5 Habits That Will Help You Sleep Better
Given a large number of people who complain about fatigue and exhaustion, experts from various fields have taken a keen interest in sleep (as a phenomenon) and more specifically habits that could help us sleep better.
Quality sleep recharges our batteries and puts us in the right mood to work efficiently the next day. At the same time, it also reduces the risk of developing various mental and physical conditions.
But with all the tight deadlines, annoying distractions, and overbooked schedules that many of us are dealing with, we often end up sacrificing precious sleep hours for the sake of productivity and results.
As a result, an increasing number of people are experiencing various sleep disorders. Whether we find it difficult to fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night for no reason, or can’t get out of bed early in the morning, the result is always the same – poor quality sleep.
And the consequences can be devastating. From failing to focus on tasks during the day and memory gaps to exposing ourselves to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, it seems that poor quality sleep affects more than just our energy levels.
Fortunately, there are ways to achieve better sleep, as long as you’re willing to make some significant changes to your daily routine.
Let’s take a look at five simple habits that will help you enjoy that good night’s sleep you’ve always wanted:
#1 Stick to a Tight Sleep Schedule
From researchers and sleep experts to physicians and mental health professionals, everyone agrees that keeping a tight sleep schedule is the golden rule when it comes to quality sleep.
Unfortunately, for many of us, sticking to this important rule can be a real challenge, especially during the weekend when there are no tasks and deadlines that would force you to wake up early. It’s hard to find the motivation to go to bed early when it’s Friday night, and you’re out with your friends having a good time.
But in the end, it all comes down to getting your priorities straight.
What’s more important to you, staying up late playing video games or partying with your friends or sticking to a tight sleep schedule that will be beneficial in the long run?
Truth be told, only a few of us are willing to go for option number two. But luckily, for the majority who would prefer staying up late on a Friday or Saturday night, there is an alternative – one that would require you to tolerate a bit more effort and frustration.
In other words, you need to ‘force’ yourself to wake up at the same hour you would during a weekday, even if it’s Saturday (or Sunday) and there’s absolutely nothing urgent that would require your attention.
#2 Exercise During the Day
We know for a fact that regular physical activity has many beneficial effects on our physical and mental health.
But did you know that exercising can also help us sleep better?
According to a 2015 review, “Sleep and exercise influence each other through complex, bilateral interactions that involve multiple physiological and psychological pathways.”
Even though experts have yet to determine the exact mechanisms that mediate the relationship between sleep and exercise, what we know for sure is that a regular exercise routine can have a positive impact on the quality of our sleep.
Furthermore, according to the same paper, “sleep disturbances could also impair a person’s cognitive performance or their capacity for exercise and increase the risk of exercise-induced injuries either during extreme and/or prolonged exercise or during team sports.”
It appears that poor quality sleep not only affects our ability to think and process information but can also increase the risk of injuries during physical activity.
If you want to enjoy restful sleep, make sure to get your daily dose of physical activity.
However, avoid exercising before you go to bed, as it will put you in a state of alertness which can lead to sleep disturbances.
Each of us is on its own quest for inner balance and peace, and one of the most effective ways to get there is through meditation.
Meditation is a thousand-year-old practice, initially thought of as a way of understanding the mystical and sacred forces that govern our world. Nowadays, meditation is widely used as an effective way to overcome stress and achieve relaxation.
This simple practice allows you to look beyond your thoughts and emotions and explore the depths of your consciousness. It is a technique that researchers from across the globe have studied extensively.
For example, a 2008 study concluded that meditation (along with other strategies) proves to be successful in treating insomnia.
Furthermore, a study on the relationship between meditation and sleep revealed that “REM sleep-organization was significantly different in senior meditators with more number of REM episodes and increased the duration of each episode.”
It appears that senior practitioners of meditation experience changes in REM sleep which indicates a direct relationship between meditative practices and sleep.
It’s incredible how something as simple and accessible as meditation can have such a profoundly positive effect on sleep.
Instead of scrolling through posts on Facebook or checking your e-mail before you go to bed, why not meditate for a couple of minutes!?
#4 Have a Cup of Chamomile Tea
Stress, fatigue, and other problems that may occur during our busy day can cause sleep disturbances. Fortunately, a simple, accessible, and natural solution to this problem is chamomile tea.
Chamomile is a plant whose flowers have been used for centuries to treat various health problems, from digestive disorders and menstrual cramps to migraines and sunburns.
I’m sure many (if not all) of us have heard about the beneficial effects of this natural remedy. Being rich in minerals such as calcium, zinc, and phosphorus, essential vitamins like B1 and C, chamomile flowers are one of nature’s greatest miracles.
Chamomile tea combats insomnia, chronic stress, and fatigue. If you had a rough day at the office and you find it difficult to relax and fall asleep, have a cup of chamomile tea (unsweetened) one hour after dinner.
Its pleasant smell and healing properties will put you in a state of calm and help you fall asleep in no time.
Yoga is an ancient practice that facilitates the union between body, mind, and spirit.
This technique is not just a collection of physical exercises and weird postures, as it is often misinterpreted, but a lifestyle that impacts both the physical body and the subtle layers of our consciousness, revitalizing the mind and the soul.
And since many of our sleepless nights are the result of stress, restlessness, doubt, and worry, yoga can be an excellent sleep remedy, as it brings clarity and peace of mind.
A 2014 study concluded that “Yoga was shown to be safe and improved sleep and QoL in a group of older adults with insomnia. Outcomes depended on practice compliance.”
Not only that yoga helps us sleep better, but it also has a positive impact on the quality of our life (QoL). However, as the author’s highlight, the beneficial effects of this practice depend on practice compliance.
In other words, if we want to enjoy the positive effects of yoga, we need to practice it regularly.
#6 Take a Warm Bath
When was the last time you took a warm, relaxing bath instead of a quick shower?
Since time is short and results are often our #1 priority, many of us have completely forgotten how relaxing, and ‘therapeutic’ a warm bath can be.
According to researchers, a warm bath can lead to “significant increases in sleepiness at bed-time, slow wave sleep, and stage 4 sleep.”
We always knew that warm baths could help us fall asleep faster and enjoy some well-deserved rest. And the fact that researchers have confirmed this popular belief should motivate us to take advantage of this wonderful habit more often.
To Sum Up:
If you’re having trouble falling asleep and getting those well-deserved ZZZ’s, try using the following tips:
- Keep a tight sleep schedule.
- Do at least 30 minutes of light-to-moderate physical activity.
- Meditate before you go to bed.
- Have a cup of chamomile tea one hour after dinner.
- Practice yoga on a regular basis.
- Take a warm bath.
Sleep better! Feel better! Live better!