A good night’s sleep is one of the four pillars of a healthy lifestyle, right next to healthy nutrition, exercise, and relaxation. Forming good bedtime habits is simply a matter of creating a healthy bedtime routine you can stick to. If you’re looking to increase the quality of your sleep at night, consider following these six simple steps.
Increase daytime bright light exposure
Light plays an important role in regulating a circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock. To keep your circadian rhythm healthy, it is important to pay attention to the bright light exposure and the time of the day you are getting it. Try to increase natural light exposure during the day, especially if you are having trouble sleeping and are suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia.
According to a research, increasing bright light exposure helps people with insomnia fall asleep much faster (83%) while also resulting in higher sleep quality as well as duration. For some people, getting enough sunlight may be challenging, in which case they should consider using artificial bright light.
Reduce nighttime bright light exposure
While bright light exposure should be increased during the day, it should be reduced or completely avoided at night. Nighttime light exposure, especially exposure to blue light like that emitted by screens and electronic devices, makes your brain think it’s still day, which, in turn, reduces the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Lower amounts of melatonin in the body results in your sleeping and waking cycle getting disrupted, meaning you’ll find it more challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep.
This is why it’s important to avoid using smartphones, computers, tablets, and other blue light-emitting devices a few hours before bedtime. If that’s not possible (e.g. you work at night), consider using glasses to block blue light or installing apps on your devices that will block it for you.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Many of us rely on caffeinated beverages to kickstart our day, enhance productivity, and sharpen our focus. Similarly, alcohol is something many of us reach for after a long day of work in order to relax and take our mind off of worries. What caffeine and alcohol have in common is that they both affect our central nervous system. While caffeine stimulates it, alcohol slows it down and depresses it.
The problem arises when they are consumed at nighttime. They both inhibit your body’s ability to fall asleep, with caffeine staying in your blood for around 6-8 hours, and alcohol for up to 12 hours. Generally speaking, it’d be best to avoid alcohol altogether, and limit your caffeine intake after 3 PM, after which you should stick with decaffeinated coffee and beverages.
Use natural sleep aids to get a full night’s rest
Experiencing more sleep satisfaction at night and increasing the duration and quality of your sleep also has to do with balancing your body’s rhythm and chemistry in a natural way. While relying on essential oils, warm baths, and herbal teas are all great natural ways to help your body relax before bed, sometimes, you may need some more help from Mother Nature to be able to catch some serious z’s.
Relying on natural sleeping aids such as CBD Elixir and its calming effects can be a great way to harness the power of nature to ensure a full night’s rest. This natural sleep aid is known to help users experience deeper, more rejuvenating sleep by plunging into deep REM. This, in turn, results in a full neurologic recovery and ensures you wake up fully rested and energized.
Relax your body before bed with deep breathing
Quieting your mind and relieving your body from tension is an essential step in your bedtime routine, and something as simple as deep breathing can serve both of these purposes. Breathing deeply informs your body that it is time to switch off your mind, clear it of any thoughts, and calm down, helping you fall asleep more quickly and easily.
There are a number of different breathing exercises and techniques that can be of great help in relaxing the body before bed, including abdominal breathing, repeating a mantra, visualization, counting, and the popular 4-7-8 breathing routine.
Take power naps during the day
Many of us will reach for coffee or energy drinks as soon as we feel the need to recharge. However, the same effect can be achieved by taking a short but powerful daytime nap. Power naps are a great way to refresh the body and increase energy levels, and have proven to be effective in combating fatigue and improving alertness. It is also known to boost memory and cognitive functions and it’s perfect for getting those creative juices flowing.
It’s as simple as setting your alarm for a quick snooze and catching some afternoon z’s. Just make sure that you don’t sleep longer than 15-20 minutes. Anything longer can do more harm than good, leaving you feeling groggy while also interfering with your nighttime sleep.
The amount of sleep you get each night will largely influence your health, the quality of your lifestyle, and your ability to function on a daily basis. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the quality of your sleep is just as important as its quantity. Combining the two leads to greater sleep satisfaction, which, in turn, results in greater energy levels, optimized health, and improved overall well-being.