Do you often feel stressed and can’t seem to relax? Perhaps you have trouble falling asleep or experience frequent awakenings? If so, your quality of sleep may be suffering. Sleep is essential for our wellbeing, as it helps the body restore, recharge, and relax. Getting enough restorative sleep is also crucial for maintaining a healthy mood, cognitive function, muscle strength, and sensitivity. While there are many factors that can impact our quality of sleep: stress, lighting, noise levels in your environment outside of your bedroom, mental factors such as anxiety or fear of the dark, or physical factors such as illness or medication. In addition to these external stimuli, we can also have internal reactions to stress that keep us awake at night by triggering the brain’s ‘flight-or-fight’ mechanism (the more stressed we feel the more active this system becomes). However if you are anything like me then you will know that keeping track of all these different factors can be a challenge at times!
Take a Daily Morning routine to improve your quality of sleep
Do you often find yourself wide awake in the mornings? Even though you just got out of bed? Getting the right amount of sleep is especially important during this time of day. Sleep is essential for our psychological, emotional, and cognitive health. Studies have found links between sleep problems and depression and anxiety. Abnormal sleep has been associated with obesity, diabetes, and other health issues. Poor sleep can also have short- and long-term consequences for our ability to learn and function at work, as well as in our personal and social lives. Improving your quality of sleep requires a few small changes that can have a big impact on your daily life. Make these additions to your routine and you will notice an improvement in your mood and ability to focus.
Set the right sleep environment
Your bedroom should be decorated in a way that makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. Keep all electronic devices out of your bedroom, as they can cause you to be more alert and less relaxed. Try using a blue light filter on your computer, phone, or television. This will help to reduce the blue light emitted, which can make you feel more sleepy. Having a consistent sleep routine in your bedroom can help you to stay relaxed. This can include dimming your lights, having the temperature set at a more relaxing temperature, and having an aroma that you associate with being asleep (such as incense). If you struggle with insomnia, you may also want to consider using an alarm clock that you associate with being awake, but not with a jarring sound.
Stop stimulants an hour before bedtime
If you are often struggling with insomnia then you may need to reduce or eliminate your caffeine intake. Reducing or eliminating caffeine before bedtime is especially important if you are also consuming alcohol, as both will increase your chances of experiencing insomnia.
Exercise regularly to promote healthy sleep habits
Regular exercise can make you feel more relaxed and help you to fall asleep faster. It also helps to keep you well rested throughout the daytime, making you feel more refreshed and alert. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers in the brain. Regular exercise also helps to regulate your metabolism and improve sleep patterns by increasing serotonin, melatonin, and cortisol levels in your body.
Don’t watch TV in the bedroom
Watching television in the bedroom can disrupt your sleep by causing you to be too alert and wakeful. Instead, use your bedroom for relaxing activities such as reading, sleeping, or spending time with your partner.
Sleep is something that we all need, both for our own health, as well as for the health of our loved ones. Unfortunately, many people experience insomnia or struggle with getting the right amount of restful shut-eye every night. Fortunately, there are many small changes that you can make to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure to avoid caffeine in the evening, create a relaxing sleep environment, avoid loud noises, exercise regularly, and don’t watch television in the bedroom.