• First published on November 15, 2019
It seems that more and more people are looking for ways to improve the quality of their sleep so that they can reap the wide range of health benefits that good regular sleep brings.
We live in a hectic modern world, and although technology has brought us numerous benefits, it has also been guilty of speeding up the treadmill of life to make our lives feel more hectic than ever.
With more tech distractions than ever, it’s little wonder that our sleep seems to be suffering as a result.
We all know how important sleep is. The fact that we all have to do it every night should signify the importance of good sleep for optimal health.
So what are some things you can try to help improve your sleep and boost your recovery?
In this article, we’re going to bring you five things you can try which may well help you to enjoy some better quality shut-eye and leave you feeling more refreshed in the morning.
These are just general tips which may help to improve your sleep. If you’re suffering from insomnia, you should always consult a certified medical professional and follow their advice.
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start focusing on our five top tips for improving sleep.
Our body clock, or Circadian Rhythm, is finely tuned to the light/dark cycle of the sun. Generally speaking, when it’s dark outside, we start to feel tired and ready for bed, and when it’s light, we feel alert and awake.
One of the best ways to ‘sync’ your Circadian Rhythm is to get some natural daylight early in the morning. This helps to tell you body that it’s light outside and time to wake up. The more regularly you do this, the better tuned your body clock will be.
As well as helping to wake you up, getting some morning sunlight exposure may also help to improve your sleep. This study from 2017 suggested that getting direct sunlight exposure can help increase the sleep quality of older adults.
Try starting your day with five to 10 minutes outdoors in natural daylight to help keep your body clock in the right rhythm.
You probably already know this, but seeing too much light after dark is probably not good for your sleep.
Ancestral humans would have only had access to one source of light after sunset – fire. Yes, there would have been moonlight and the occasional lightning strike, but those are a far cry from the artificial light after dark we are bombarded with these days.
You may have noticed more and more digital devices offering a ‘night mode’ function, where the blue light is dimmed down to offer a warmer (yellower) tone of colors.
This is because blue light mimics daylight, and essentially sends a message to your body clock telling it that it is daytime and time to be alert. That’s fine during the day, but at night, too much blue light can potentially disrupt your circadian rhythm and therefore interfere with your sleep.
To block out blue light at night, make sure that the night mode is switched on, on all of your digital devices and reduce your exposure to artificial light at night where possible. You could also use a pair of blue light blocking glasses to help tone down the effect of artificial light.
One other thing to bear in mind is that the blue light emitted by the sun during the day is always balanced out by the other colors of the visible spectrum. Unfortunately, many energy saving LED and fluorescent artificial lights contain mostly blue light, with few other colors. This type of blue light was not seen by the human body until very recently.
We all know that sticking to a healthy and balanced diet is important for your overall health – but what about the timing of your meals?
Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of popularity in recent years for its supposed health benefits, and there is some evidence to suggest that eating just before bed can affect sleep negatively.
For that reason, it may be a good idea to have your final meal of the day earlier, so your body can then start preparing to wind down for sleep.
Try having your last meal of the day at least two hours before going to bed and see how you get on.
This is another tip linked to Circadian Rhythm optimization. By training your body to get used to waking up at the same time each day, you’ll be able to keep your Circadian Rhythm in sync.
“The number one most powerful thing you can do for your sleep is wake up at the same time every single morning,” explains health coach Max Lowery. “It synchronises your body clock so that at that time in the morning, you’re likely to be in a light sleep phase, which means that you’re going to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.”
It also may be a good idea to have a consistent bedtime as much as possible, again to help keep your Circadian Rhythm working properly.
“Have a fairly consistent bedtime,” Max Lowery explains. “Obviously people have to have a social life and it’s not a disaster if there are a couple of nights a week where you’re not going to bed at the usual time.
“But if you’re at home doing nothing, go to bed at the same time, because you’re more likely to fall asleep quicker.”
With technology making our modern lives more hectic than ever, it’s even more important to ensure that you’re able to switch off and relax.
One way to do this is through having a regular meditation practice. There are plenty of apps and tools out there to help guide you through the process, and doing it before bed could help you to feel relaxed, forget the stresses of the day and help to prepare your mind for a restful night’s sleep.
Start with 10 minutes of meditation just before going to bed and see how you get on.
As mentioned above, these are general tips for helping to improve your sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or have an underlying medical condition, then you should always speak to a certified medical professional first.
Sticking to a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine are important pillars of overall health, and they both too may also contribute to better sleep.
So, that brings us to the end of our look at some simple ways to help improve the quality of your sleep.
Sleep is a crucial pillar of good health. Although we are only just starting to understand exactly what goes on in the body during sleep, it’s already clear that improving the quality of your sleep is only going to affect your health in a positive way.
The information on this website is intended for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used as such.
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge