Do you struggle to get a good night’s sleep? If you’re like 45% of the world’s population, you’re likely getting less shut-eye than your body requires to function optimally. But if counting sheep isn’t working out for you, there are a few simple ways to make the transition from wide-awake to sound asleep a more regular occurrence.
Here are some top tips on how to sleep better:
1. Relax your mind
Keeping your thoughts under control can be difficult, so try to use relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and
2. Watch that diet
What you eat and drink can drastically influence your sleep health, so make sure to avoid stimulants like coffee and cigarettes in the 5-6 hours before lights out. Large nighttime meals can also wreak havoc with your digestion, while alcohol can be very disruptive to REM sleep. Try to drink enough water in the day, but steer clear of it at night if you want to avoid overly frequent trips to the bathroom.
3. Location, location, location
Are you a fan of falling asleep on the couch? You may want to ditch that habit if you’re looking to improve your overall sleep health. Sleeping in uncomfortable positions can result in body aches and pains, and is also likely to disrupt your sleep. Equally, your environment is vital to getting good shut-eye. Temperature is very important, as excess heat or cold can swing things one way or another, and overly tucked sheets and blankets can be restrictive to your nocturnal movements.
4. Love right
Sex can make it easier to fall asleep, thanks to the hormones that are released during the process. Sex boosts oxytocin, releases prolactin and lowers cortisol, which leads to a perfectly drowsy state.
5. Lights out
Your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle, governed by the hormone melatonin, which your brain secretes. Melatonin is controlled and regulated by light exposure, so if you mess with that cycle by exposing yourself to bright light before bedtime or by not getting enough exposure to natural light during the day, you could face a few problems getting drowsy.
6. Put your screen down
Try to avoid all screens within 1-2 hours of bedtime, as the blue light emitted can mess with your melatonin levels, resulting in an overly alert state. Try not to keep your devices charging in your room either, as many of them continue to emit light even when off.
Exercise regularly, but remember to time your workouts and finish up at least 3 hours before bedtime. Consistent exercise has been shown to have powerful sleep benefits, and even a short walk daily can do wonders for your slumber. However, because exercise speeds up your metabolism and stimulates hormones like cortisol, exercising late can leave you feeling wired – a state less than conducive to peaceful sleep.
8. Stay regular
It’s often easier said than done, but staying on a regular sleep cycle can be enormously beneficial to your quality of sleep. If you have a late night now and then, try not to counter it with a late lie-in, as this can upset your body clock. Napping is a far more effective way to catch up on sleep, so rather opt for a siesta if the previous evening has had its way with you.
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