Sleep plays a key role in the repair of blood vessels and the heart. It’s also essential to mental health – it allows us to process information and consolidate our memories.
If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep, here’s how to feel more rested upon waking.
- Follow a Sleep Schedule
- Limit Light and Sound Exposure
- Set the Mood
- Exercise Regularly
- Limit your Nicotine and Caffeine Intake
- Clear your head
Try to stay in sync with your circadian rhythm, or your natural sleep-wake cycle. If the nature of your work does not allow you to follow your circadian clock, then the least you can do is to get in and out of bed at the same time each day.
You can alter this sleep schedule by an hour or two, but avoid sleeping in on weekends, no matter how tempting.
Melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that regulates your sleep cycle, is affected by exposure to artificial light after dusk. The brain secretes more of the hormone when it’s dark, making your feel more sleepy, so it’s crucial to avoid late night binge watching or scrolling through your phone just as you tuck in. Don’t read from a backlit screen and use heavy curtains to block out the light.
Some individuals are more sensitive to sound than others. But even if noise doesn’t rouse you from sleep, it can still affect your sleep cycle –studies suggest that even low-level noise can have health repercussions. There is also some evidence that links sleep disturbance with cardiovascular disease.
Common sources of noise include road traffic, pets, home appliances, and your partner’s snoring. Wearing earplugs and making sure the windows and doors are properly insulated can help reduce sound exposure.
Try to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Change the sheets regularly, bring in lots of soft pillows, and make sure your mattress is in good shape. Adjust your temperature settings. You might also have to take out sources of light and noise, such as TVs and phones.
Daily exercise makes you feel more awake during the day and sleepier at night. It helps combat sleep apnea and insomnia. It also extends the length of time you spend in the restorative stages of sleep. Vigorous exercise comes with better sleep benefits, though light exercise can still improve sleep quality.
Caffeine can cause sleep difficulties, so take your coffee early in the day – the substance can affect your ability to fall and stay asleep within 10 to 12 hours of drinking it. Smoking is another stimulant that must be avoided before bedtime.
Other things to avoid near bedtime include alcohol, sugar, excess liquids, and heavy meals.
An overactive mind can keep you from having a good night’s sleep. If residual stress and intrusive thoughts are keeping you up at night, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, visualization, and meditation. You might also benefit from a stress management program if problems at school, work, or relationships are keeping you awake.
WholeBody Solutions offers a host of drug-free services to help you achieve optimal health. Call 617-328-6300 for safe and natural solutions to your health concerns.