There are times when obtaining restful sleep appears to be an unattainable daydream. For self-proclaimed insomniacs like myself, attempting to catch forty winks is a nigh impossible task. Not only does insufficient rest cause unwanted eyebags, but it can also severely affect your emotional balance, general productivity and overall physical health. But all is not lost – there are, in fact, several simple methods that you can employ to make your sleep more restful and undisturbed.
Establish and stick to a routine
We’re all aware that establishing and adhering to set routines can be very helpful in enabling our bodies to become accustomed to a specific lifestyle, and this applies to our sleep regimen too. By waking up and going to sleep at the same time daily, you can help tune your internal clock to improve the quality of your sleep. In fact, if you’ve received sufficient quality rest, then you should be able to wake naturally without the prompting of an alarm clock.
You can also consider establishing a pre-sleep routine to prepare your body for a good night’s rest. For instance, you can indulge in a hot bubble bath or curl up with a relaxing book before going to bed. Try to avoid stressful activities like cramming in last-minute work, as psychologically stressful activities can result in the body secreting higher levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which will invariably affect the quality of your sleep. You should also stay away from using devices such as phones or tablets 1-2 hours before bedtime, as the blue light emitted can adversely affect your sleep.
Make changes to your sleep environment
Your sleep environment plays a crucial role in determining how restful your sleep is going to be. To improve your sleeping conditions, try to ensure that your room is kept quiet and dark. If your humble abode is situated along a noisy street or near train tracks, then consider using a “white noise” appliance or earplugs to keep out the unwanted sound.
Do also remember to draw your curtains or use an eye mask to block out bright lights, as this will ensure that your room is kept dark and muted. The emission of lights sends signals to the brain that it is time to wake up, and this will undoubtedly affect your sleep – imagine constantly being disrupted and having to wake up several times during the night because of the city lights!
Control your eating habits
You might not be aware of this, but your daytime eating habits play a prominent role in determining the quality of your sleep. If you’re a coffee addict, then it will be disappointing for you to hear that caffeine can result in sleep problems up to 10-12 hours after drinking it. This means that you should steer clear from caffeine in the afternoon, all the way till bedtime.
Aside from abstaining from coffee, you should also avoid having heavy meals within 2 hours of bed. Supper may be a meal that you and your friends enjoy relishing in, but this is a definite no-no if you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep. However, if you find your stomach grumbling at night, then try snacking on dairy foods and carbohydrates instead, as research has shown these types of food have a smaller impact on your sleep and may even help with pre-sleep relaxation. In a similar vein, do avoid eating spicy foods and consuming alcohol, since these are sure to affect the restfulness of your slumber.
Getting quality sleep is more important than you may think, so investing in ways to make your sleep more restful is essential to improving your overall health. You don’t lose if you snooze; in fact it’s the opposite!