5 PROVEN TIPS TO SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT
Credits : Farah Siddique
After a night spent tossing and turning, you wake up feeling like a couple of the Seven Dwarves: sleepy…and grumpy. Restless nights and weary mornings can become more frequent as we get older and our sleep patterns change. We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but when insomnia persists day after day, it can become a real problem. Beyond making us tired and moody, a lack of sleep can have serious effects on our health, increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
You don't need to avoid sleep aids if you absolutely need them, but before you turn to pills, try these five tips to help you get a better night's sleep:
Going for a brisk daily walk won't just trim you down, it will also keep you up less often at night. Exercise boosts the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin. A study in the journal Sleep found that postmenopausal women who exercised for about three-and-a-half hours a week had an easier time falling asleep than women who exercised less often. Just watch the timing of your workouts. Exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating.
2- Keep it comfortable
Television isn't the only possible distraction in your bedroom. Ambience can affect your sleep quality too. Make sure your bedroom is as comfortable as possible. Ideally you want "a quiet, dark, cool environment," Dr. Carlson says. "All of these things promote sleep onset.
3- Eat but not too much
A grumbling stomach can be distracting enough to keep you awake, but so can an overly full belly. Avoid eating a big meal within two to three hours of bedtime. If you're hungry right before bed, eat a small healthy snack (such as an apple with a slice of cheese or a few whole-wheat crackers) to satisfy you until breakfast.
4- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
If you do have a snack before bed, wine and chocolate shouldn't be part of it. Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Surprisingly, alcohol has a similar effect. People thinks it makes them a little sleepy, but it's actually a stimulant and it disrupts sleep during the night. Also stay away from anything acidic (such as citrus fruits and juices) or spicy, which can give you heartburn.
5- Start a sleep ritual
When you were a child and your mother read you a story and tucked you into bed every night, this comforting ritual helped lull you to sleep. Even in adulthood, a set of bedtime rituals can have a similar effect. "Rituals help signal the body and mind that it's coming to be time for sleep. Drink a glass of warm milk. Take a bath. Or listen to calming music to unwind before bed.
It’s well-established that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. But despite its importance, a troubling percentage of people find themselves regularly deprived of quality sleep and are notably sleepy during the day. For many people, trying to implement all these strategies can be overwhelming. But remember that it’s not all-or-nothing; you can start with small changes and work your way up toward healthier sleep habits, also known as sleep hygiene.