A woman lying on a bed

Sleeping habits: the ultimate guide to sleep better

June 12, 2020

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When was the last time you had a full-night, sweet and, sound sleep, where you felt refreshed and energetic after waking up?

If you would ask me, it was a dream for me to get a peaceful sleep. Whenever I woke up, I always felt so exhausted as if I ran ten miles or did super tiring work while I was asleep. 

I knew I needed to change something in order to get a peaceful sleep and that’s when I learned about some sleeping habits and followed a proper sleep routine. I know that everybody dreams to sleep like a baby in order to feel relaxed, energised, and motivated in the morning. But unfortunately, most of us fail to achieve it. 

Poor sleeping habits

The main culprit behind bad or interrupted sleep is various poor sleeping habits which we develop unconsciously due to our fast and stressful life. Numerous researches have shown that poor sleep has detrimental effects on your body such as

  • It is a major reason behind weight gain and obesity.
  • It hinders your brain functions and makes you prone to depression, anxiety, and stress in the long run.
  • A recent study indicated that the brain detoxifies itself during deep sleep through a process known as glymphatic system.
  • Having a poor sleep is directly connected to impaired cognitive functions, decreased alertness, and reduced quality of life.
  • Poor sleeping habits can create hormonal imbalance in the body.
  • Various researches have shown that lack of sleep can negatively affect your immune system, making you more likely to get sick.

Thus, as having nourishing food and following a regular exercise regime keeps you healthy, having sound sleep is just as important to maintain the internal environment.

A vase of flowers on a table

How to get a good night sleep tonight?

To answer this question, I have summarised some of the worst sleeping habits and its solutions that should be implemented immediately in order to get a perfect uninterrupted sleep. I am sure that these quality sleep solutions will definitely become your ultimate guide to sleeping better.

Correct your SLEEPING POSITION

Are you still tired after 8-hour sleep? This may be because you slept in an incorrect position. I have mentioned here some most common sleeping positions that are practised by individuals and what are their impacts.

  • Prone position (sleeping on stomach) – sleeping in this position may put excess pressure on the chest, additionally, neck and spine do not remain neutral here which may cause discomfort of joints in the long run.
  • Fetal position – it may put unwanted pressure on neck and back muscles and you may feel tired when you wake up. If you can’t give up this position you can place a pillow between your knees to relieve pressure.
  • Head on arm position – this is when you keep one arm under your head while lying on the side. This position puts pressure on your shoulder and upper part of your hands, you may wake up with numbness in the hand and it can injure your shoulder in the long run.
  • Supine position (sleeping on the back) – this is one of the ideal positions to sleep. It keeps your spine straight and can help in reducing back pain. However, this position should be avoided if you tend to snore.
  • Left side – it is considered one of the best positions to sleep for the majority of people because it increases blood flow, prevents snoring, and heartburn. It is also said that sleeping on the left side keeps your stomach position downwards and due to this stomach acid does not move upwards. 

Thus, it is better to check your posture while sleeping in order to have a restful and continuous good night ZZZZ…

A woman lying on a bed

Irregular BEDTIME SCHEDULE 

Irregular sleep timings or schedule is a prevalent issue in the life of most adults which is a contributing factor that detrimentally affects the quality of sleep. Moreover, a study done on adults suggests that irregular bedtime is directly connected to the insufficiency of sleep. 

Various factors such as daytime sleeping, sleeping for undefined hours, not having a proper sleep schedule at night affects our body by disturbing the internal BIO CLOCK of our system. This not only makes it difficult for us to have sound sleep but also negatively impacts our mood and cognitive functions. 

In addition, individuals habituated to have daytime sleep are guaranteed to experience insomnia at night. If you need a power nap of 20-30 minutes that is fine, but long sleep during the day is a big NO.

Hence, it is recommended to have a proper schedule where you wake up and sleep at the same time every-day. Generally, the best time to have a sound sleep is between 10 pm and 6 am which can be adjusted according to sunrise, which means you should ideally wake up when the sun rises.

Consuming SLEEP INHIBITORS before sleep 

Sleep inhibitors foods are the edibles that hinder your sleep cycle either by impairing your digestive system (high-fat foods) or by impairing your mental state (caffeine and alcohol).

  • Avoid late-night high-fat meals – gorging on fast food, packaged food and various fried snacks make it harder for you to sleep because they are tough to digest. Also, remember not to sleep empty stomach at night. Ideally, you should eat foods that are easy to digest 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
  • Avoid caffeine – people habituated to drink 4-5 cups of coffee are more likely to face sleep issues. As coffee is higher in caffeine it should not be consumed 8 hours before your bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed – Although, drinking alcohol makes you sleepy it negatively affects the rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) thus preventing deep sleep and causing you to wake in the middle of the night tired and nauseous.
  • Do not drink too many fluids before bed – suppress your urge to drink too much water or other liquids before going to bed because it can disturb your sleep by repeatedly waking you up to use the bathroom.
Hands holding a white mug with spoon

Limit your SCREEN TIME at night

This is something that we hear often but fail to implement due to our extremely gadget dependent lifestyle. This is recommended mainly because electronic gadgets like smart-phones, computers, and televisions emit blue light, and long exposure to such light tricks our brain into thinking that it’s still day time.

Moreover, studies suggest that the secretion of MELATONIN, a chemical that helps in regulating our sleep pattern is drastically reduced while using electronic devices before sleep. We can take some measures to reduce this effect –

  • Wear protective glasses that block blue rays.
  • Don’t use any gadgets 1-2 hours before you sleep, and if you must use it, download various applications on your computer and smart-phones which block blue rays by making the screen colour warm. 

Create an OPTIMAL environment

It means creating the environment for the body that helps you fall asleep easily by altering your surroundings.

  • Don’t wear tight clothes while sleeping, always prefer to wear loose cotton clothes as they are much more relaxing for the body than other fabrics.
  • Keep the room temperature in check. Generally, 18-20 degrees Celsius is considered the optimal temperature for sleeping.
  • Keep your room dark, quiet, and clean. It helps hugely, as well as your mattress and pillow should not be too soft or too hard.
  • Also, you can massage your feet or take a bath before bed this also helps you in getting sound sleep.

The bottom line

It is wise to give up the above mentioned worst sleeping habits and religiously follow this ultimate guide to sleeping better. This guide not only helps you to improve your quality of sleep but will also enhance your energy and productivity.

Moreover, when you sleep better you feel better and it directly affects your social as well as professional life. You become a more joyful and positive individual as you feel more relaxed with better sleep.

I would love to know which of these habits you are looking forward to inculcating in your routine in order to get a good night’s sleep, just as sound as a baby’s.

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