Tips To Improve Your Sleep Cycle

It is a known fact that a good night’s sleep is vital for our physical and mental well-being. Fall short of it and it can take a toll on almost all aspects of your health. It affects your energy, mood, hormones and overall productivity. In today’s stressful atmosphere, many people suffer from inconsistent sleep. Various reasons like late night work hours, inconsistent sleep patterns, unhealthy lifestyle habits, etc can disrupt your sleep cycle. Here are some simple tips to follow to improve your sleep cycle

  • Stick to a schedule:  Firstly, make sure you get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. A person does not need more than that on a daily basis. Avoid long daytime naps. If you need a power nap, limit it to 15-20 minutes. Make sure to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Do not oversleep on a weekend. A difference of an hour or two is okay. Anything more than that will disturb your schedule. 
  • Be careful of what you eat and drink: What we eat and drink plays a major role in affecting our sleep. Neither should you go to bed hungry at night nor should you have a heavy dinner. Either one of those is likely to cause you discomfort and wake you up in the middle of the night. Also, do not go to bed immediately after a meal which means you should finish your dinner at least 2 -3 hours before bedtime. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are an absolute no-no before bedtime. They tend to wreak havoc on a person’s sleep. Switching to a healthy diet that contains more fruits and vegetables and limited consumption of carbs, sugar and meat not only helps with your weight but also ensures sound sleep.
  • Include physical activity during the day: It is obvious that a person who is physically spent during the day is likely to fall asleep easier at night. However, nowadays our lifestyles are more sedentary and therefore we need to make a conscious effort to include some sort of physical activity during the day. When you exercise regularly, you feel less sleepy during the day and sleep better at night. If you choose to exercise in the evenings, make sure to finish at least 3-4 hours before you sleep.
  • Control your exposure to light: Your body produces a hormone called melatonin that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Melatonin is controlled by light exposure which means when it is dark; your brain will secrete more melatonin and make you sleepy. Therefore, it is advisable to expose yourself to natural sunlight during the day. This keeps you awake during the day and regulates your circadian rhythm (your body’s alarm). Similarly, at night avoid watching TV or using your tablets/mobiles right before bed. The light exposure will interfere with your sleep. Read a book or listen to music instead.
  • Create a restful bedroom environment: Ensure that your bedroom has the perfect environment to induce sleep at night. That means it should be cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. Make sure to invest in a high quality mattress and pillow to support any aches. Draw the curtains shut before bed and set the temperature that is suitable for you. Eliminate any sources of noise that could disturb you at night. You can also take a hot shower or meditate to relax your body right before you go to bed.

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