Today is World Sleep Day, a day created to raise awareness of the importance of sleep. We put together a list with tips and tricks that can help you develop better sleep habits and improve your sleep quality.
1. Block out light
We all have a clock known as the circadian rhythm built in. It tell us that when it’s light we should be awake, and when it’s dark we should be heading off to bed. Int he evening when it’s dark, your brain triggers the release of melatonin; a hormone that naturally makes you feel sleepy. In ordet to keep your melatonin levels in check and help your body protect its natural circadian rhythm, try and avoid bright light an hour before bed. A couple of easy changes you can make to block out light int he evening and improve sleep quality is turning off ceiling lights, avoiding TV in bed, and setting your handheld devices to nighttime mode is you use them after dark.
Kids usually love hearing bedtime stories before bedtime, but as we grow up we tend to drop the habit of reading ourselves to sleep. According to Lifehack, six things happen when you read before bed and improving your sleep is listed as number one. In addition to sprucing imagination, entering the world of fiction before falling asleep can also help you clear your mind, get more restful sleep, and improve sleep quality.
3. Avoid afternoon naps
Naps during the day can sometimes be counterproductive as they risk disrupt your nighttime sleep schedule, especially if you nap during the afternoon and find yourself having trouble falling asleep when it’s time for bed. If you absolutely need a nap during the day, use a nap tracker like Sleep Cycle power nap to make sure you do not oversleep. 20 minutes is the perfect power nap, where you do not enter deep sleep but wake up while you are still in light sleep.
4. Stick to a sleep schedule
People experiencing trouble sleeping are often advised to keep a sleep schedule that directs them to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If setting both a bedtime and a wake up time feels a bit restrictive, a good first step can be to start off with a set wakeup time and by doing so make sure you get up around the same time every morning, no matter if it’s a weekend or a weekday. Doing so can also help you gradually move to an earlier bedtime, and ensure you get the amount of sleep hours your body needs.
5. Exercise daily
Exercise works wonders if you’re trying to improve sleep quality, it can both help you fall asleep easier and improve your sleep quality. According to a study done by the National Sleep Foundation, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week can help you fall asleep easier and improve sleep quality. Just make sure you do not exercise too late in the day as this can be counterproductive if you do not have enough time after to wind down before going to bed.
6. Monitor your bedroom temperature
The National Sleep Foundation states that according to experts, a temperature around 65 degrees (about 18 C) provide the best sleep condition. Your body temperature rises and falls slightly during the course of a day; this pattern is linked to your sleep cycle. When you’re tired your temperature drops, and climbs again in the morning when it’s time to get up. Therefore, the air in your sleep environment can affect your sleep quality. If it’s too hot, it may interfere with your natural body temperature and result in restless sleep. Experiment to find the perfect temperature for you, the perfect one will have you sleeping comfortably without feeling hot or cold. The National Sleep Foundation gives great tips on how to cool your bedroom down during summer here.
7. Avoid alcohol and heavy meals in the evening
Eating big meals or drinking alcohol can cause indigestion, which in turn can cause trouble falling asleep, and disrupt your sleep cycle. Try and plan you meals in relation to your bedtime, and eat a couple of hours before bed if you can. Keep meals light in the evening and limit your alcohol intake, to improve sleep quality.