Quality sleep is essential for good health because it provides a much-needed break to your body and brain. It boosts longevity and enhances the quality of life. Your vital organs slow down, and your skin rejuvenates naturally when you rest during the night. You feel more positive and relaxed, and the good vibes translate into better relationships and work-life balance. While everything about restful nights sounds so good, you may often find yourself tossing and turning in bed.
While sleep disorders are common, they do not stem from medical issues for most people. Your behaviors during the day can be the real culprits. From poor food choices to a sedentary schedule and a faulty bedtime, small things can pose problems. The best way to handle them is by achieving optimal sleep hygiene. Thankfully, you can do it naturally by embracing some simple habits. Here are the ones that can help.
Maintain a consistent schedule
Experts reinforce the value of a consistent sleep-wake cycle for maintaining a healthy habit. Ideally, you should reserve at least 7 to 8 hours for sleep every night because your body needs at least this duration to recharge. Try to hit the bed and wake up at the same time daily, even on weekends and during holidays. A conscious effort is worthwhile because it sets your internal clock and keeps it running regularly. Sticking to a consistent schedule keeps you fresh and energetic during the day.
Embrace bedtime rituals
Bedtime rituals go a long way in inducing slumber as they train your body and mind. You can experiment and pick your own rituals rather than follow a list that works for someone else. A warm bath before going to bed helps everyone, and you can double the benefits by adding a few drops of essential oil to your tub. It is a good idea to try herbal tea made with calming herbs like lavender or chamomile as they soothe your senses naturally. Some people profess the benefits of reading, listening to music, or talking to a partner as well. You can also meditate for a restful night ahead.
Set up your bedroom ambiance
Good sleep hygiene also depends on the ambiance of your bedroom. You cannot expect to rest well if the place is noisy and messy. Installing thick curtains helps to keep the street sounds and morning lights out. Also, make sure that the room is clean and comfortable, with optimal temperature depending on the weather. A fresh and clean bed is also essential, while your room should smell good. Aromatic candles can double up as they enhance the fragrance of the space and help you sleep better. It is equally vital to wear comfortable clothing that keeps you relaxed throughout the night.
Assess your dietary habits
Surprisingly, your sleep hygiene also depends on your dietary habits. Avoid eating heavy and spicy meals in the evening. Stick with lighter snacks and smaller portions instead. Timing is equally crucial as you need to give your body a couple of hours to digest the food before going to bed. Foods like fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, fatty fish, and milk induce deep sleep, so include them in your daily diet. You can also take herbal supplements for better sleep in addition to an apt diet. These make healthier alternatives to medications, and you need not worry about side effects in the long run. Apart from picking the right foods, you must ditch culprits like sugar, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and unhealthy fats.
Follow an active lifestyle
Resting too much during the day can be counterintuitive, and you may end up missing out on sleep at night. An active lifestyle does just the opposite as it improves the quality and duration of sleep. You need not run for hours on the treadmill or perform vigorous workouts to achieve the goal. Mild exercise like walking, swimming, and aerobics are good enough. Even better, try a holistic activity like yoga or tai-chi as they relax your muscles and soothe your senses. Avoid short naps during the day because they can impair your restful slumber at night.
Turn off electronic devices
The worst thing you can do is place your phone on your bedside table. Electronic devices emit the notorious blue light that reduces the melatonin levels in the body. This hormone controls your sleep/wake cycle, and a dip can result in insomnia. Apart from disrupting the hormonal balance, blue light can keep your brain alert. Moreover, you will always feel tempted to check a late-night notification or email when your phone is accessible. As a rule, you must place it out of reach or even turn it off at bedtime. The last thing you will want is to wake up in the middle of the night on getting a message notification and fail to sleep again.
Purge stress before going to bed
Phones, loud noises, and heavy foods are not the only reasons to lose your sleep. Stress may be a killer, and the worst part is that you seldom realize how much it hurts. Make sure that you purge all thoughts from your mind before going to bed. Prepare your to-do checklists earlier in the evening so that you feel calm and relaxed. If you have something to discuss with your partner, resolve the matter in time. Avoid sleeping after arguments and do not delay important decisions until the morning. Worrying may interfere with sleep and interrupt it as well. Deep breathing exercises can do wonders for purging stress at bedtime.
Optimal sleep hygiene is absolutely easy to achieve, provided you know your way well. You can seek advice from a therapist to realign your schedules and habits. A little effort enables you to steer clear of pills and medications for good and keeps you at your healthiest best. The final piece of advice is to sleep only when you feel ready. Activities like reading, talking to your partner, or reading stories to the little ones are ideal to get ready for bed.