Rules for Healthy Sleep
Not all sleep is created equal. Did you know that there is such a thing as healthy sleep? Healthy sleep is deep and fulfilling, allowing you to wake refreshed, full of energy, and ready to face the day. So what do you do if you don’t experience healthy sleep?
Check out this list of Do’s and Don’ts for achieving healthy sleep.
“Drinks” sound pretty wide open, but we definitely don’t mean all drinks. A glass of water or a mug of hot tea can be wonderful ways to wind down before bed. What isn’t included in the “good” drinks is coffee, alcohol, and energy drinks. This may be a no brainer, but when trying to sleep, you want to avoid stimulants. So, stick with the tea!
Just as the caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, the nicotine in a cigarette or cigar is as well. While your body is attempting to release melatonin, one of your hormones that sends signals your brain to get tired, nicotine increases the heart rate and interrupts that process. You’ll find it much more difficult to get to sleep by smoking before bed.
There’s nothing worse than overeating and enduring a stomach ache. Now imagine a stomach ache when you’re trying to sleep. Definitely not the most comfortable. Eating before bed is generally frowned upon as your body is trying to give a break to most of its functions during sleep. It’s hard to do so when there’s a mountain of food to digest.
Horror or Action Movies
When it comes to sleep, stimulation is the last thing you want. Both horror and action movies are incredibly stimulating to your brain. Thoughts of what will happen next or who will win the next fight sequence might just keep you up at night.
Guess what we use every day that could be severely harming the way we sleep? If you guessed your phone, computer, or tablet, you would be right! Now, in general, there’s nothing wrong with using your devices. That being said, they may be keeping you awake if used too close to bedtime. Electronics emit a blue light that to the naked eye is hard to perceive. That blue light stimulates your brain and keeps you awake. If there was ever a time to put down the phone and pick up a book, this would be it.
You may think that exercise before bed would be a good thing. After all, wouldn’t you be more tired and fall asleep easier? A little stretching may be the perfect way to unwind before bed. However, hard exercise wake up and invigorates your brain, leaving you tossing and turning.
A simple walk around the block to get some fresh air and clear your head can be a great way to drop the day’s stress and relax into the bed.
Lower the Temperature
Studies show one of the quickest ways to get to sleep and stay asleep is to lower the temperature of the room. Between 60 and 67 degrees, Fahrenheit is considered the optimal sleep temperature. Your body naturally decreases in temperature as you sleep and it’s thought that by changing the degrees of the room, you better facilitate this body temperature shift.
We mentioned picking up a book when discussing ditching the screens during bedtime. As you read, your muscles begin relaxing and your breathing slows putting you in a state of calm, optimal for falling asleep.
Air Out Room
Circulating fresh air through your room before bed is great for a few reasons. First, carbon monoxide levels lower, giving you more oxygen for a deeper sleep. Second, pollutants that might be floating around your house now have a chance to escape. Lastly, fresh air gives you more concentration and sleep study participants found that they woke up more refreshed.
Having a schedule is essential to falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up well-rested. The human body loves routine. Pick a time to get ready for bed, turn off electronics, read a book, drink some tea, and turn off the light. The structure allows your mind to begin releasing those much-needed sleep hormones to get you tired and ready to snooze.
Meditation is all about centering one’s thoughts and taking time to focus on breathing. We have so many thoughts that pass through our heads on a daily basis, that we sometimes forget to breathe. Sit down in a comfortable spot and for just a few minutes, close your eyes and focus on breathing. It will not only give you better concentration during the day but just like reading, it will help your muscles relax and brain settle in for bed.
Though these aren’t hard and fast rules that everyone must follow, if you find yourself struggling for sleep, give this a shot. These rules are there for you to lean on and develop further for your personal use.
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