How good you feel during your waking hours often depends on how well you sleep at night. You probably don’t realize it but your daily routine and bedtime habits have a profound impact on quality of your sleep. Unhealthy lifestyle and daytime habits can sabotage your sleep, leaving you tossing and turning at night. Sleeping well directly affects your mood, health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. Research shows that a good night's sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet for your mental, emotional, and physical well being.
For sleeping better it is crucial to maintaining your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day will make you feel much more refreshed and energized. Schedule your body’s internal clock to optimize the quality of your sleep. Go to bed only if you feel tired to get an uninterrupted sleep. Try to wake up naturally without an alarm every morning. If you need an alarm clock, consider going to bed early.
Limit your afternoon nap times if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night. Don’t let your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ. Having different weekend and weekday sleep schedules can make you experience jetlag-like symptoms.
Your brain regulates sleep-wake cycle by producing melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure. It secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, which makes you feel sleepy and less melatonin in presence of light, which keeps you more alert. A number of modern lifestyle aspects can alter melatonin levels in the brain. This imbalance of hormone shifts your sleep-wake rhythm.
Expose yourself to bright light during the day. Wake up early in the morning to expose yourself to sunlight. Spend more time outdoors during the daytime. At home keep the curtains and blinds open during the day, at work try to move your desk closer to the window.
You can use a light therapy box to regulate the exposure to light. It is especially useful during short winter days. Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can improve sleep quality and duration, especially in those with severe sleep issues or insomnia.
|Carex Classic Plus Therapy Lamp||Northern BOXelite Desk Lamp|
Avoid bright screens before going to sleep. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is not only disruptive but also suppress melatonin. You can minimize the impact by turning the brightness down. Try listening to soothing music or read a book instead. Don't read with backlit devices. Before going to sleep, make sure the room is dark. Install blackout curtains or shades in your bedroom to block light from windows. Try a sleep mask to cover your eyes. Also consider covering up electronic items that emit light.
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People who exercise regularly in the morning or afternoon feel energetic during the day and sleep better at night. Regular exercise also improves your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. It also helps cure the symptoms of insomnia. The more vigorously you workout the more powerful are the sleep benefits. But even light exercise such as walking or cycling for just 10 to 15 minutes a day improves sleep quality.
Exercising at night or too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep. Finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least four hours before going to sleep.
Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sound slumber.
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Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep at night, especially in the hours before bedtime.
Caffeine can enhance focus, energy and sports performance. However, if consumed up to six hours before bed it can significantly worsen sleep quality. It stimulates your nervous system which hinders your body from relaxing at night. Refrain from drinking large amounts of coffee after 4 p.m. If you do crave for a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, then stick to decaffeinated coffee. Nicotine act as stimulant and smoking a cigarette close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep pattern.
Consuming alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle. Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
The best time for dinner is earlier in the evening, before 8 P.M. Avoid spicy or acidic foods that can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Late-night eating can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. Sugary foods and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta can trigger wakefulness at night. A high-carb meal eaten atleast 4 hours before bed may help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality. This is likely due to its effect on the hormone tryptophan, which makes you feel tired. Night-Time snacks such as turkey sandwich, milk, yogurt or banana can help you sleep faster. To fight after-dinner drowsiness do something mildly stimulating, for example wash the dishes, call a friend, or get your attire ready for the next day.
Residual stress, anxiety, and anger from your relationships, family or professional life can make it very difficult to sleep well at night. Constantly worrying and brainstorming take a toll on your sleep. Make a brief note about the troubles along with few reaffirming words on a piece of paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day. Similarly, if you are excited about the future or a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive after a good night’s rest.
You can also practice relaxation techniques and look at life from a positive perspective. Maintaining a calm, positive outlook will help you sleep better at night. Practicing relaxation techniques before going to bed is a great way to calm the mind and prepare for sleep.
Try following relaxation techniques to rejuvenate your body.
Meditation is the best way to relax and reduce the anxiety. Listen to a meditation audio, sound therapy system or a calm and relaxing music of your choice.
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You can also try deep breathing and positive visualization techniques.
Close your eyes, relax your muscles and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last. As you breathe out, purge out all the exhaling thoughts and events of the day.
Lie down, close your eyes and imagine a beautiful place that’s calming and peaceful. Focus your attention on how relaxed this place makes you feel.
Try Butterfly pose or Baddhakonasana to get rid of anxiety and tiredness. The Butterfly pose helps remove fatigue and exhaustion resulting from working, standing or walking for long hours. It is also a good stretch for inner thighs, groin, and knees.
How to do Butterfly Pose or Badhakonasana-
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Tense and squeeze all the muscles as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Begin with your toes and work your way up to the top of your head. After 5 seconds, exhale and relax your tensed muscles. You should feel the muscles relax and become loose, as the tension flows out with exhaled air.
Using essential oils before bedtime provides a nerve-calming and relaxing experience. Termed as aromatherapy, these essential oils are derived from plants and have been used for centuries to treat insomnia. Dilute the essential oils with appropriate carrier oil and apply on your temples, forehead and wrist. You can also use a moistened cotton ball and tuck it under the pillow or have a warm bath after adding the essential oil to water.
|Crane Steam Vaporizer Humidifier||Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Room Diffuser|
Massage therapy offers relief from everyday stress, pain and muscle tension that might keep you awake at night. Massage therapy products are designed to offer deep and relaxing massage at home and in the comfort of your bedroom. A good, deep massage can help loosen muscles and keep your body in a relaxed state. It is highly recommended for people suffering from depression and insomnia.
|Blackroll Twister Manual Massager||Togu Ball Manual Massager|
Making small changes in your bedroom to improve your sleeping environment can make a big difference to the quality of your sleep.
If you can't avoid or eliminate noise from outside traffic, neighbors or other people in your house, try masking it with ear plugs. Sound machines can also help you get deep, undisturbed sleep all night long.
|Marpac Sound Therapy Machine||DryDome Hearing Aid Dryer||Sound Oasis Sound Therapy Machine|
Clean and fresh air can enhance the quality of your sleep multi-fold. The air purifiers not only clean the air but also remove sub-micron particles, noxious gases and chemicals for a good night’s sleep.
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Make sure your bed is comfortable. Bed quality has a profound effect on the quality of your sleep. If you suffer from sore back or an aching neck, you may need to buy comfortable mattress, foam toppers, and pillows that provide sufficient support. Your duvets or bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled.
The quality duvet helps avoid uncomfortable cold air pockets that are common with down and synthetic fibers. Duvets from Smartsilk are perfect for cozy night’s sleep. The moisture wicking properties of the duvet helps to reduce the effects of night sweats.
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Temperature Regulating overlays and toppers from OUTLAST TECHNOLOGIES helps minimize heat fluctuations. They help body stay cool throughout the night thus providing relaxing and uninterrupted sleep.
|Hollander Sleep Safe Anti-Microbial Comforter|
Foam mattresses are the new age sleep comforters that not only give you a comfortable sleep but also help in combating lower back pain often caused by the wrong sleeping posture.
|Drive Bariatric Foam Mattress||Platinum Care Foam Mattress||Invacare Therapeutic Foam Mattress|
Memory Foam Pillow with Cooling Gel is perfect blend of natural forming memory foam and cooling gel for optimal sleep temperature. The contoured design of the pillow supports all sleeping positions thereby providing maximum comfort to the user.
|Mabis DMI HealthSmart Memory Foam Pillow With Cooling Gel||BodySport Cervical Support Pillow|
The weight blankets provide a natural calming and relaxing effect by putting gentle pressure on your nervous system.
|Sommerfly Therapeutic Weighted Blanket||Weighted Blanket|
Sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, which is linked to insomnia, often cause inconsistent and interrupted breathing. People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. CPAP machines and nasal masks can help deliver a good night’s sleep. Other common sleep disorders include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in people who work in shifts. Consult your doctor, if you consistently struggle to sleep.
Reserve your bed only for sleep and sex. Avoid watching TV, eating or working in bed. Not using your laptop and mobile phone on bed would make it easier to relax and wind down at night. Gradually you will train your brain to associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex.
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Hunaid Germanwala is digital marketer and content creator at Health Products For You since 2014. He has an MS from Ulm University in ...
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