The following article was kindly written and contributed by Lewis Robinson.
Sleep is a vital part of life for everyone. The amount of sleep one needs varies from person to person, but sleep impacts everyone in common more than you might imagine.
Proper sleep helps to restore most of the body’s systems; it boosts brain power, too. Sleep deprivation can result in numerous mental and physical health problems ranging from depression to obesity to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It’s critical that you get enough sleep to power through each day and to maintain your overall health. For many people with busy family and work schedules, sleep is often put on the back burner. Then, when they do go to bed, insomnia begins. Getting the proper amount of sleep should be one of your main priorities. Follow these suggestions for improving your sleep by implementing a healthier lifestyle.
Know Your Ideal Amount of Sleep
Typically, the recommended amount of sleep for healthy adults is seven to nine hours per night. You may need more or less to function at your best; it mainly depends on your health and lifestyle. Your ideal amount of sleep is the amount with which you consistently feel productive and refreshed. If you expend a lot of energy — whether in physical or mental labor or sports — and your daily activities require you to be alert for safety reasons (e.g., operating heavy machinery or driving a truck), you may find that you need more sleep than the average person.
Regular exercise can help you fall asleep easier and sleep better. The workout must be done in the morning or afternoon (ideally late afternoon, according to research); if it’s in the evening it can keep you awake longer. A moderate to an intense workout regimen helps to ease stress and tires you more as bedtime approaches. Complete your workout at least three hours before your bedtime; your body temperature can take several hours to normalize after a workout. Since body temperature affects sleep, you need this cool-down period.
Practice Good Nutrition
Maintaining a healthy diet is critical for optimal sleep. Low-fat proteins like poultry, eggs, meat, fish and dairy are rich in Vitamin B, which has been found to help manage the levels of melatonin (one of the hormones that control sleep cycles). Fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains balance out a sleep-friendly diet. Adding vitamins and supplements to your diet, such as Gundry MD Metabolic Advanced, can further enhance your overall health, promoting better sleep. Leptin, a hormone that controls appetite, is decreased in people who are sleep deprived. As a result, they tend to eat more since there’s not enough leptin to tell them that they’re not really hungry. Eating right before bedtime can also cause heartburn, which can interfere with sleep.
Keep a Consistent Bedtime Routine
The precision of your body’s biological clock will be enhanced by keeping a consistent bedtime routine. You should go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on your days off. It’s tempting to sleep in as often as you can, but doing this can throw your body’s internal clock out of whack. You’ll thank yourself on workdays because a consistent sleep/wake schedule will make life easier overall. Encourage your family to keep the same routine. A quiet home at night and a routine for the household can enhance everyone’s life. Keeping a sleep diary will assist in showing you what may be influencing your sleep, both negatively and positively.
Let Your Body Cool Down
Cooler temperatures are naturally more conducive to sleep, so you should keep your bedroom cool at night. Opt for lighter, cooler sheets and blankets during warmer seasons. You can also find mattresses and pillows that are designed to stay cooler than most.
Take Time to Unwind
If you’re busy with work, a spouse and kids you may find it difficult to wind down before bedtime. Ideally, you can begin the process one or two hours before you need to go to sleep. Dimming the lights, making the room quiet, changing into your comfy sleep gear and maybe even practicing some meditation will help your sleep. Reading can also help you to unwind.
Ditch the Electronics
Avoid screen time (i.e., from cellphones, computers, tablets and televisions) for at least a half-hour before bedtime. Your body naturally releases melatonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles. However, the blue light from screens blocks this release, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep. If you must look at your phone during this time, put it on night mode, which will block the blue light. Also, avoid looking at social media, work-related materials and news sources, as they can stir up emotions, making it difficult to unwind.
Avoid Negative Thinking
If you’re having problems with your mind racing about the stresses of your life, taking some time in the evening to write in a journal may help. Doing so will put these negative thoughts on paper and get them off your mind, at least for the evening. It’s also helpful to write to-do lists or other things that are weighing you down so that you can let go of them until the next day.
Avoid Late-Day Caffeine
Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea or soda can stimulate your body for a while after drinking them. You should avoid consuming caffeine six hours or more before you plan on going to bed. All of these beverages have decaffeinated options from which you can choose, but water is best.
Avoid Evening Alcohol
It may seem counterintuitive to avoid alcohol close to bedtime. After all, alcohol is a depressant for the nervous system. Yes, it can make you sleepy, but you’ll probably have trouble staying asleep throughout the night since the depressant effect wears off a few hours later.
Have a Sleep-Inducing Snack
Some snacks that are proven to promote sleep are almonds, yogurt, cheese, turkey, and milk. All of these foods contain a large enough amount of naturally calming tryptophan to encourage sleep. Bananas are also natural sleep-promoters; they include a natural muscle relaxant, magnesium, as well as melatonin and serotonin, hormones that promote sleep. A good substitute for alcohol before bed is drinking about eight ounces of tart cherry juice. This juice raises the levels of melatonin in your system, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
One of the most important ways of taking care of your health is making sure you get enough sleep every night. The amount of sleep you get can affect every aspect of your life. Put these sleeping tips into action and look forward to feeling well-rested, more energized and happier.