Saturday, 30 March 2019

9 Habits of People Who Sleep Well

Sleep problems are on the rise globally. It’s estimated that about 20 percent of people around the world are sleep deprived. And the reasons why we aren’t sleeping are varied. Environmental factors, chronic illness, irregular work hours and countless other stressors conspire to keep us awake.
Considering the dangers associated with sleep deprivation, all of us need to prioritize getting enough sleep. Science is discovering that many of our personal habits unintentionally cause sleep problems. On the other hand, people who sleep well tend to have certain habits that support quality sleep.
Read on to find out what good sleepers have in common and how it can help you get a better night’s sleep.

1. They stick to a schedule

This is a habit many of us try to avoid, but it’s an established fact that going to bed and getting up at the same time every day is vital for healthy sleep patterns. So, take a close look at your schedule and try to find a consistent bedtime and wake-up time you can commit to.

2. They exercise

Exercise is a huge sleep-aid. A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who exercised regularly slept significantly better than those who didn’t exercise. And the more vigorously people exercised, the better they slept. In addition, the same poll discovered that people who didn’t exercise were almost twice as likely to take medication for sleep. 
It doesn’t seem to make a big difference what time of day you exercise, although some research suggests that strenuous exercise within 60 minutes before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

3. They have a routine

Following a routine each evening before bed can help your mind and body prepare for sleep. Your routine can include almost anything, as long as it’s relaxing. You could meditate, stretch, drink herbal tea, or simply brush your teeth and head to bed. Some people find a short walk or listening to relaxing music helps them wind down before bed.

4. They mentally close their days

Having a physical routine is important, but you also need to put what’s on your mind to bed. Many people will write in a journal before bed, or jot down a quick list of what needs to be done the next day. Make a habit of writing down anything you’re worried about or you need to remember so you can let it go for the night and deal with it tomorrow.

5. They power down

Digital screens wreak havoc on your sleep. Exposure to light in general promotes wakefulness, but screens in particular emit blue light, which is a shorter wavelength than standard household lights. A 2011 study found that these short wavelengths suppress melatonin production. Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone that typically rises in the evening to get you ready for sleep. This natural rise in melatonin was significantly reduced in the study participants who had evening screen exposure.
No screen time in the evening is ideal. But, if you watch TV or do anything on a mobile device, computer or other screen after dinner, try using blue light blocking glasses. They’re shown to help counteract the effects of blue light on your body. The flashing and noise typically involved with screens can also disrupt sleep, so always make sure to turn off all your devices at least 15-30 minutes before bed. 

6. They read

This can be the perfect habit to replace electronic devices in the evening. A University of Sussex study found that just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent. And it worked better than other common relaxation methods, such as listening to music, going for a walk or having a cup of tea.
It also didn’t seem to matter what participants read. So, whether you’re into gripping suspense, cozy mysteries or political science, consider adding a good page-turner to your evening routine tonight. And if you’re not into reading, try out a coloring book, another proven way to relax.

7. They dim the lights

Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, which sends a biological signal to our body that it’s time to sleep. But exposure to bright household lights in the evening can easily disrupt this cycle. Keep your evening lighting to a minimum and try to use softer, 45- to 60-watt light bulbs when possible.
It’s also important to keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Exposure to light during sleep can impact your sleep quality as well.

8. They adjust the thermostat

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep at a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 19 degrees Celsius). Babies and toddlers should be a bit warmer, between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 21 degrees Celsius). Your body naturally decreases your internal temperature as you’re falling asleep, and having cooler external temperatures will speed up the process.

9. They watch what they eat and drink

Eating heavy or large meals too late in the day can leave you feeling uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep. Stick to lighter snacks in the evening and try not to have any food within a couple hours of bedtime.
Also be cautious with nicotine, caffeine and alcohol intake. These substances can stay in your system for hours, and can affect your sleep even if you consumed them early in the day. Certain processed foods, such as those that contain white flour or processed sugars, can also affect sleep as they create irregular swings in your blood sugar.
Pay attention to how certain foods, drinks and other substances affect your sleep. Try eliminating sugar or caffeine entirely for a while and see if you sleep better. Or stop having sweet snacks or alcohol in the evening. Everyone is different, so keep experimenting to find out what might be keeping you awake at night.

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