The most effective sleep habits that can improve your health and well-being

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Sleep plays an important role in appetite control, muscle recovery, and the body’s immune response. You need to get the right amount and quality of sleep so that you can move effectively, think clearly, and balance your nutrition. Spend a third of your day sleeping to effectively prepare your mind and body for the next day. Always prioritize quality sleep. During a normal sleep cycle, different systems in the body work to release and balance hormones, repair damaged cells and tissues, and stimulate essential brain functions.

Here are the most effective strategies you can do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed at night so you can get seven to eight hours of much needed quality sleep

Create a good sleeping environment and eliminate distractions

  • Invest in a good bed with perfect pillows that can enhance your sleep experience. You don’t want to feel discomfort from a stiff neck or back pain that could disturb sleep.
  • Set a constant room temperature for your most comfortable sleep.
  • Eliminate annoying sounds that could wake you up such as the noise of appliances (air conditioner or electric fan) or electronic devices and manage ambient sounds (animals, cars and neighbors) by soundproofing the windows. Wear ear plugs when needed.
  • Avoid sleeping with the television or devices on because these devices emit blue light that affects melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleepiness.
  • Try smelling lavender oil, the most used aromatherapy oil for sleep due to its relaxing effects.
  • Exposure to food at night can trigger appetite. Don’t put a mini-fridge in your room. If you’re watching a movie, avoid the habit of snacking late at night. Eating before bed can negatively affect sleep and weight. Avoid eating two to three hours before bed. This is why it is a good habit to brush your teeth immediately after dinner.
  • Keep your phone, laptop or tablet away from you before going to sleep. Set a limit for web browsing, social media activities, and work activities such as checking or replying to emails.

Spend time on activities that can help you sleep better

  • Spend time on evening self-care routines that can make you sleep better such as taking a relaxing bath, wearing face and skin care products, and wearing your most comfortable sleepwear.
  • End the day with your favorite nocturnal hobbies like writing a journal, reading your favorite book, meditating, praying, listening to your favorite sweet playlist, or watching a movie (ideally under an hour).
  • Spend time chatting with your spouse / children over a good night kiss and hug. Avoid thinking about your work and other tasks for the next day. So relax and enjoy the rest of the night.
  • Sleep with your spouse and go to bed at the same time if possible to feel the much-needed comfort that can help you both sleep better.

Condition your body throughout the day for restful sleep

  • Get enough formal exercise (cardio, strength, core, and flexibility) to stimulate your heart and muscles for at least 30 minutes a day. Progress by increasing the duration and intensity of the exercise as you get stronger. Keep moving more throughout the day by doing lifestyle activities like housework, outdoor errands, and lifestyle walks. Studies show that exercise and movement can improve the quantity and quality of sleep.
  • Avoid intense exercises like fast running, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and heavyweight training three hours before bed. If you work out in the evening, choose light to moderate intensity workouts such as Pilates, yoga, dance, light to moderate endurance, and core training.
  • Limit afternoon naps to 30 minutes per day. Excessive afternoon naps can negatively affect your sleep schedule.
  • Eat healthy foods that can improve your sleep such as nuts, yogurt, milk, healthy grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid drinking too much water two hours before bed. This will prevent you from waking up to urinate during the night.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption. It is a sedative, but it can greatly affect the quality of sleep. Additionally, it can affect exercise performance and control over eating the next day.

Manage your day to avoid stressful thoughts at night

  • As soon as you wake up, make a plan for your day and do your best to stick to it. Include your sleep schedule and do your best to stick to it. But be flexible and make sure you always have alternative plans. Constantly creating goals and plans for the day can reduce confusion, worries, and stress throughout the day.
  • Set aside some time to fix and plan your next day. You can do this at any time before formally ending your work day, but not during bedtime.
  • Communicate with your family the importance of rest and sleep, so you can all work together as a team to make a healthy sleep habit part of your lifestyle.
  • If something is bothering you, talk to your spouse, family member, or friend. Express strong emotions that can affect your sleep.
  • If you have serious sleep problems, see a sleep specialist who can recommend sleep supplements, therapies, and other important treatments.

Email the author a [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @mitchfelipemendoza

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