Sleeping is one of the most essential biological needs we have as humans. It is as vital to our health as food and nutrition. In fact, our bodies can survive without food for a more extended period than we can go without sleep. That is because our bodies need a regular period of rest when it can recover the energy that was spent the day before and prepare for the day to come.
As we fall asleep, our bodies work on healing damaged cells, recover from fatigue, boost our immune system, and prepare the cardiovascular system for the coming day.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Before we look into how we can adjust our sleeping habits better, it is only relevant that we learn about how our sleeping habits determine our health and lifestyle. Here are just some of the ways in which our sleeping patterns affect us.
• Healthy sleeping habits improve our brain’s functions. It enhances our memory, productivity, concentration, and general cognitive functions. The lack of sleep, on the other hand, will cause all of these abilities to function less efficiently.
• Sleep regulates our weight and appetite. Irregular sleeping habits amount to improper eating habits too. The amount of sleep we get is directly related to the weight we gain or lose.
• Sleep deprivation can lead to physical disorders such as diabetes, the risk of stroke, irregular blood pressure, heart problems, and inflammatory diseases.
• Apart from physical illnesses, lack of sleep can also bring mental disorders that include anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc. Patients with existing mental issues will find their symptoms increasing and getting worse if they do not get regular sleep.
• It boosts and restores our immune system. Minor illnesses such as the common cold can even be cured with a good night’s rest.
• Proper sleeping habits improve our physical development and metabolism too. Sleep can repair tissues, stimulate growth, and keeps the blood vessels healthy. This is the reason why proper rest is such an essential part of an athlete’s physical regimen.
6 Ways To Sleep Better At Night
Research suggests that by the time someone is 80 years old, he will have spent around 25 of those years sleeping. That’s right! That is how integral sleep is to our lives. Given how much time of our lives is dedicated to just sleeping, it only makes sense that we learn how to do it well. So, here are the best ways you can get better sleep at night.
1. Improve Your Bedroom Environment
Get yourself a comfortable pillow and mattress. Whether you like soft ones or prefer lying on firmer mattresses, invest in a proper bed set that will help you lie down more comfortably. Make sure your bedroom is clean, dark, and relaxing. Change your sheets and bed linen regularly to ensure that your sleeping area is hygienic and fragrant.
Overused bed linen can create unpleasant odors and prevent you from getting the required sleep. A clean and relaxing bedroom environment can calm your senses, release anxiety, and prepare you for a good night’s rest.
2. Avoid Eating Late At Night
Having late dinners or sneaking out a midnight snack can put a hamper in your sleeping patterns. The food we eat takes time to digest. If you go to bed shortly after a meal or food, it will lead to indigestion. This will not only disrupt your sleeping habits but disturb your metabolism, appetite and cause unhealthy weight gain.
You should have your meals no less than 2 or 3 hours before you go to bed. If you get really hungry, try to keep the food intake to a minimum so that you don’t aggravate your digestion process. Go for a light and a healthy snack if you have to eat.
3. Avoid Alcohol Before Bedtime
The best thing to do here is to stay away from alcohol if your bedtime is approaching. But if you do have to consume, keep it light and moderate. Alcohol can cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea which can lead to breathing problems, excessive snoring, respiratory issues, and general breathing problems.
Any or all of these symptoms can happen when you are still asleep, which makes alcohol a dangerous ingredient to sleeping habits. Additionally, alcohol-induced sleep will make you tired and groggy the next day, which will only sustain your unhealthy sleeping pattern.
4. Avoid Excessive Day-Time Naps
If you are having a long day or possibly did not get enough sleep the previous night, the desire to sleep during the day can be overwhelming. While it is okay to catch a snooze or rest for a few minutes, it is not healthy to take long naps during the day. Your body’s metabolism also works at a certain pace and schedule. Sleeping for too long during the day will disturb this cycle and create insomnia or short sleeping hours at night.
5. Avoid Stimulants
Try to stay away from stimulants before your bedtime. This includes caffeinated products and nicotine or tobaccos products. Coffee or cigarettes can stimulate your senses and keep you up for longer than usual. The effects of these items can go on for hours which will keep drowsiness away. So, if sound sleep is what you are looking for, avoid consuming these items before bed.
6. Take A Hot Shower/Bath
A warm, relaxing shower is an excellent way to prepare your body for rest. It will improve your blood circulation, calm your skin, lower your body temperature, and relax your senses. Try to practice it as a regular habit so that your body can also be conditioned into preparing itself or rest after your nightly bath or shower.
As you follow these steps and try to develop healthier sleeping habits, remember to stay away from your phone or tablet at night. An occasional reading or browsing is excellent, but do not make it a habit of staying up late fiddling with your phone. Today, it is one of the highest causes of insomnia and irregular sleeping habits.
Sleep is such a vital part of our health and wellbeing that we can no longer ignore its importance in leading a full life. Cut down on unnecessary night-time habits, do all you can to provide yourself with a healthy bedtime atmosphere, and you will find yourself waking up relaxed, well rested, and looking forward to a new day!