17 Ways to Have a Good Night's Rest
In addition to regular exercise and a healthy diet, good sleep is a panacea to stress. From research, inadequate night rest has an adverse effect on the brain, hormones, and exercise ability.That's not all. Insufficient sleep causes weight gain and increases the chances adults and children have to fall sick.
Alternatively, a good night rest will make you eat less, exercise better, and be in good health.The past few years have seen a decline in the quality and amount of sleep people have; a lot of persons don't sleep well. In this fast-paced world of ours where 24 hours doesn't seem to be enough, one could think of it as a culprit in not getting sufficient sleep.
Should you want improved health and to lose some pounds, good sleep is an important step to take.
With these 17 tried and tested tips, you can have a better night rest.
So, here we go:
Get exposed to more bright light during the day
There is a circadian rhythm your body possesses. It's a natural time-keeping clock that affects your brain, hormones, and body. This rhythm regulates your wake time and bedtime.To keep your circadian rhythm healthy, your body needs to be exposed to natural sunlight or bright light. This exposure enhances energy during the day and the quality and quantity of sleep at night.
People having insomnia were found to have an 83% reduction in sleeping time via daytime exposure to light. They were able to sleep better and for more hours.
Another research in elders revealed that a 2-hour exposure to bright light during the day, increased sleep time by 2 hours and quality by 80%.Many of these research are conducted on people having serious sleep problems. But it can also help those who have average sleeping difficulties.
So, get daily sunlight exposure. However, if that's not possible, try installing bright light device or bulbs in your space.
Lower your exposure to blue light in the evening
While daytime light exposure is good, exposure to light at night has a no-good effect. How? When your body is under light in the night, it will affect your circadian rhythm by making your brain think it's still daytime. Consequently, the hormone melatonin, which induces relaxation and good sleep, will be lowered.
Our phones and computers emit a lot of blue light. And in this regard, it is not good for sleep.
But there are several common ways to lower exposure to blue light at night. These include:
- Wearing glasses that block blue light
- Installing an app that doesn't allow blue light filter in on your phone. These apps are available for iPhones and Android phones
- Installing an app like f.lux to block blue light on your computer or laptop
- Turn off your TV or any bright light in your room 2 hours before bedtime
Practice sleeping and waking at consistent times
Sunrise and sunset are followed by your body's circadian rhythm; that's the way it aligns itself.When you have a consistent sleeping and waking time, it can improve the quality of your sleep.A study conducted on people who suffered poor sleeping patterns and went to bed late during weekends showed that they experienced poor sleep.
Other researches have proved that abnormal sleeping patterns can change your circadian rhythm and melatonin levels, which triggers your brain to sleep.Should you be experiencing difficulty sleeping, practice sleeping and waking up at similar times. Over a period of time, you may not need an alarm as your body will get used to it.
On the other hand, you can go for a full health check by private healthcare provider to diagnose and get a solution to your sleep issues.
Avoid drinking caffeinated substances late in the day
From improving focus, energy, and sports performance, caffeine has a lot of benefits.Taking caffeine late in the day can stimulate your nervous system and prevent you from having a good night rest.
A study showed that taking caffeine about 6 hours before sleep makes bedtime rest very difficult to achieve. Do you know that caffeine can stay active in your blood for 6 to 8 hours? So, it is advised that you stop taking so much coffee when it's past 3 to 4pm, particularly if you are sensitive to caffeine or experience sleeping difficulty.
But if you really need to take a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, you can drink decaffeinated coffee.
Don't nap for long hours or unnecessarily during the day
Short power naps can do the body good. But long and irregular daytime naps do not encourage good night rest.When you sleep during the day, your circadian rhythm gets confused, which means having a problem sleeping at night.One research found people who took daytime naps feeling more sleepy during the day.
Another research discovered that napping for 30 minutes or less during the day can boost brain function, while longer hours of nap can disturb health and quality of sleep.Interestingly, one study reveals that regular daytime nappers don't have problems sleeping at night.
Should you nap during the day and sleep well at night, that's a good thing. Generally, the effect of napping is relative (depends on the individual).
A melatonin supplement will help
Melatonin is an important sleep hormone that triggers your brain to relax and sleep when it's time. These supplements are widely known as a sleeping aid. Insomnia is often treated with melatonin, and it's a fast and easy way to fall asleep.
Research shows that 2mg of melatonin taken before bedtime boosts sleep quality and energises the body the next day. It helps people sleep more quickly.Another research showed that half of the participants fell asleep faster, and sleep quality was raised by 15%.
Again, no withdrawal effects were noticed in the two studies above.Melatonin also finds use when travelling and adjusting to a new time zone since it normalises your body's circadian rhythm.
You can get melatonin freely in some countries as they're sold online or in stores. But in other countries, you need a prescription before getting melatonin. 1 to 5mg can be taken an hour or half before sleeping.Begin with a low dose to check your tolerance level, and increase it gradually if necessary. Kindly consult your doctor or healthcare provider before using melatonin as it changes brain chemistry.
Also, speak with your doctor if you're considering giving your child melatonin to improve their sleep. This is because child use of melatonin hasn't been properly investigated.
Try other supplements
A number of other supplements can help you relax and sleep, and they include:
- Gingko Biloba. This natural herb has a lot of benefits, including helping you sleep, relax, and lowering stress. However, the evidence is limited. Take 250mg one hour or half before you sleep.
- Just a small number of studies show that taking 3 grams of glycine can boost the quality of sleep
- Valerian root. Different studies believe that valerian can induce sleep and improve sleep quality. Take 500mg before you go to bed.
- More than 600 reactions within your body are triggered by magnesium. It can help you relax and enhance the quality of your sleep.
- L-theanine. This amino acid, L-theanine, can improve your relaxation and sleep. Take 100–200 mg before you sleep at night.
- This powerful herb has a lot of health benefits. Lavender can release a calming and sedentary effect to enhance sleep. Take 80–160 mg containing 25–46% linalool
Do well to only try these supplements one per time. They are not an instant fix for sleep problems, but when combined with other natural sleeping techniques, they can be of help.
Avoid drinking alcohol
A few bottles of drinks at night can adversely impact your hormones and sleep.Symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and irregular sleep patterns are caused or increased by alcohol.
Melatonin production at night, which is important for regulating your body's circadian rhythm is altered by alcohol intake.Another research showed that consuming alcohol at night lowers the natural nighttime increase in human growth hormone (HGH), which is relevant in your circadian rhythm and has several other important roles.
Improve your sleeping environment
For a lot of persons, the way the bedroom is laid and the makeup plays a vital role in determining how much sleep will be obtainable.Some of these bedroom factors are noise, external lighting, temperature, and furniture arrangements.
A lot of studies reveal that external noise sometimes caused by traffic, can disturb sleep and cause serious health problems. This is notable in the case of people who live near major roads. One research conducted on the bedroom environment of women showed that about 50% of participants had better night rest in the absence of noise and light.
Want to improve your bedroom environment? Ensure you reduce external noise, lighting, and artificial lights from items like alarm clocks. Try making your bedroom a serene, comfortable, clean, and cosy place.
Set the temperature of your bedroom
Sleep quality can be significantly affected by your body and bedroom temperature.For instance, you may have noticed that during the summer or in hot locations, it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep when the temperature is too warm.
A research discovered that when compared to external noise, bedroom temperature impacted sleep quality more.Other research showed that you could have a poor sleep and stay awake for most hours of the night due to increased body and bedroom temperature.About 70°F (20°C) seems to be a comfortable temperature for a lot of persons, however, it depends on your lifestyle and choices.
Eating late in the evening is not ideal
When you eat late at night, it may adversely impact your sleep quality and the natural release of melatonin and HGH.Be that as it may, the quality and type of your late-night snack should be considered.
Research shows that a meal rich in high carbs, and eaten 4 hours before bedtime induce sleep faster.Another study showed that a low carb meal also triggered sleep faster. This means that carbs are not always necessary, particularly if you take to low carb meals.
Keep your mind free from worry and relax in the evening
Most individuals have a technique that makes them comfortable and ready to sleep at night.Pre-sleep routines, including relaxation strategies at night, have proven to optimise sleep quality. In fact, they are another common technique used to treat insomnia.
Research on sleep quality for sick people showed that a relaxing massage sent them dozing in no time.
There are strategies you can adopt including:
- Taking a hot shower
- Listening to cool music
- Reading a book
- Deep breathing
You can try out different methods to see which one best suits you.
Try a relaxing shower or bath
One common method of having a good sleep is through a relaxing bath or shower. Research has shown that they can accelerate general sleep quality and help older adults, in particular, to sleep more quickly.Another study reports that having a hot shower 90 minutes before going to bed increases sleep quality and helped people sleep soundly.
On the other hand, should you not feel like taking a full bath at night, you can place your feet in hot water. It also works to help you relax and sleep comfortably.
Identify the cause of the sleeping problem
You may have an already existing health issue that prevents you from having a good night's sleep.A common problem is sleep apnea. This brings about irregular and interrupted breathing. People having this disorder stop breathing at intervals during sleep.
But this condition may be more prevalent than expected. A review claimed that 24% of men and 9% of women suffer sleep apnea.Some other common medically diagnosed problems include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are mostly found in shift workers.
Should you be struggling with sleep all the time, the time is right for you to speak with your healthcare provider or doctor.
Buy a comfortable bed, pillow, and mattress
Most times, people seem to sleep better in hotels, and they wonder why.Aside a serene and comfortable environment, the quality of your bed can affect how you sleep.
A research done on a new mattress for 28 days showed the benefits: shoulder pain reduced by 60%, back stiffness reduced by 59%, back pain reduced by 57%, while sleep quality went up by 60%.Other research revealed that new bedding improves sleep. In contrast, poor bedding can cause more pain in the lower back.So, what kind of bedding is the best? The answer is highly subjective. Should you want to upgrade your bedding, do so according to your preference.
It is recommended that you change your bedding at least every 5 to 8 years.If you are using the same old bedding for years, you can quickly upgrade it, though it may be quite pricey.
Perform regular exercises, but not before bedtime
One of the scientifically-proven ways to improve sleep and health is via exercise.This therapy has improved all aspects of sleep. What's more? Symptoms of insomnia have been lowered by exercise.
A research on older adults showed that exercise almost reduced the amount of time it took to sleep by half, plus it provided 41 extra minutes of sleep time.Chronic insomnia patients benefit more from exercise than what most drugs offer.Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, anxiety by 15%, total night wakefulness by 30%, while pushing up total sleep time by 18%.
It is good to exercise regularly during the day to enhance sleep, but doing it at a very late time of the day may not be good for sleep. Why?The body is stimulated by exercise. It increases alertness and hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine.Interestingly, some research reveals no negative effect, so it depends on the person performing the exercise.
Avoid taking any liquid before sleeping
Excessive urination (nocturia) during the night affects your sleep and energy the next day.Consuming plenty of liquid before retiring to bed can cause similar symptoms. However, some persons are more sensitive than others.
It is great to stay hydrated since it has health benefits, but it's better to take less amount of liquids in the latter part of the day.Don't take any liquid 1 to 2 hours before you sleep. In addition, use the bathroom before sleeping. This may limit the number of times you wake up to pee at night.
Your health is greatly impacted by the quality and quantity of sleep you get. A great review associated poor sleep to an increased risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults.Another series of studies suggest that when you sleep for less than 7 to 8 hours every night, it increases your chances of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Should you be interested in improved health and well-being, go for complete body health check up, and most importantly, make sleep a top priority. Adopting some of the tips outlined above can also help you sleep better.
Got any questions or concerns that need answers, feel free to contact us at the Health Screening Clinic. Our health professionals are compassionate and smart. We will give you all the help you need for an optimised health condition. Call us on 020 71837056 today.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis10 Oct 2020
17 Ways to Have a Good Night's Rest10 Sep 2020
Everything You Should know about Lung Cancer22 Jul 2020
Essential Check-ups for Men's Health10 Jul 2020