For one’s general overall health, ensuring sleeping well at night is vitally important – just as important as eating healthy and exercising regularly. The very latest clinical research shows that having a poor night’s sleep has a detrimental effect on your brain function, exercise performance, and your hormones. In some instances, it can also cause you to gain weight. In contrast to this, it has been shown that a good night’s sleep can help you to be healthier, exercise better, and eat less.
With the appearance of modern technology, such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, in our bedrooms the nation’s quality of sleep has seriously declined, with many people admitting to having a poor night’s sleep more often than not. If this sounds very much like you then do not worry as there are a number of things that you can do to improve your sleep and wake up in the mornings feeling well rested.
Minimize blue light exposure at night
While being exposed to light during the day is actually beneficial for your health and sleep, being exposed to light at night actually has the opposite effect on your body. This has to do with how the light impacts on the body’s circadian rhythm, making your brain think that it is daytime when it is not. This results in certain hormones, such as melatonin, that are responsible for making you feel sleepy being suppressed.
Electronic devices like computers and smartphones that people tend to use in bed at night give off a large amount of blue light, completely knocking your circadian rhythm out of sync. However, there are a number of things that you can do to counter the effects of these types of devices. This includes wearing blue light blocking glasses, using blue light blocking apps, and not watching TV for at least two hours before you go to bed.
Go to sleep and wake at the same time each day
The circadian rhythm of your body is set on a loop that aligns itself with the sunrise and sunset of where you are. By having a set time that you go to bed and wake up each day, you can help to increase your chances of getting a better night’s sleep. In fact, the latest studies show that those individuals who have irregular sleeping patterns and went to sleep late during the weekend reported to have poor quality sleep.
Other similar studies also highlight that by having an irregular sleep pattern, you are changing your circadian rhythm and the levels of melatonin (the sleep chemical) released. If you are struggling with the quality of your sleep, you need to get into the habit of going to bed and waking up in the morning at similar times. After a number of weeks of doing this you will no longer need an alarm clock to wake you up.
There are a variety of supplements out there that one can take in order to make you feel more relaxed and ready to sleep. These include the following:
- Lavender – this is a herb that is very powerful and has several health benefits. This includes making you feel more calm and sedentary in order to improve sleep. Prior to going to bed, you should take between 80 and 160 mg.
- Magnesium – this substance is actually involved in more than 600 different reactions within the human body, so is very important for overall health, as well as for feeling relaxed and good sleep.
- Ginkgo biloba – this is a natural herb that has many many different health benefits, including aiding sleep, reducing stress, and increasing a feeling of relaxation. For the best results, take 250 mg between 30 minutes to 1 hour before going to bed.
- Valerian root – there have been numerous studies that show it can help you to fall asleep and improve the overall quality of your sleep. You should take 500mg of it just before heading to bed.
- Glycine – countless scientific studies show that taking 3 mg of this amino acid can greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
- L theanine – this is an amino acid that can improve both relaxation and sleep. To get the best effect, you should take between 100 and 200 mg just before going to bed.
It is important for your health that you only take these supplements one at a time and never use them in conjunction with one another. None of them on their own are a silver bullet for curing your sleep issues, although combined with other sleep strategies, may enable you to get a better night’s sleep.
Get a comfortable bed, pillow, and mattress
The quality of the bed that you sleep on has a huge impact on the quality of sleep that you get. There have been various studies showing the many benefits of sleeping on a new mattress for a month. These include reduced back and shoulder pain, reduced stiffness, and improved quality of sleep. However, to fully reap these benefits, you need to ensure that you are sleeping on a mattress that is the right size for you. This handy guide with bed sizes in inches is useful in helping you determine which size mattress you need.
There are other scientific studies which show that new bedding can also have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Equally, poor quality bedding is not good for sleeping in and can even cause pain in the lower back. This is why it is recommended that you purchase new bedding every five to eight years.
Other sleeping strategies to adopt
There are a number of other strategies that you can adopt in order to get a good night’s sleep. These include increasing your exposure to light in the day, consuming less caffeine later on during the day, avoiding daytime napping, taking a melatonin supplement, not consuming alcoholic drinks, optimizing your bedroom environment making it more relaxing for your eyes and for your mind as well, having a comfortable bedroom temperature, and not eating too late.