These are necessary for a healthy life: regular exercise, a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep. According to research, there is a direct relationship between poor sleep and hormones. Poor sleep affects your hormones and brain function negatively. Lack of proper sleep may also lead to excess weight gain and an increase in the risk of other diseases. On the contrary, good sleep may help you to eat less, exercise better and live healthier. Both the quality and quantity of sleep has declined over the past few years. Now if there is a need to lose weight and optimize your health then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best options. Check out the following evidence-based tips that will help you to sleep better.
Increase exposure to bright light during the day:
Do you know what is meant by circadian rhythm? Our body has a natural time-keeping clock which is termed as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm helps us to stay awake during the day and it guides our body with regard to sleep time. It also affects our brain, hormones and body. Our circadian rhythm remains healthy with our exposure to bright sunlight. This has a direct impact on the day-time energy and on the sleep quality and duration.
Patients with insomnia are recommended daytime bright light exposure. When a similar study is conducted on elderly people, it is found that the sleep amount and sleep efficiency increased by 2 hours and 80% respectively. It is needless to say, that even if we are able to get average sleep, it is more likely to improve with the exposure to bright light.
Reduce exposure to blue light in the evening:
The effect of blue light exposure is exactly opposite to that of bright light exposure. Blue light impacts our circadian rhythm and tricks us into thinking that it is still daytime. As a result, hormones like melatonin gets reduced. Melatonin helps in replacing and getting a deep sleep. Blue light is emitted from electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops. There are a few methods that you can take up to avoid these blue lights. These are:
- Wearing glasses that block blue light.
- Use the app that is designed for smartphones and computer to block the blue light.
- Turn off the television and any bright light 2 hours before bedtime.
Reduce daytime naps:
It is already known to us that short ‘power-naps’ are beneficial. However, we must also keep in mind that long or irregular napping can negatively affect our health. When we sleep during the daytime then it confuses the internal body clock indicating that there will be trouble when we try to sleep at night. According to a study, napping for 30 minutes or less can improve brain function during the daytime while naps for more than 30 minutes tend to affect sleep quality and health. However, it has also been seen that those who have the regular habit of taking a daytime nap for more than 30 minutes, did not have a problem of sleeping at night. It basically depends on the individual.
Don’t consume caffeine later in the day:
A single dose of caffeine enhances focus and performance. However, when we consume caffeine later during the day then the stimulation of the nervous system may affect our body at night. It has been observed that caffeine remains elevated in the blood for 6 to 8 hours. In case you are having trouble sleeping, do not consume heavy caffeine after 4 pm.
Maintain the time:
When you are consistent with your sleeping and waking up time then it can aid in the sleep quality in the long term. According to a study, people who had irregular sleeping patterns reported poor sleep.
Don’t consume alcoholic beverages:
Another negative factor for your sleep is alcohol. Alcohol has been known as the reason for sleep apnoea, disrupted sleep patterns and snoring. There is also a problem with the night time melatonin production which is responsible for the circadian rhythm of the body. According to a study, when you consume alcohol at night, it decreased the elevations in growth hormone.
According to the opinion of many people, bedroom environment and its setup plays an important role in a good night’s sleep. It includes aspects such as furniture, temperature, light, noise and many more. When an investigation was conducted on the bedroom environment, it was found that the sleep quality improved when there is a significant reduction in light and noise.
If you want to optimize your bedroom environment then you must minimize the external noise and lights from all the devices used. Just ensure that your bedroom is a clean, quiet, relaxing and an enjoyable place.
Stop late eating:
Late night eating impacts both the sleep quality and the release of hormones such as melatonin. When you consume a high-carb meal hours before your sleep time it will help you to fall asleep faster and help in improving the sleep quality. However, in a study, it has been found that a low-carb meal also helps in sleeping especially when you are used to a low-carb diet.
Clear your mind:
Sleep quality improves with a number of relaxation techniques. A relaxing massage for someone who is ill tends to be beneficial. There are a number of techniques that you can try to relax. These include reading a book, listening to soft music, visualization and deep breathing. These methods help in treating insomnia and you may try them out to know which one is suitable for you. You may also opt for a relaxing bath or shower. A hot bath that is taken 90 minutes before bedtime increases the chances of deep sleep. You can also just bath your feet in hot water which can also help you to relax.
Apart from the points mentioned above, the bed quality can also have an effect on your sleep quality. A new mattress can be beneficial in a number of ways. It might reduce back pain, shoulder pain and back stiffness. The best mattress and bedding depend on the individual. It is recommended that you change your bedding for at least 5-8 years. In case you have not changed your mattress for a number of years, change it and see the difference.
Insufficient sleep increases the chances of obesity both for children and adults. Some studies have shown that less than 7 hours of sleep can be the cause of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. When you are worried about optimal health and well-being then you must ensure the sleeping is a top priority in your life. For more such wellness blogs, visit our website PatientMD.