With so much emphasis being placed on diet and exercise, it might come as a surprise to many that good sleep practices may have as much of an effect on your health as any other habit. And that makes it an easy habit to neglect, to our own detriment.
This year, make it your mission to give your body the gift of healthy sleep, by learning how to sleep better, and you’ll see how much your body gives back to you: in energy, focus, and overall well-being. In fact, lack of sleep has been linked to the following serious conditions:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of developing cancer
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Risk of severe anxiety and depression
- Lack of physical energy, mental acuity, and libido
- A weakened immune system
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Faster aging process
How to Sleep Better – 5 practical tips to help you snooze
While it may seem that there is no magic trick on how to fall asleep instantly, or even how to get to sleep within 5 minutes, there are some healthy habits that will help you sleep better when practiced consistently over a period of time:
Eat food for good sleep
It may be time to skip that late-night leftover pizza, in favour of a bedtime snack that promotes good sleep. Certain foods activate sleep hormones and nurture a state of relaxation in the body. These foods include almonds and walnuts, chamomile tea, cherry juice, white rice, fatty fish and bananas.
Home remedies for good sleep
Before turning to synthetic sleeping pills to induce an artificial and exhausting sleep, give Mother Nature a chance by testing out some natural remedies that promote good sleep. Some of the top remedies that you can try are:
- Chamomile tea
- Kava root (not for long-term use)
- Tart cherries
- Melatonin supplement
- Passionflower tea or supplement
- Valerian root
- St. John’s Wort
Implement a Consistent Sleeping Schedule
When it comes to sleep, your body thrives on routine. We all have a routine that science calls a ‘circadian rhythm’. This is a sleep cycle that relies on consistency in order for your brain and body to enter the deeper levels of sleep that aid mental rejuvenation and physical healing.
To nurture a healthy circadian rhythm, stick to a strict bedtime schedule each night, and try to wake up as the sun rises. If you find that day-time naps affect your night-time sleep, try to shorten or eradicate power naps.
In addition to having a healthy sleep schedule, implementing a restful bedtime ritual is a powerful way to prime your mind and body for a good night’s sleep. Try the following:
- Switch your phone, laptop, and TV off 1-2 hours before bedtime. If you’re addicted to your mobile device, like most of us, activate the blue-light filter on your phone, or download an app that reduces blue light.
- Reduce alcohol, caffeine and cigarette consumption close to bedtime.
- Enjoy a relaxing warm bath or shower before bed, or soak your feet in hot water.
- Read a book, try gentle yoga and meditation, or visualization before bed, to calm your mind.
- Dim the lights – bright light stimulates the brain.
- Keep your bedroom sacred. Keep it clean and tidy, with fresh linen, soft lighting, black-out curtains, and try to incorporate white noise with a fan, humidifier or sleep soundtrack.
Daily exercise for great sleep
It does make sense that exhausting your body will help you fall asleep faster at night, but the effect that daily exercise has on the sleep cycle is also a chemical one. Daily exercise helps to balance hormones, as long as you don’t partake in rigorous exercise right before bedtime.
Practice makes perfect – become a sleep expert
Changing one habit at a time is going to be far more manageable than a total overhaul. Practice good sleep habits for an extended time to give your body and mind to adjust and reset, and start enjoying the healing and rejuvenating results of a great night’s sleep!
Of course, we are here for you if you think that your poor sleep cycle is related to an uncomfortable mattress, or a bed that is aggravating conditions like back pain or allergies. If you’d like to talk about great beds that enhance great sleep, give us a call!