A good night sleep is as important as your hustle, exercise and diet. The phrase “sleep is for the weak” has been used amongst us to motivate us to work harder and get things done, but we fail to appreciate the importance of sleep.
Compromising our sleep impacts negatively on our performance. It affects our attention span, understanding of our day to day happenings, and our control of emotions. Sleep deprivation also increases risks of depression, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and also affects our immune response to infections.
Healthy sleep is characterized by;
- Sleep for 6-8 hours,
- Fall asleep within 30 minutes after getting in bed,
- Stay asleep most of the sleeping time.
Here are ways that you can better your sleep quality;
Have a sleeping schedule
Having a set bedtime might sound a bit childish but it is an important way of making your sleeping pattern regular. Sleep and wake up at the same time and try to limit the time difference of your sleeping schedule during the weekends and weekdays.
Be keen on what you eat or drink before bedtime
One should avoid going to bed hungry or being too full. This may disrupt your sleep and keep you up due to discomfort. Stimulating effects of caffeine and nicotine take time to wear off, thus making you stay up longer than intended. Alcohol can make you sleepy but you may end up being awake later at night. One should therefore not take stimulants or alcoholic drinks before bedtime.
Limit naps taken during the day
Long naps during the day will definitely affect your sleep during the night. You could take a power nap of 30 minutes if you have to but avoid it later during the day.
Control your light exposure
Melatonin, a hormone produced by your body to facilitate sleep, is controlled by light. Melatonin is secreted more when it is dark – making you sleep and secreted less when there is light. Therefore ensure your room is dark enough for you to sleep and expose yourself to sunlight during the day in order to be alert and avoid sleeping during the day.
Tire yourself before bed
Whenever you fail to fall asleep within 30 minutes after getting to bed, you could try activities that will facilitate fatigue. You could leave your bed and exercise or read a book, you’ll wind down to sleep better.
Listen to Binaural beats
You will have to invest in headphones for this. Binaural beats are a form of sound therapy where you hear two tones in each ear at different frequencies. They facilitate relaxation, lower anxiety and sleep. however, it is not advised to be used by people prone to seizures, those that have pacemakers, those with psychological disorders like schizophrenia and personality disorders, children as they may develop seizures and pregnant women as it may stimulate labor.
Take Melatonin supplement
If sleeping is a struggle for you frequently, a melatonin supplement could be your lifesaver. Melatonin is a sleep hormone in our body; supplementing it will help you fall asleep faster. You could use it for a month or two, or even just when you can’t fall asleep. Quit it after a month or two so you could assess your sleep improvement without the supplement.