We live in a fast-paced world. When we’re constantly swamped with deadlines, stressors, and distractions, life can start to become quite overwhelming. In this intense routine, it is a no-brainer that managing our sleep schedule is crucial, especially if we want to maintain good physical and mental health while fulfilling our duties.
However, getting a good night’s sleep is not easy for everyone. Those who work night shifts or struggle to manage their time working from home can have difficulty creating a regular bedtime routine. If you find yourself in a similar boat, don’t worry. Here are simple tips to help you establish a routine for sleeping better at night.
Refrain from caffeine and alcohol
While it’s easy to consume coffee when working late, too much coffee can mess with your sleep time. The cafés that dot just about every corner of the city don’t help much either. However, while a caffeine shot can keep you energized throughout most of the day, it can seriously interfere with your sleep. By decreasing caffeine consumption three to five hours before sleep, you can help your body relax and shut down properly.
Similarly, many people are quick to turn to alcohol when they can’t sleep. While alcohol can induce drowsiness (one of the reasons why people enjoy it before bedtime), unfortunately, excessive alcohol can interfere with your sleep quality. Additionally, it may become addictive, causing sleep disorders and stifling one’s life.
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, don’t shy away from seeking professional help. Facilities like Delphi Group offer several inpatient and outpatient services that can help you get back on track. Many patients have achieved healthy and happy lifestyles with professional assistance after overcoming addictions.
Maintain a strict sleeping schedule
There is an internal clock in our bodies called the circadian rhythm that tells us when to get up in the morning and when to go to sleep at night. This system has a propensity for going awry for a number of reasons. One of the best ways to ensure that your rhythm stays in check.is to set a proper bedtime and wake-up time for yourself. Trying different settings can help you determine which settings work best for you.
Our brains have a will of their own; therefore, getting it to follow a pattern shaped by our habits is crucial. When no routine or healthy habits are established, the brain does whatever it wants. But if you follow a set sleep schedule, your brain recognizes the right time to sleep.
Don’t overdo your screen-time
It’s no secret that screen use is rising, and it will only get worse. Almost every electronic device emits blue light, including smartphones, computers, and televisions. If we are exposed to blue light constantly, it can disrupt our sleep patterns and ruin our quality of sleep.
This high-intensity light can stimulate your brain and keep you awake for long hours. As you remain active, you may find yourself restless and unable to sleep well. Even though blue light won’t affect your ability to fall asleep quickly, it can negatively impact your sleep quality.
Exercise at the right time
Exercise has numerous health benefits, including improved sleep. Some people don’t have the time for gym workouts every day, so exercising at home is an equally good alternative. The quality of your sleep can be drastically improved by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day.
However, make sure you do not exercise right before bedtime. Exercise causes your body to produce epinephrine (adrenaline). The hormone epinephrine accelerates heart rate and increases alertness, which can interfere with sleep. Try not to exercise within two hours before bedtime, as it will allow your body sufficient time to rid itself of excess epinephrine.
Practice meditative movements
Meditative movements integrate gentle physical movements with focused breathing and give you a sense of mindfulness. Meditation, tai chi, yoga, and qigong are all forms of meditative movement. Additionally, you can perform them in any location without special equipment.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. You can find quietness of mind by focusing on your breathing, usually sitting upright in a stationary position. The practice of meditation is beneficial not only for bedtime but also for mornings.
Similarly, research has shown that yoga has many health benefits. It reduces stress, improves mental well-being, and reduces discomfort in the body. Besides promoting healthy exercise habits, yoga can help manage sleep issues too.
While there have been comparatively fewer studies on both tai chi and qigong, they have proven to enhance emotional well-being. This means managing your depressive symptoms and anxiety. When anxiety is under control, sleep can also be improved for its practitioners.
You can perform these meditative movements at any time. Ideally, practicing them at night is not very beneficial, but breathing and mindfulness techniques are useful at night if you’re stressed or anxious.
Make Use of Your Bed Correctly
As mentioned earlier, the brain has a mind of its own. Through routines and habits, we can train our brain to understand the timing of sleep — and even where to sleep.
So, don’t use your bed as a place to relax by watching TV, surfing the web, etc., because these activities will teach our brains to perceive the bed as a place where we should spend our time awake. In other words, you should only use your bed for sleeping.
Bathing or showering before bed
It’s always refreshing to take a warm shower after a hard day’s work. In a moment, you will feel your shoulders drop, and your neck will loosen as the warm water washes over you. In addition to clearing our minds and helping us relax, this soothing warmth can also help us to fall asleep.
Bathing or showering with hot water can help your body regulate its sleep temperature. While sleeping, your body’s internal temperature decreases while the temperature outside increases – a hot shower will jump-start this process by increasing your internal temperature. Aside from being scientifically credible, taking a shower can signal your brain that it is time to go to sleep.
Avoid napping during the day
Taking a long nap during the day can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. The time that you can take a nap should not exceed one hour, and you should avoid taking naps in the late afternoon.
However, those who work night shifts may require to take a nap late in the day before working to make up for the sleep they missed.
Our well-being depends heavily on sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to lethargy, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
With today’s work-oriented culture, it is easy to neglect sleep and take our mental and physical health for granted. Take some time for yourself before you go to sleep, practice self-care, and prioritize sleepover your work schedule.
You can train your body and mind to improve your sleep quality by establishing your sleeping patterns. So, prepare yourself by setting the alarm, following a sleeping schedule, and enjoying a peaceful night’s sleep.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.