Guide to a good night sleep

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Guide to a good night sleep

Sleep is essential to keep our mind and body healthy. General consensus is that most adults on average need 7 hours of good quality sleep at a regular schedule. However, in today’s fast paced modern lifestyle, with stress from work and responsibilities, often a good night of restful sleep is a fanciful dream. While you might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that help you achieve a good night of restful sleep.

Why is sleep important?

  1. Regular deep sleep improves brain performance, mood, athletic performance, supports a robust immune system, social interactions and general health

  2. Sleep prepares your brain for learning, improves memory and sharpens focus.

  3. Good sleep decreases the risk of diseases and disorders like heart conditions, blood pressure, stroke, obesity and dementia.

  4. Research suggests that sleep helps remove Alzheimer’s-related toxins from the brain.

  5. Better sleep reduces stress and aids in weight management,

  6. Healthy sleep involves three factors: quantity, quality and consistency.

  7. Sleep at a regular schedule Aim to sleep and wake up at the same time every day even during the weekends. Being consistent reinforces your circadian rhythm (Learn more about your body’s natural clock) leading to a better sleep-wake cycle.

  8. Daily exercise Exercise improves the body’s sleep cycle and helps you feel refreshed and alert. However, avoid exercise late in the evening as this can disrupt your biological clock and your sleep.

  9. Healthy diet

    1. Add more fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grain, nuts and fish to your diet.
    2. Reduce the amount of saturated fat and sugar, processed meats and refined carbohydrates.
    3. Try not to eat and drink late at night. Avoid alcohol, heavy meals and/or spicy foods before bed time.
    4. Avoid nicotine, caffeine and green tea after 2 PM. Caffeine can take around 6-8 hours to wear off completely.
  10. Consult a doctor If you snore loudly, gasp during sleep and are feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep then consult a doctor to rule out sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common and potentially serious sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly while sleeping which prevents the body from getting enough oxygen. Your doctor can advise you on suitable treatment options.

  11. Get some natural light Try to get at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight every day. Natural daylight is an important source of Vitamin D and also encourages the brain to stop producing melatonin, which is a hormone that controls sleep-wake cycle.

  12. Evening routine Relax before bed with a warm bath or shower. For some, wetting the feet with cold water helps with a better night’s sleep.

  13. No screens before bedtime

    1. Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before sleeping.
    2. Avoid using any electronic devices at least for an hour after you wake up in the morning.
    3. Choose a book over TV to wind down before bedtime. Choose books that will not fill your mind with more ideas.
  14. Dealing with stress

    1. If you are highly stressed or worried and are struggling to get proper sleep then try speaking to a friend or speak to a counselor
    2. Try yoga and meditation or other forms of gentle exercises
    3. Listen to soothing music
    4. Drink chamomile tea
  15. Meditation and yoga

    1. Improves mindfulness
    2. Increases melatonin ( a hormone that manages your sleep-wake cycles) levels
    3. Increases serotonin ( also known as the happy chemical which regulates your mood)
    4. Regulates heart rate and decreases blood pressure.
    5. Activates the part of the brain that induces sleep.
  16. Ditch work in bed Keep your bed for sleep and relaxation, not work. Working in bed can:

    1. induce stress and anxiety, making it challenging to unwind.
    2. lead to sleep disruptions and even insomnia.
    3. hampers productivity by blurring the lines between work and relaxation.
    4. Beds are not ergonomically designed for work, potentially causing discomfort and health issues.

Understanding the truth about sleep is crucial for our well-being. As we age, our need for restful sleep remains relatively constant, but the quality of sleep may change due to various factors. The simple tips above can help you improve your sleep quality and enjoy the benefits of a well-rested mind and body. Sweet dreams!


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