The way you sleep directly affects your physical and mental health. Not having enough sleep can take a serious toll on your next day’s energy, emotional balance, productivity, and even your weight. It is, therefore, very important to ensure that you develop and maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Breaking this cycle makes it difficult for you to sleep and wake up at the right times, which affects your overall performance. There are a few strategies you can use to ensure that you improve and preserve your sleep cycle and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Keep your bedroom dark
The amount of darkness in your bedroom is a very important factor to consider when you are looking to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. This is because it helps to stimulate melatonin in your brain. This, in turn, makes it easy for you to control your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle; which will help you in getting that deep sleep you sometimes struggle to get. For this to be possible you’ll need a dark bedroom. Consider buying black curtains in order to ensure that your room stays as dark as possible.
2. Stay away from caffeine in the evenings
Normally, noticeable caffeine effects do wear off in a few hours. It also has a half-life that can extend its effects in your bloodstream. This half-life usually lasts between five to six hours or longer. So, do not be surprised that by 11 PM you still can’t sleep despite the fact that you took coffee at 5 PM. This could be due to the fact that its effects are still being felt by your body. If you are someone who craves a cup of coffee late in the afternoon or evening, then you will have to stick to decaffeinated coffee. This means that your coffee will have at least 97% of its caffeine removed. Most energy drinks are also very high in caffeine. Ensure that you stay away from drinking them in the evenings. This will help your body to naturally relax at night and preserve your sleep cycle.
3. Reduce exposure to blue light in the evenings
During the day, exposure to light can be beneficial to you, but nighttime light can be very detrimental to your sleep. The light tends to trick your brain into thinking that it is still day time. This, in turn, reduces hormones like melatonin which are responsible for helping you to relax and get into deep sleep. Blue light normally comes from your electronics’ screens and has the capability of causing serious disruption in your sleep. Therefore, always try as much as you can to avoid them a few hours before going to sleep. If you are someone who loves scrolling through your phone at wee hours of the night, then you might need to drop this habit. If you must use your phone or laptop at night, then you will have to find programs or settings that will help in taking out the blue light and give your screen a warmer glow.
4. Reduce unnecessary long daytime naps
Short power naps are usually beneficial to you and can enhance daytime brain function. However, the long and unnecessary naps during the day can have a negative effect on your sleep cycle. This is because when you sleep during the day, you will end up confusing your internal clock, making it harder for you to sleep during the night. With time, you will also start feeling sleepier during the day as opposed to during the night because your body will have accustomed itself to this routine.
5. Stick to a routine
This is simply by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. This routine will help in setting your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. It is important that you come up with a bedtime that you normally feel tired. This reduces the tossing and turning that comes with going to bed too early. By doing this, you will get enough sleep and won’t even need an alarm to wake you up. If you find out that you still need an alarm clock to always wake you up, then you will need to come up with an earlier bedtime.
Also, find activities that you can do just before you go to bed. Try engaging in a relaxing activity just before you go to bed. According to Ally Olson from VisionBedding, a simple but consistent night time routine like reading, washing your face, or showering can signal to your body that it is time for sleep.
6. Get comfortable beddings
There are people who claim to sleep well while in a hotel as compared to sleeping in their own bedrooms. Most of the time, this happens due to the quality of the beds in the hotels. A good quality mattress improves your sleep quality and it can also reduce back pain, shoulder pain, and back stiffness when you wake up. Before you sleep, you should also ensure that your sheets feel cool when you touch them. This is because when you sleep, your body naturally cools off. A cool sheet will help your body to cool faster and encourage deeper sleep.
7. Avoid taking liquids before going to bed
Taking liquids before going to bed will only lead to excessive urination during the night. It will, in turn, affect the quality of your sleep and your daytime energy. This does not mean that you stop hydrating your body. You can hydrate during the day but the avoid drinking any fluids 1-2 hours before going to bed. Also, ensure that you use the bathroom right before going to bed. This will reduce your chances of waking up in the night.
As discussed above, it is the simple things that will help you improve and preserve your sleep cycle. These simple habits are capable of making a big difference in the quality of your life. Neglect them and you will end up having some pretty damaging effects on your overall health.