You would be shocked to find out that an alarming percentage of people are regularly sleep-deprived and are often tired during the day. Yes, we all have trouble sleeping at times, but it is time to make some changes when it persists for more than a few days.
Sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on our health, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness, a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
A good night’s sleep helps the body to remain healthy and stave off unwanted diseases. Most adults require between seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
On the other hand, children and teenagers require significantly more sleep, especially if they are under the age of five. Following healthy sleeping habits can help you maximize the amount of time you spend sleeping, even if your sleep is disrupted by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.
To help you out, below are seven simple tips for making your dreams of a good night’s sleep a nightly reality:
1. Be Mindful of Your Caffeine Intake
If you drink coffee on a regular basis, your body may have become familiar with certain caffeine levels. In the first few days of quitting the habit, you may experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, extreme fatigue, depression, and mood swings. It is important to remember that while caffeine has some health benefits in small doses, it can hamper your healthy sleeping schedule and induces caffeine dependence.
Caffeine causes a temporary boost in energy by releasing adrenaline and suppressing the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing chemical produced by our brain to help us fall asleep.
Unfortunately, the combination of these actions keeps you awake at night. As a result, caffeine should be avoided in late evenings, particularly a few hours before bedtime.
2. Establish a Soothing Pre-Bed Routine
If you have trouble sleeping, it is common to believe that the problem begins when you lie down in bed. But in reality, the time leading up to bedtime is essential in preparing you to fall asleep seamlessly and quickly.
Try to establish a consistent night-time routine to follow each night. Begin by indulging yourself in a relaxing bath filled to the brim with warm water from the water heater It is much easier to fall asleep if your muscles are at ease, so avoid stressful, stimulating activities before bedtime.
You should also disconnect from all electronic devices. Tablets, phones, televisions, and laptops can keep your mind occupied, making it difficult to unwind. Disconnect for at least 30 minutes before going to bed, if possible.
Changing these habits can be challenging, but it will help you fall asleep quicker than ever when bedtime rolls around.
3. Writing a To-Do List
How many times have you stayed up late worrying about what you need to do the next day? We frequently run through our to-do lists in our heads before setting off to dreamland. However, this habit can sometimes consume hours of our time, leaving only little of what remains.
As unusual as it may seem at first, writing a to-do list can be a useful tool for limiting sleepless nights. When you write it down on a piece of paper or your tablet app, you are freeing your brain to dump everything it is trying to keep track of.
If you cannot shake off the accumulated stress of not having enough energy to function the next day, give it a chance, you might see a shift in your sleep quality.
4. Relaxation Techniques
All that tossing, stewing, and glaring at the ceiling can leave you feeling exhausted and stressed out. However, if you caught yourself in this vicious cycle of insomnia, do not worry.
If there is a way to switch on the stress response, there is also a way to switch it off. How? You can start by triggering another natural process known as the relaxation response.
Taking slow and deep breaths is a powerful way to trigger your relaxation response. Start by closing your eyes and inhaling a few deep breaths.
As you inhale, breathe down into your belly. Then, shift your attention to your breathing, and repeat, “I am calm”. This alone can help to calm the mind and slow your beating heart, making it easier for you to doze off.
5. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment
Your bedroom should ideally be used for one purpose only: sleeping. Using your bedroom for other purposes only reinforces your brain’s association of the room with other things.
For example, if your bedroom is where your office is, your mind will be constantly preoccupied with work. On the other hand, a calm and dark environment promotes quality sleep.
To create such an atmosphere, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out as much natural light as possible. Then, you can lower unnecessary outside noise with earplugs or white noise machines.
Keep your room cool (between 60 to 75-degrees Fahrenheit) and well ventilated. Also, make sure your bedroom is equipped with a high-quality air purifier for optimal air circulation.
6. Paint Your Room
While you may paint your walls for aesthetic reasons, the colors you choose can lead to different physical and emotional responses. For example, certain colors can help you relax, while others help you stay awake by stimulating your mind.
Pastel and muted shades like blue, green, white, and beige have been linked to positive physical and emotional effects. These colors— at their core — symbolize nature. It is considered beneficial to the body and mind as it produces a calming effect, making it ideal for sleep.
At the other end of the spectrum, bright and bold colors such as red, orange, and yellow can potentially affect your sleep quality as it evokes energy and creativity. Understanding how these colors affect your mood can help you choose the right bedroom color for better sleep.
7. Try Aromatic Scent
Exposure to scents associated with calmness and relaxation can help you sleep better in the hours leading up to bedtime and throughout the night.
While aromatic diffusers and scented candles are surging in popularity, another way to have the scent is by using a shower gel aromatized with your favorite smell.
Certain aromatic scents like lavender, lemon, chamomile, and sandalwood can transport you to a state of bliss. Apart from its good smell, using aromatic shampoos can also have other health benefits for your hair and scalp. So, whether you are taking a quick nap, or tucking in for the night, know that you are guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
As you can see, numerous factors can lead to sleep deprivation. Fortunately, most of these problems are avoidable by practicing good sleep habits. Of course, attempting to implement all the tips mentioned above can be overwhelming and a bit far-fetched. But keep in mind that it is not all-or-nothing.
If you truly want to make real changes to your sleep routine, it is important to start small and then gradually work your way up towards a healthier habit. It is now or never.