The secret to getting a good night’s sleep, every night, is establishing a routine.
Following regular healthy sleep habits can mean the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of beneficial practices that can help anyone maximise the hours they spend sleeping, even people suffering from insomnia, jet lag, or the challenges of shift work.
1. Keep a regular sleep cycle.
It will make you feel more refreshed and energised, than sleeping the same number of hours at irregular times. This holds true even if you alter your bedtime by only an hour or two. It’s therefore important to make sure you:
• Set a regular bedtime - even on weekends.
• Wake up at the same time every day – if you’re getting enough sleep you should wake up naturally without an alarm.
• Be smart about napping – if you take a nap in the early afternoon limit it to 30 minutes.
2. Turn your bedroom into a slumber land.
• keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool.
• Invest in a comfortable mattresses and pillows.
• keep distractions out of the bedroom – kick out computers, televisions and work materials.
• establish a soothing pre-sleep routine – read a book, take a bath, listen to music etc.
3. Boost Your Melatonin.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Its production is controlled by light exposure.
• Increase light exposure during the day – let in the light first thing in the morning, get out of the office for a quick sun break during the day and let as much light as possible into your home/workspace during the day.
• Boost your melatonin production at night by dimming the lights – limit reading or working off backlit screens e.g. a computer , and use lower-wattage light bulbs in your bedroom.
4. Relax to get back to sleep.
It’s normal to wake up during the night, good sleepers may not even remember they are doing it. However, when you have trouble getting back to sleep try the following strategies:
• Make relaxation your goal – stress and anxiety encourages your body to stay awake. Try various relaxation techniques such as visualisation, deep breathing or meditation.
• keep calm – if you have been awake for more than 15 minutes get out of bed and try reading a book.
• Postpone worrying and brainstorming – keep a notepad and pen next to your bed and make notes of any thoughts, then you can check it in the morning.
5. Know when to see a doctor.
If you’ve tried these tips and are still struggling with sleep problems, be sure to visit your doctor.