Efficient Sleep Hygiene: Good sleep is as important as a healthy diet and physical exercise. Poor sleep has long-term negative effects on brain function, hormones, and exercise performance. Additionally, it can lead to weight gain and a rise in the risk of diseases in children and adults. Good sleep can help you perform better, exercise better, eat less and be healthy. In the past few decades, the quality and quantity of sleep have deteriorated and a lot of people get poor sleep regularly. If you are looking to enhance your health or lose weight, one of the first things you need to do is get a good night’s sleep. Here are a few tips to help you establish the right sleep hygiene.
1. Enhance bright light exposure in the day
The human body has a natural time-keeping clock which is known as the circadian rhythm. This will affect the body, hormones, and your brain, helping you stay awake and letting your body know that it is time to sleep. Bright light or natural light in the day can help keep the circadian rhythm healthy and it will improve the daytime energy as well as nighttime sleep duration and quality. Those who have insomnia benefit from daytime bright light exposure. It helps with sleep duration and quality and the time taken to fall asleep also falls significantly. Even 2 hours of bright light exposure in the day can increase the amount of sleep by 2 hours and enhance sleep efficiency by almost 80%. If you have serious sleep issues, you will benefit the most from daily light exposure. So, try to get daily light exposure or invest in an artificial bulb or light device for maximum benefits.
2. Cut down the blue light exposure during evenings
It helps to have light exposure during the day but nighttime exposure can have an adverse effect. This happens because of the effect on the circadian rhythm that will make the brain think it is still daytime. Blue light is emitted from electronic devices and it is worse when it comes to computers and smartphones. You can reduce the blue light exposure by wearing glasses that block them, or using apps that block them. Additionally, remember to turn off the blue lights and switch off the television 2 hours before you head to bed. You can enhance the bedroom environment for better sleep by using blue light free light bulbs, setting the right temperature, and eliminating external noise.
3. Avoid caffeine later in the evening
Coffee has many benefits for your health but if you consume it late in the day, it will do more harm than good. It will stimulate the nervous system and stop the body from relaxing at night. If you consume caffeine 6 hours before bed, it can worsen the quality of sleep. Hence, it is not recommended to drink large amounts of coffee after 4 pm. If you crave coffee but have trouble sleeping, you can consider decaffeinated coffee.
4. Avoid long daytime naps
Short naps can be beneficial but long naps will have a negative effect on your sleep. It can confuse the body and you may struggle to sleep at night. A lot of people end up being sleepier in the day if they take daytime naps. If you nap for 30 minutes, it will enhance the function of your brain but longer naps can affect the sleep quality.
5. Sleep and wake up at the same time
The human body has a circadian rhythm that functions on a loop and it works in alignment with the sunrise and sunset. Hence, if you remain consistent with your sleep and waking times, it will improve the quality of your sleep. Those with irregular sleeping patterns often suffer from poor sleep. If you struggle with sleep, you should get in the habit of waking up and sleeping at the same time every day. If you practice this regularly, you will not even need an alarm.
6. Consider a melatonin supplement
A hormone named melatonin will tell the brain when it is time to relax and head to bed. Many people take melatonin supplements to enhance quality sleep. It is also used to treat insomnia and is one of the best ways to fall asleep faster. However, it helps to speak to a medical expert before you start taking the supplement. You can start with a small dose and then increase if needed. But do not buy the supplement online and start taking them. Always consult a professional first.
Sleep is an important part of your health and not something you should take lightly. Insufficient sleep can cause a lot of trouble including obesity and heart diseases. It is advisable to make sleep your top priority and include some of the tips mentioned here in your daily routine.
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