Sleep is a time of rest for the mind and body, during which consciousness and volition are in a complete or partial suspension, making the bodily functions inactive. It is a state where awareness is only environmental stimuli. It is a natural condition of rest when your body and mind are not conscious or alert and your eyes are closed.
But sometimes, your sleeping schedule gets disturbed, and people face many health problems like diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases. Good and sound sleep plays a vital role in keeping you fresh, healthy, and active. The duration of sleep varies from person to person. As a regular schedule, a person needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night. But some people take six hours while others need twelve hours, all depending on their routine.
We all know the sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm and the internal clock that keeps rotating throughout the day between your sleeping and waking order. Sometimes the sleep-wake cycle gets disturbed due to traveling across time zones, jet lag, all-nighters, and shift work. But fortunately, there are some remedies to reset your sleep pattern.
Below are some ways to improve your sleep and enjoy a consistent sleep schedule.
When you’re under stress or anxiety, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. A higher level of this stress hormone keeps you awake at night. Hence, it is better to practice relaxing and calming activities like aerobics, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, stretching, drinking tea (caffeine-free), and journaling. Such activities will help you fall asleep.
Many people nap during the day because their sleeping order is out of wack. Some report that long naps might result in grogginess, which means you might suddenly wake up from deep sleep. If you need a nap, make sure that it lasts for 20-30 minutes and that too before 3 pm. This will help you get a sound sleep at night.
Planning your exposure to light is the best way to fix your sleep problems. Exposure to light affects the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) by the brain. And you feel alert/awake. Whereas darkness commands your brain to produce melatonin, so to make you feel sleepy.
During nighttime every day, make sure to dim the bright lights or turn them off. Use blue light to create a calm atmosphere. Also, avoid using smartphones, computers, TVs, etc., as the glowing screens can activate your brain for long hours.
Your eating habits define your sleep-wake cycle. Late-night dinners may disrupt your sleep, so eat your meal two to three hours before bedtime for better digestion. Eat light snacks rich in carbs and proteins. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks close to bedtime.
One of the most critical factors for sound sleep is room temperature. You can quickly doze off in a cool bedroom that has a climate between 60 and 67° F. So make sure to adjust the level of your heaters and air conditioners for extra benefits.
A comfortable bed with cozy mattresses and soft pillows can make your sleeping peaceful. Many people have aches and pains or stiffness when they wake up in the morning due to lumpy pillows and saggy mattresses. Hence, you should change your mattresses and pillows every 10 to 2 years, respectively. The comfortable environment of your bedroom will help you get healthy sleep.
It is essential to stick to a regular wake-up time and bedtime. This will help you develop a new route over overtime, and you’ll have a fixed schedule to go to sleep and wake up.
Many industries regulate night shifts for employees. Working for the whole night under light can cause various health issues. During natural sleep, your body releases toxins, repairs injuries, and reduces anxiety/stress. But irregular shifts affect your overall health. When it comes to women, working overnight can make them victims of breast cancer, heart attack, depression, obesity, gut infection – diarrhea and ulcers, diabetes, etc.
Hence to avoid a variety of health problems, a regular sleeping schedule becomes essential. If you follow some healthy habits, you’ll be able to get a great sleeping schedule. These habits include:
- Set a schedule that gives you seven hours of sound sleep.
- During vacations or weekends, try to get up at the same time.
- Never go to bed unless you feel drowsy.
- Get out of bed immediately if you don’t get to sleep within 20 minutes.
- Don’t take a heavy meal before going to bed.
- Don’t take too many liquids before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly and take a bath before going to bed.
- Avoid noise; wear earplugs to block the loud noise of fans, ACs, air purifiers, or humidifiers.
- Keep your mattress and pillows firm, and use your bed only for sleeping.
- Try fasting to burn calories during sleep.
- Avoid drinking caffeine-based beverages and, most importantly, alcohol before bedtime.
- Limit exposure to light and switch off all electronic devices.
- Talk to your doctor if sleep problems persist. It is normal to have sleep troubles due to changing habits and behaviors, but proper treatment can restore your routine.
- Consider taking a proper dose of melatonin to fight insomnia, dizziness, headache, drowsiness and regulate your sleep cycle. But only under the guidance of a health provider.
Certain activities can mess up your sleep schedule. But practicing healthy and hygienic habits, you can restore your sleeping order. It is better to avoid bright lights, a heavy diet, loud sounds before going to bed. Instead, keep the sleeping environment cool and comfortable. Skip naps during the day and stay more active so that you’re able to enjoy a sound sleep at night. But if nothing works, then consult your doctor.