Getting a good night’s sleep can directly affect your metal and physical health. When you have unhealthy sleeping patterns it can take a serious toll on your energy levels, productivity during the day, emotional balance and even your weight.
Sometimes, the idea of getting a good night sleep seems like an impossible goal as many of us regularly toss and turn at night and struggle to get to sleep, while others sit wide awake until early hours of the morning.
However, we have more control over our quality of sleep than you might think as it all hinges on what we do while we’re awake – which means the problem can often be found in our daily activities.
1. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday
A consistent sleep schedule helps set your body’s internal clock and will optimize the quality of your sleep.
2. Avoid sleeping in – even on weekends
When your weekend and weekday sleep schedules differ it creates “jetlag-like” symptoms that will make your sleeping experience worse.
3. Increase bright light exposure during the day
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps to keep your circadian rhythm healthy and improve day time energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality.
Spending more time outside during the day, going for walks, and making sure curtains and windows are open all contribute towards this.
4. Reduce blue light exposure in the evenings
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial but at night has the opposite effect. Again, this is because of your circadian rhythm as light can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, and reduces the production of melatonin which helps you sleep.
Blue light tends to come from electronic devices like smartphones and computer screens, so you might want to consider putting away your electronics in the evening. However, some smartphones do come with an “evening mode” which eliminates the amount of blue light the phone gives off.
5. Reduce caffeine late in the day
A single dose of caffeine can enhance focus, energy and sports performance. However, consuming it late in the day stimulates our nervous system and prevents your body from naturally relaxing at night.
6. Exercise during the day – but not late at night
People who exercise during the day, sleep better at night and feel less tired during the day. The more intense the workout the better you’ll sleep at night, however even light exercise such as walking will improve sleep quality.
However, exercise late at night can cause sleep problems as it’s known to increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
7. Wind down and relax
A lot of people find it difficult to sleep at night because residual stress, worry, and anger build-up from the day can affect their sleep.
One way to deal with this is to find a night time routine that works for you, this could be a relaxing bath, deep breathing and meditation or reading a book.
Another way could be to optimize your sleeping environment, try to keep your room dark, and minimize noise. Make sure your bed is comfortable, try relaxing essential oils, and reserve the room for sleeping and sex.
8. Try NOT to nap
If you have trouble sleeping at night you might feel tempted to catch up on it by having a nap during the day. Generally, unless you’re feeling dangerously sleepy, such as when your driving or operating heavy machinery – napping actually does more harm than good because it can prevent you sleeping at night.
If you feel sleepy during the day, go for a walk, get some fresh air or do some kind of physical activity.
9. Don’t think about it
Thinking about sleep too much and trying to force yourself to go to sleep will only keep you awake. This is another reason why learning how to relax before bed is so important.
The colours you use in a room can directly affect your mood – this is known as colourology.
Bright, bold colours such as yellow, red and orange are highly stimulating, while muted tones are more calming. This means the colour you paint your bedroom and the decor you choose can impact your sleep – so choose wisely.