Busy lifestyles, deadlines to meet, projects to complete – sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in a day. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on prioritizing and becoming more organized, we work and work and work and neglect our sleeping hours. But recent studies have concluded that messy sleep patterns combined with an overall sleep deprivation leads to health problems such as depression, diabetes, obesity and even slow brain activity.
If you want to avoid becoming lethargic, irritable and all the health problems that come with the lack of sleep, you must get at least six to eight hours of sleep per night. Here are few tips on how to get better sleep and improve your quality of life:
- Sleep Schedule
We may not like it but our bodies work at their best within routines. Just like with anything else, practice is key. After all, you may be gifted in one are but without daily practice you will never achieve top performance and sleeping is no exception. Therefore, you need to select fixed times for going to bed and waking up whilst making sure you are getting the minimum amount of sleeping hours that your body requires. Your body will thus get accustomed to falling asleep at a certain time of the day and waking up will no longer be such a hassle as you will get to naturally wake up as your body adjusts to the new sleep schedule.
There are numerous studies out there that show a correlation between lack of exercise and insomnia or sleep deprivation. Not only does it alleviate stress but exercising exerts the body during the day so you can get better quality sleep at night. However, avoid exercising late at night and allow at least three hours between your workout and your newly scheduled sleep time as exercising stimulates the heart and brain activity, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
- Differentiate Between Sleep and Rest
In order to get better quality sleep, you must think of it as a method of relaxation rather than a necessity. If you focus too much on the idea of sleep, you might get stressed and struggle even more to fall asleep. Instead, think of going to bed as a six hours relaxation period that you have earned and deserve after a long day of work. Turn off the TV, your laptop or any other distractions and create yourself a stress-free environment where falling asleep is more than a bare necessity for our body to function.
- Balanced Diet
Your diet influences all aspect of your life and health, sleep included. Ensure your last meal is at least 3 hours before your bed time as eating too close to it may lead to heartburns or acid reflux which will stop you from being able to relax. Include in your diet foods that are rich in melatonin, a hormone that helps alleviating stress and improving sleeping patters. Examples of such foods include walnuts, rice, cherries and oats.
- Self – Awareness
Be conscious of your body and distinguish between a bad night’s sleep and sleeping disorders such as insomnia. Keeping track of your sleeping patters and the sleeping issues that may occur may help fix the problem. Consider seeing a specialist as soon as you realize you have crossed the line from bad sleep to being sleep deprived.