Staring at computer screens, watching late night films, and snack eating are all activities to be avoided in order to get a restful sleep. However, I hope to introduce you to activities that you may not have thought about. In order to get more quality sleep, ponder these activities and see if you can take note, so that you can have the best sleep ever!
Do not get too heavily invested in an emotional novel, and hold off on having that phone conversation with your friend, prior to hitting the sack. Avoid watching a disturbing film or television program too. If you must read a book, pick up a light novel that will help you relax and unwind, instead of getting emotionally wound up in a heavy story. Stress and overstimulation of the mind are often why people do not experience good quality sleep at night, so avoid getting too riled up in an emotional story at the end of each day!
Warm showers will help put you to sleep (as you’d imagine), whereas a cold shower will awaken the nerve endings in your body, in turn priming the brain to ‘wake up.’ Instead, a warm soak in the bathtub can actually help you fall asleep, for body temperatures dip at night about two hours before bedtime. A hot bath will cause your temperature to rise and cool down afterwards, helping you relax. It is this drop in body temperature which knocks you out; and the steeper the drop, the deeper you'll sleep.
This might sound obvious, but our bodies wake up to light and sleep when it gets dark (or at least that is the predominant sleep cycle for most people). Melatonin production in the brain is controlled by light exposure, so your brain should secrete more melatonin in the evening (to make you sleepy), and less during the day. Therefore, avoid bright light two to three hours before bedtime. If you’re reading a book or a computer screen at night, use just enough light to see the words on the page.
Have you ever woken up during the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? Chances are it’s because you drank too much water, or your body is still processing a heavy dinner. Unless you are diabetic or pregnant, you really shouldn’t have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Scale back on the amount of water and drink fewer fluids in general in the evening. See if that helps minimize the number of trips you have to take in the middle of the night!
If you find it hard to fall asleep or you wake frequently during the night, try some relaxation techniques, such as visualizations, deep breathing, or meditation, either prior to bedtime or when you are in bed. Listening to binaural beats (to slow your brainwaves down to lower frequency waves) can help, particularly if you feel restless at night. Remind yourself that rest and relaxation techniques help rejuvenate the mind and body, so even if you are not sleeping well, one of these relaxation techniques may help you feel better the next day.
It is sometimes impossible to get all your work done during the day, so many times you bring it home with you. If you really MUST write a presentation the night before or churn out a project plan before the kick-off meeting the next day, try shutting off your computer and putting the work aside at least one hour before bedtime.
Get in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (your circadian rhythm), in order to get a great night’s sleep. If you go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day, you’re more likely to achieve deep sleep. If you do need to alter your sleep schedule, make small changes – go to bed 15 minutes earlier or wake up 15 minutes earlier, instead of making hourly changes. Your body finds it harder to adjust to such big time changes.
Great sleep is essential to our overall health and well-being. Which one of these activities will you pursue to ensure you get your greatest night's sleep?
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