almost 25 years of our lives resting. To keep the body rejuvenated, every night our body repair’s itself to prepare for the next day. Thus, retiring for the night early is vital for our survival.
Plus, considering the amount of time dedicated to sleep alone, one can hardly argue the value of good night sleep.
How Sleep Deprivation Leads To Health Issues
Have you ever heard of a Sleep cycle?
There are four stages of sleep starting from light to REM stage ( where dreams occur), and then NREM stages of deep sleep.
It’s only in deep sleep that the body begins to repair cells and recharge itself.
When it’s interrupted during the night, it fails to reach the deep stage stopping your body from replenishing the energy. ( That’s why you feel refreshed after a good night sleep and sluggish after a restless night. )
if the disruption continues for a long time, the body would eventually weaken and lead to health issues.
How to Sleep Better
To get a peaceful sleep, once must take notice of the reasons for sleep disruption first.
There are several reasons why you can’t sleep better, but other than a chronic disorder, rest could be associated with your daily routine.
For instance, when out of the blue you start to suffer from nightmares and feel trouble sleeping, it could be a sign your body has a high salt level.
Once the cause of sleep deprivation is recognized, you can then easily counteract it.
In the case of the above example, a glass of juice before going to bed would stop the nightmares occurrence.
“If your snoring is jerking you awake during the night, change your position and sleep on your side instead of laying straight.”
Here, we have listed down 10 tips for you to have better tools in your arsenal for a better sleep.
1. Get As Much Sunlight As You Can Without Harming the Skin.
Our body has an internal clock that keeps track of the sunlight and dark to know when it’s time for sleep and when to wake up. ( Want to know more about Internal Clock? Check out “Cloaked Culprit.”)
So, when you are awake during the day exposing your body to sunlight, and later at night again with bedroom light turned on, it would confuse the body internal clock.
Assessing the artificial light, the internal clock would simply assume it is still daylight and stop the body from releasing melatonin—a sleep hormone—causing disruption to your rest.
To adjust your sleep cycle, expose your body to sunlight as much as you can—such as open all windows and doors to bring in the light—and turn off the bright light when you get ready to sleep.
Eventually, your body clock would adjust to the day’s routine and you will able to get better sleep at night.
2. Turn On The Blue Light Filter On Your Cellphone
Every color has its pros and cons but blue claims the most damage if exposed for long.
While our eyes are equipped with filtering the colors to avoid eye damage, blue is the only one that could still reach deep within the eyes, causing sleep deprivation.
According to the studies, Blue light, with the shortest wavelength, has more energy than the warm colors.
It can stimulate the brain to attention and is a great addition in the day time to boost productivity. However, its continued exposure in the night could lead to eye strain resulting in sleep deprivation.
To avoid it the simple solution should be to stop using a cellphone at night. Right?
Sadly, in this digital age, asking someone to go digital detox at night would be equivalent to pushing a heavy rock with a frail stick. Thus, to use phones at bedtime and still wanting to enjoy a good night sleep, turn on the blue filter option in your cellphone.
It would keep your eyes from straining, and probably help you sleep better when you retire for the night.
3. Try The Mind Relaxing Tricks To Sleep Fast
In my childhood, I saw an episode of Sesame Street where Ernie, in the whole scene, attempted to get some shut-eye by counting imaginary sheep.
At that time I assumed it to be a part of the entertainment. Turns out, it’s very much real and a great mental technique to sleep fast!
The repetitive rhythmic beat of the numbers coupled with full focus on counting sheep clears the mind from other random thoughts and allows you to relax, resulting in a deep slumber.
A pretty neat technique, right?
If it doesn’t help, there are other scientifically proven mind relaxing activities as well. Such as; listening to music, reading a book, or even stringing a hammock in your backyard and rocking yourself to sleep, according to researchers.
Guess babies aren’t the only ones who enjoy the perks of rocking them to sleep.
4. Create a Sleeping Environment
It is a well-known fact among the “work at home” employees that to boost the work productivity one must create a working environment first.
The same principle applies here. To get a night of better sleep you should create a sleeping environment.
Start with cooling down the room temperature.
The reason behind the idea is, when it goes dark the body’s temperature automatically drops to induce sleep—courtesy of the internal clock. Thus, it’s only logical to set the thermostat to cooling to create a desired environment.
An approx. 70% Fahrenheit works well generally, but you can adjust the scale according to your climate.
Secondly, keep your room clutter-free. A soothing visual would soothe the mind. And lastly, aromatic or perhaps soothing dim lights—such as salt lamps— would add a finishing touch.
5. Drink Milk Instead Of Having Late-Night Snacks
Late-night snacking is a double-edge sword a person can’t seem to avoid most of the time.
If you avoid eating when the midnight hunger strikes, you will keep turning and tossing all night. And if you do, the late-night snacking would also keep you from sleeping.
As you know the body internal clock works on day cycle, and eating at the odd time would initiate the metabolism confusing the internal clock from releasing sleep hormone.
To avoid the dilemma, drink a glass of milk before going to bed. It would settle your stomach and you will have a better sleep.
6. Avoid Caffeine Or Alcohol. Drink Chamomile Tea Instead
According to Newton’s third law of motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Apparently, so does the Alcohol.
Alcohol disrupts the REM stage making it nearly impossible to reach the deep sleep.
When you take alcohol in bedtime, you’ll feel euphoric and sleepy, but will end with a pounding head and a tired body in the morning
Caffeine, on the other hand, is specifically designed to keep your body active. According to studies, caffeine keeps your body alert for almost 6 hours leaving no doubt on its disadvantage when taken at the last hours.
Anything from Coffee to chocolate would keep you awake all night long. Thus, to avoid it, and still quench the habitual drinking, take chamomile tea instead.
7. Take Hot Shower One Hour Before Going To The Bed
Taking a hot shower one hour before going to bed would increase your chances of better sleep.
Have you ever noticed how some animals migrate to warmer climates when the winter approaches?
These animals are cold-blooded and not equipped to balance the internal thermostat as per the climate change. We, on the other hand, are warm-blooded given the advantage to adjust our core temperature constantly with climate change.
So, when you are taking a hot bath, your core temperature drops in a bid to balance the scale cooling your body in the process.
Since, to have a peaceful sleep, our body temperature needs to cool down; a hot bath one hour before going to bed would be a great idea to sleep better.
In addition, soaking your feet in the warm water would also have a similar effect.
PS: Do keep in mind the hour difference and not to shower too close to the bed timings. An immediate shower is known to cause the opposite effect.
8. Switch Your Exercise Routine From Night To Day Timing
People exercise to expect two types of results; weight loss and active body.
However, when you exercise at night, a third result is also known to happen.
Exercise not only warms the body but keeps the mind active and excited. The brain releases the adrenaline hormone to keep up with the cardio resulting in a high alert brain and strained muscles.
If you exercise late at night, it wouldn’t be surprising to see your mind taking its sweet time before relaxing enough to drift off.
Thus, changing your exercise routine to day time would easily solve your insomnia problem.
9. Let Your Pet Dozing Off on Your Bed
People mostly keep pets for companionship.
Pets—especially dogs—have a certain “happy” aura around them that provides them comfort and stress relief.
But that’s not all.
According to studies, People who let their pets sleep in their bed are shown to have a higher rate of peaceful night.
So, what better way to slumber than cuddle with your fluffy dog?
10. Change Your Mattress And Pillow
If you are struggling with sleep issues due to back pain, it’s time to change your mattress.
A Mattress can make or break you back. Couple it with an uncomfortable pillow and you have a double dose of back and neck pain on your hand. Who could sleep peacefully with an aching body?
Insomnia is one of the many reasons people suffer from physical and mental health issues. In the US alone, around 40% of the population over 60 takes a hypnotic medication just to sleep better.
The staggering figure is enough to highlight the crucial part sleep plays in our health. If we could recognize the causes of sleep deprivation and adjust our lifestyle accordingly, we can avoid the risk of health decline.
As the old proverb says;
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”