18 Jul Sleep better
How to get a better night’s sleep.
First, make sure an underlying health condition is not contributing to your sleep problems. One common issue is sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing during sleep.This condition occurs commonly in adults, especially those that are overweight. One group of scientists reported that 24% of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea. Other medical issues that might contribute to sleep problems include sleep movement disorders. Circadian rhythm (sleep/wake) disorders are common in shift workers especially those that change from morning to evening shifts.
Next, consider the following five factors that contribute to a better night’s sleep: What is going into your body? Your Level of activity. Your Sleep environment. Your Bedtime rituals. Your Sleep schedule.
- What is going into your body?
-Reduce fluid intake in the late evening and try to use the bathroom right before bed.
-Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Eating before bedtime may negatively alter both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH (human growth hormone) and melatonin.
-Don’t go to bed hungry.
A high-carbohydrate meal eaten four hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster. But don’t worry if you’re on a low-carb diet. One group of scientists reported that a low-carb diet also improved sleep, which means that carbs are not always necessary.
-Don’t drink too much alcohol
Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night. It may cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. It also may change nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm. Another group of researchers reported that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in HGH, which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions .
-Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day.
Caffeine has many benefits and is consumed by the vast majority of the US population. A cup of coffee may enhance focus, energy and sports performance. But when you have too much caffeine or have it too late in the day, it stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. So, don’t drink coffee too late in the day, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping. One group of scientists reported that consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality.
-Nicotine may be detrimental to sleep.
Although the evidence is inconsistent, scientists have reported that several supplements may induce relaxation and help you sleep:
Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb that may aid in sleep, relaxation and stress reduction (250 mg 30–60 minutes before bed)
Glycine: An Amino acid that may improve sleep quality (3 grams before bed)
Valerian root: Several studies suggest that valerian may aid in falling asleep and improve sleep quality (500 mg before bed)
Magnesium: An essential mineral. Some have reported that magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality.
L-theanine: An amino acid, l-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. (100–200 mg before bed)
Lavender: Scientists have reported this herb may have many health benefits. Lavender may induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep. (80–160 mg containing 25–46% linalool prior to bed)
Melatonin: This hormone may be involved in your circadian rhythm (telling your brain when it’s time to relax and go to sleep). One group of scientists reported melatonin before bed improved sleep quality and energy the next day and helped people fall asleep faster. In another study, half of the group fell asleep faster and had a 15% improvement in sleep quality Additionally, no withdrawal effects were reported in either of the above studies. Melatonin is also useful when traveling and adjusting to a new time zone, as it helps your body’s circadian rhythm return to normal. (1–5 mg 30–60 minutes before bed)
- Level of activity
-daily exercise helps you sleep
Regular exercise during daylight hours is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
One group of researchers reported that the sleep of older adults was improved by daily exercise. They determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night.
In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30% and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18%.
But try to get your exercise early. Due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems. Exercise increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
- Sleep environment
-Limit your bedroom activities.
Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
Break the association between the bedroom and any stressful activities: Take work, computers and TV out of the bedroom.
If you cannot fall asleep, don’t lie in bed. Leave the bedroom and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
-Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and Pillow.
Some people have noticed that they always sleep better in a hotel. Perhaps it is the relaxing environment. But it may be the superior bed quality.
Your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Poor-quality bedding can lead to increased lower-back pain.
One group of researchers reported that a new mattress reduced back pain by 57%, shoulder pain by 60% and back stiffness by 59%. It also improved sleep quality by 60%. Other studies point out that new bedding can enhance sleep. A high-quality mattress and bedding has a life expectancy of about 9 or 10 years.
-Ideal sleep temperature
It’s difficult to sleep when you’re too warm, so a cool room makes for a better night’s sleep. Depending on your preferences and habits, a range between 60 and 70°F (20°C) seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people.
Numerous scientists have reported that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues. In one study on the bedroom environment of women, scientists reported that about half of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.
Minimize external light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks in your bedroom.
-Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day.
Your body is equipped with a natural time-keeping clock, called your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you stay awake during the day and letting your body know when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps tune your circadian rhythm. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
Scientists have reported that daytime bright light exposure can help you get a longer and better night’s sleep. Studies reveal that such light improves sleep quality and duration in people with insomnia. It also allowed insomniacs to fall asleep 83% more quickly. Researchers reported that two hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by two hours and sleep quality by 80% in older adults. Try to expose yourself to at least two hours of daily sunlight. If that is not possible (such as northern Norway in Winter) invest in an artificial bright-light
-Blue light? Not at night!
While exposure to light during the day may be beneficial, nighttime light exposure may be the enemy of a good night’s sleep. Light, especially in the short wavelength range (blue), has a negative impact on your circadian rhythm. It can trick your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This alters your hormone balance (melatonin, HGH) and make it difficult to relax and get deep sleep.
Electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit large amounts of blue light. You can reduce nighttime blue light exposure: You can wear glasses that block blue light. You can change the settings of your laptop, phone or computer to ‘nighttime mode,’ which diminishes blue light. You should limit television and turn off any bright lights two hours before bedtime.
- Bedtime rituals
A relaxing, routine activity that you can do every night, right before bedtime creates a buffer between the day’s excitement, stress or anxiety (which makes it tough to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep) and gives your mind and body the time they need to shift into sleep mode.
-Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
A relaxing bath or shower may improve overall sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster. Scientists have reported that a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped volunteers get more deep sleep. Others have suggested that soaking your feet in hot water (rather that a full bath at night) may provide similar benefits.
-A relaxing massage may improve sleep quality
Some scientists have recommended a routine designed to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Writing down a list of things that are on your mind and then setting it aside for the next day may be effective.
-Listen to music
-Read a book
- Sleep schedule
-Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times may improve your long-term sleep quality. Your body has a pre-set circadian rhythm, which is designed to align with sunrise and sunset. This rhythm may be upset if you engage in irregular sleeping patterns. Many people go to bed and wake up much later on the weekends than during the work week. Scientists have discovered that this may alter your circadian rhythm and hormone levels (melatonin, HGH) which signal your brain to sleep. Once your body gets in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times, you may not even need an alarm.
Scientists have reported that you sleep better if you don’t try to sleep too little and also don’t try to sleep too much (Goldilocks sleep). The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is around seven hours.
Short power naps may be beneficial. One group of scientists noted that napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function. Another group confirmed this benefit and described improvement in memory function from an afternoon nap. Those who are used to taking regular daytime naps typically are able to sleep well at night.
On the other hand long or irregular napping during the day may impair your sleep quality. Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock. This type of napping may cause you to struggle to sleep at night and cause you to be sleepier during the day. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.