Did you know that poor sleep can have adverse effects on your health? When your body lacks full rest, it is denied the opportunity to recover from the demands or stress placed on it, resulting in poor function the following day.
Poor sleep can lead to:
So how exactly do you achieve a better night’s sleep? Your body has a natural time clock called circadian rhythm. Things like sunlight and hormones keep this time piece ticking allowing you to sleep better at night and function better in the day.
The following are suggestions to maintain a fluid circadian rhythm. Everyone is different, so learn what works best for you:
Increase exposure to natural light
Studies show that two hours of natural light exposure increases the amount of sleep by two hours and improves sleep quality by 80%.
Decrease exposure to blue light
Blue light is found in electronic devices such as TVs and mobile phones and can trick the circadian rhythm into thinking its daytime. Reduce blue light by turning off the TV and bright lights two hours before bedtime and by wearing glasses or downloading mobile apps that block blue light.
Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeine can remain in the bloodstream for six to eight hours. The stimulant that provides numerous benefits in the daytime can worsen your sleep quality at night. If coffee is what you crave in the afternoon, make it decaf.
Reduce daytime naps
Daytime naps are the best if you are not a toddler. However, anything longer than 20 to 30 minutes may disrupt your best sleep at night.
Maintain a regular sleep routine
Irregular sleep patterns can affect your circadian rhythm and confuse your brain and body. Even on weekends, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time as weekdays.
Alcohol has been shown to decrease hormone production like melatonin and HGH.
Optimize your bedroom environment
The bedroom environment can play a big role in sleep quality. Furniture arrangement and cleanliness provides a relaxing atmosphere.
Avoid late meals
Individually or any combination of quality, quantity and timing of a late day snack may influence your quality of sleep. Be mindful of what you choose.
Relax your body and mind in the evening
Relaxation techniques can improve sleep quality. Try meditating, deep breathing, listening to relaxing music, reading, taking a hot bath or visualization.
Exercise regularly and earlier in the day
Daily exercise can increase total nightly sleep time by 18%. Exercise also reduces wakefulness by 30%. Exercise timing is crucial as exercise releases stimulating hormones which counter your desire to rest. Plan your physical activity as far away from bedtime as possible.
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