Step/Strategies for Better Sleep
We all have that undying love for sleep that doesn’t let us leave the bed in the morning. Getting disturbed during sleep can turn even the calmest person into a beast and can change them into an intolerable person in the morning. A good night’s sleep is necessary for every one of us to function optimally throughout the following day. But there are things that keep us away from having sound and undisrupted sleep.
We have all had those nights when we are up suddenly and the clocks strikes 4am and we can’t fall back to sleep. Think about all those factors that could have been the reason for the disruption in your sleep. It could be the pressure from family responsibilities or from work; or sudden twists in life like illness, relationship issues, etc. All the stress and tension that accumulates in our body hinders us from having a sound sleep.
Although you might not have control over some factors in your life that affect your sleep, but what you can do is to adopt some habits that outweigh them and support better sleep. Here are some good habits that you should try to develop in order to get a good night’s sleep, every night!
1. Schedule your Sleep-Wake Cycle
Set a time for hitting the sack every night. Choose a time when your eyes feel heavy and you will fall asleep as soon as you put your head down on the pillow. Plan your sleeping time in such a way that you get a full 8 hours sleep when you wake up for college or office in the morning. This is the most common and effective tip for getting enough sleep.
If you are out partying till late or working extra hours in the office and are unable to get the full 8-hours sleep, then manage the lack of it with a catnap, instead of piling it up for the next night. Though napping is a great way to recharge your body, but you have to be smart about it too. Don’t nap just a few hours from your bedtime; that will ruin your night’s sleep as well.
2. Eating and Drinking Habits
It is important that you keep a check on what you put into your body during daytime and when you are close to your sleeping time. Try to finish your dinner 3 hours before bedtime and avoid having any heavy meals that are hard for the body to digest. Also, do not eat spicy or acidic foods as they can cause heartburns and will trouble your stomach later in the night.
Most people think that tossing down alcohol just before going to bed helps them fall asleep, well it does; but the effects are just momentary and the long-term side effects can even cause serious insomnia. Avoid alcohol before sleeping and cut down the supply of caffeine, as it drives away sleep and tends to keep you awake.
There are certain foods that contain tryptophan, a substance that promotes production of serotonin neurotransmitter, which induces sleep. These foods are oatmeal, dark chocolate, whole-grain bread, almonds and various others. Try developing a habit of munching on these foods, an hour or so, before going to bed.
3. Steer Clear from Taking Stress with You in Bed
Daily stress and worries, either from work or from home, can make it difficult to enjoy a sound and undisrupted sleep. These factors may also wake you up in the middle of the night and may make it difficult for you to go back to sleep again. Of course, keeping stress and worries out of your mind is not child’s play, especially when you are alone in your room and thoughts are continuously racing through your mind.
Here is what you can do. Below are some techniques that can help you calm your mind, and drive away stress before bedtime:
- Go to your happy place, of course, in your imagination. Close your eyes and visualize yourself in a place or activity that calms your mind and makes you happy. Concentrate on it for a while and then see how worry-free you are.
- Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, and gradually, make each breath deeper than the previous one.
- Starting from the toes, tense all your muscles as firmly as you can and then let them loose completely. Do this to all your muscles, from head to toe and see the magic!
4. Keep those Electronic Devices Aside
One of the most engaging things that keep people from going to sleep are electronic devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. The brightness of the big screens directly falling on your eyes contributes in driving your sleep away. These devices have so much to entertain you; like texting, access to social media networks, never-ending games etc. that you will definitely lose track of time, and before you know, it will be way past your bedtime. So try to avoid taking any electronic devices with you to bed.