Sleep is a naturally occurring phenomenon and an essential element in everyone’s life. Getting an insufficient sleep can definitely affect one’s recovery and can create lot of disturbances in person’s wellbeing. Here are eight different things you can do for obtaining better quality sleep.
1. Stay in bed longer: Even if you find difficult to sleep, attempt to sleep for at least 7-8 hours and more than that if possible. This would help to improve your melatonin level and keep your cortisol level balanced in your body.
2 Regular Sleep schedule: Follow a regular schedule of going to bed at night and waking up in the morning and try not to break this routine on weekends by attempting to stay late. This is also applicable for waking up during weekends. If you have lost few hours of your regular sleep, try to take a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This would be helpful and not disturb your natural sleep-wake rhythm. For older adults, insomnia is a common problem and hence taking a nap of thirty minutes only (if required) during early afternoon is fine, rather than staying awake at night. If you feel sleepy before your regular bedtime, then do some mild stimulating activity such as light walk, calling a friend, making a schedule for next day. Drowsing before your regular bedtime would have trouble and make you awake at night.
3 Eating Well: Refined foods and sugars frequently would raise cortisol levels, which further would lead to adrenal problems. This can further cause sleep disturbances. So eating well-balanced diet consisting of whole foods, drinking purified water and minimizing intake of refined foods would help you to sleep better and overall greater health. Furthermore, eating early at night and having small snack high in protein (if you feel urge to eat at night), such as handful of raw almonds would help to achieve a good quality sleep. Avoid sugary foods such as cereal, which can make difficult to fall asleep and can cause you to wake up early in middle of the night.
4. Restrict Stimulants: Having caffeine interferes with sleeping pattern and can cause sleep disturbances. So avoiding it or minimizing from your diet would be beneficial.
5. Get an Adrenal Stress Index test: People with sleeping difficulties often have weak adrenals, and therefore problems with their blood sugar levels. Doing an Adrenal stress index test would help to determine your cortisol levels and can give clues for sleeping difficulty, low energy in morning. Appropriate therapy can then be prescribed for adrenal support.
6. Exercise: Doing exercise will keep you in good shape and benefit your overall health. In addition, exercise will also help in getting better sleep. Aim for time of the day you would like to exercise such that it does not harm your sleeping pattern.
7. Nutritional supplements/herbs: Certain supplements may help with sleeping and obtain better quality sleep. Natural herbs such as Ashwaganda and/or Rehmannia can help people with elevated cortisol levels at night, which can interfere with sleep. Use of such supplements/herbs to be done until the condition is corrected. However, use of such nutritional supplements/herbs need to be restricted and should be taken only after consultation with doctor.
8. Read before sleep: Reading a book or magazine is a non-stimulating activity and may help you to relax. Reading should be done in low light and not from backlit devices or gadgets.
Following these tips would definitely help you and fall asleep easier. Though, it’s not easy to adopt these changes in sleeping habits instantly. However, if you incorporate and make most of above changes it would most likely bring out some positive changes and improve your overall quantity and quality of sleep.