When was the last time that you heard someone enthusiastically exclaim that they had a night of uninterrupted sleep? The answer to this question is probably: never. In fact, you might be one of those people who just can’t seem to get as much shuteye as you need.
Well, you certainly aren’t alone in this. A Gallup poll showed that around 40 percent of the adult population doesn’t get a full night’s sleep. This is rather distressing news considering all of the physical and mental issues that are associated with sleep deprivation.
There is a silver lining in all of this, though. Even though you may not be getting enough rest now doesn’t mean that things have to continue in this manner. In fact, if you are looking to improve your sleep situation right now, here is what you should be doing:
Go to Bed Earlier
You may be no stranger to the advice, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. Well, there may be more to this than you initially anticipated. This is because there is scientific evidence to prove that going to bed earlier is better for you.
Now, as you may know, your sleep is actually categorised by different stages. In all, there are five phases that your body (and brain) moves through while you are unconscious. During the earlier hours, your body is within deep sleep, which is also known as the non-REM stages.
One of the benefits of this stage is that it is more restorative. So, if you spend the necessary amount of time in this stage, you are going to wake up feeling refreshed. Not to mention, you will be a lot more alert throughout the day as well.
The later that you go to bed, the more time you will spend in the REM stage. This is where much of your dreaming takes place. While this stage is important, it isn’t nearly as restorative as non-REM sleep. Thus, you won’t get the same benefits. So, do yourself a favour and get to sleep as early as you can possibly manage.
Start Your Day Off Right
Are you someone that likes to dawdle in bed once your alarm clock has woken you up? Maybe you try to get a few more minutes of shuteye. Or, perhaps, you start scrolling through your phone, checking out what you might have missed while you were sleeping.
Well, it is time to change this routine drastically. The moment your alarm rings, you need to get out of bed and push aside your curtains. Doing this will let natural sunlight in. Light, particularly in the morning, has been shown to alleviate sleeping issues. This is largely to do with the impact that sunlight has on your natural circadian rhythm. It resets it and makes it easier to fall asleep at an earlier time during the evening.
Create a Cut-off Time for Caffeine
Most people will try to make up for a night of broken sleep with numerous cups of coffee. Even on a regular day, you probably indulge in a late-afternoon cup on a daily basis. Well, it is this practice that could be keeping you up at night.
What most people don’t realise is that caffeine remains in your system for quite a while after you drink it. This is true even if you stop feeling the effects of caffeine after a few hours. Research suggests that a cup of coffee can continue to keep you up for around six hours following consumption. Ideally, you should aim to drink your last cup around seven hours before you intend on going to bed.
If you are suffering from rather considerable sleep issues, though, it is important to keep your caffeine intake under control. To start with, reduce the number of caffeinated drinks that you consume. Also, try to limit drinking them in the morning. This way, your body has more than enough time to get rid of the caffeine in your system.
Limit Your Use of Personal Digital Devices
These days you would be hard-pressed to find someone without a smartphone or tablet in their hands. Well, these devices could be wreaking havoc on your sleep on a number of different levels. To start with, there is the effect of blue light.
This is the light given off from virtually every screen on digital devices. The light doesn’t just illuminate the display, though, it also keeps you alert. In fact, blue light can reset your circadian rhythm, keeping you up for longer. To prevent this from happening, you should put away these devices at least an hour before your bedtime.
It is actually a good idea to keep your digital devices out of your bedroom completely. This way, there is no chance of getting interrupted by notifications throughout the night. Furthermore, the temptation to check your phone when you can’t sleep will be removed as well.
Start Leading a Healthier Lifestyle
Did you know that your diet has an impact on your sleep quality? So, if you are someone that indulges in junk food or doesn’t eat a balanced diet, it isn’t unusual to find that your sleep patterns are thrown off. Fortunately, this is easy enough to remedy. Start eating fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish on a daily basis.
In addition, you should avoid eating food that isn’t easily digestible late at night. The stomach issues that follow such items may keep you up at night. At the very least, it will reduce the quality of your sleep.
Another thing that you should make an effort to do is to get more exercise. Research has shown that regular, moderate exercise can help you to sleep much better. Now, there is no need to go overboard. Rather, try to exercise for half an hour a day, each day. Try to do so in the morning or the late afternoon to avoid messing with your sleep in any way.
If you want a good night’s sleep, these are the steps you need to follow. Sure, they may take some time to work. However, once it does kick in you will be able to sleep more soundly on a regular basis.