At one point or another, most of us will experience difficulties falling asleep and/or staying asleep. The good news is, is that although you can’t add more hours into the day, you can create healthy habits and make good decisions to improve the quality of your sleep.
Here are 5 easy ways you can catch some better zzz’s.
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1. Ban blue light
We’ve all heard it before — Don’t watch TV and play on your phone before bedtime, it’ll keep you up. But beyond the distractions that they are, they also affect your circadian rhythm. This is because many electronic devices emit a blue light, which in turn, tricks your brain into believing it’s still daytime. When your body is exposed to this type of light, it begins to warm up and produce hormones, like cortisol, to get you ready for the day.
If you’re absolutely adamant about being on your phone at nighttime, toggle to the night shift setting to block out the blue.
2. Bring out the fan
Sleeping with a fan on has a couple of benefits. Firstly, sleeping in cooler temperatures helps us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. This is because a chilly room helps encourage our body’s core temperature to drop quicker, which in turn, allows our bodies to go into REM sleep much more efficiently.
Secondly, the gentle whir of a fan is very soothing. The white noise helps to block out other noises that would normally disrupt our sleep, such as sirens and barking dogs, which is especially helpful if you live in a busier neighbourhood.
3. Work out in the morning or early afternoon
While following through with a regular workout routine helps with having a better night’s rest, working out in the evening or too close to bedtime raises your body temperature and leaves you feeling energized, rather than sleepy. Instead, shift your workouts to the morning or daytime for a better quality sleep.
If you’re not able to exercise in the morning or early afternoon and can only schedule your workout for later times, make sure to properly stretch and cool down after your session, so you can relax your muscles and help prepare your body for a better sleep.
4. Set the ambience
In order to have a peaceful sleep, it’s important to create a peaceful environment. After all, a third of our lives is spent sleeping in our bedroom; we might as well make the most out of it.
You can Feng shui your bedroom, repaint the walls to a soothing colour, invest in an aromatherapy diffuser (and use calming essential oils such as lavender), have a pillow spray handy on your nightstand, invest in a quality air purifier to remove any pollutants or allergens in the air — Anything that can turn your room into a place of serenity is a good idea. Maximize your sleeping environment as much as you can for a healthy dose of zzz’s.
Set aside 1 hour before bed every night to allow yourself to completely relax. This will help your brain to quiet and get your body to begin powering down for the nighttime.
This can be done with a warm bath complete with bath fizzies, stretching and meditation, reading a good book with a cup of hot chamomile tea, or writing in a gratitude journal — All that’s important is that you give yourself the opportunity and time to take the edge off and help your body prepare itself for a peaceful night of sleep.