Tips on how to improve your sleep

Tips on how to improve your sleep

Why do we sleep?

It may sound like a stupid question but understanding the importance of that time when we rest our head on the pillow to the moment the alarm wakes us in the morning is vital to not only our performance on a daily basis in the short term but also to our health in the long term.

We sleep for two main reasons, it helps us to repair and restore our bodily systems like our muscular system, immune system, cardiovascular system and re-synthesize various hormones in the body. It also serves a function in memory allowing us to increase our capacity to retain information.

A lack of sleep has been shown in numerous academic studies to increase the likelihood of adult and childhood obesity, the risk or chronic disease mainly heart disease, affects blood sugars and insulin sensitivity causing an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, increased inflammation and has been linked with depression.

On the other hand, adequate sleep (7-8 hours a night) has been shown to improve immune function, improve cognitive functions like concentration, productivity and performance and enhance athletic performance in areas like skill acquisition, speed and reaction times.

Tips on how to get better quality sleep

Reduce blue light exposure in the evening

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Electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit large amounts of this light tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.

This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep

Tips

  • Wear glasses that block blue light
  • Block blue light on your smartphone with blue light filter mode
  • Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
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Don’t consume caffeine late in the day

Caffeine has numerous benefits and a single dose can enhance focus, energy, and sports performance.

However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night

Tips

  • Drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping

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Try to sleep and wake at consistent times

Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality

Tips

  • If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
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Take a melatonin supplement

Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed Melatonin supplements are an extremely popular sleep aid. Often used to treat insomnia, melatonin may be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster

Tips

  • Research has shown that taking 2 mg of melatonin before bed improved sleep quality and energy the next day and helped people fall asleep faster.
  • Additionally, no withdrawal effects were reported in the research.
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Optimize your bedroom environment

Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep. These factors include temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement

Tips

  • To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.