Does it matter if I sleep at 2 am and wake up at 6 am? Or that I'm sleep deprived every day? Yes. Especially if this kind of bad habit goes on over a long period of time. Long term sleep deprivation can cause moodiness, fatigue, irritability, depression, difficulty learning new concepts, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, as well as other health problems. Yikes! So what now? No worries, we've got 10 tips of sleep practices that can help you have a healthier sleep habit:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day - even on weekends. This will help regulate your body's internal sleep clock and help you fall asleep easier and deeper.
2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
Conduct your routine activity right before bedtime away from bright lights. This can help you separate activities that can cause excitement, stress, or anxiety which can make it more difficult for one to fall asleep or achieve deep, restful sleep.
3. Avoid Naps.
If you're already having issues with falling asleep, then you should definitely avoid naps, especially during the afternoon. Power naps that are about 15-25 minutes can definitely help you get though the day, however napping too long can make it much more difficult to fall asleep at night. However, if you noticed that even with short catnaps you are unable to fall asleep easily at night, then perhaps it would be beneficial to eliminate naps completely from your daily routine.
Exercising daily, whether for a long or short period of time, can help improve your sleep and help you fall asleep easier. Just make sure you don't exercise too close to your sleeping time, as the adrenaline from a workout may prevent you from falling asleep.
5. Evaluate your sleeping environment.
Check to see that your bedroom is free from distractions such as noise and light. Be aware of any factors in your bedroom that can prevent you from falling asleep. Some people have considered using blackout curtains, eye mask, earplugs, humidifiers, etc. to help improve their sleep environment to promote better sleep.
6. Sleep Comfortably
Make sure that the mattress and pillow you're using is a good fit for you. Perhaps the mattress you've been using has exceeded its life expectancy - about 10 years if it is a good quality mattress. If that's the case, it's probably time for a change. The type of pillow you use should also be comfortable. If you notice pain or soreness from sleeping on your pillow, then you may need to switch to another type of pillow or in some cases opting out completely from using a pillow - to help improve your sleep. Also, make sure that the material used for your sheets and mattress/pillow covers are comfortable for you.
7. Manage your circadian rhythms.
How? Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
8. Avoid Certain Foods
Alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Also, eating a spicy or big meal may cause discomfort and indigestion that can lead to restless sleep. If possible, avoid eating anything two to three hours prior to going to bed.
9. Winding Down
Shift into sleep mode by doing a relaxing activity such as reading a book. For some, it's best to avoid using the laptop or smart phone prior to sleeping as the light from the screen can activate the brain, making it harder to fall asleep. If possible, avoid using electronics prior to going to bed. Make sure your bedroom is used mainly to sleep, as having your office in the same room can prevent one from achieving restful sleep.
10. If you still have trouble sleeping...
If you're still having trouble sleeping, it could be because your body is lacking important minerals in your diet, such as magnesium, and needs the help of additional health supplements. Don't hesitate, speak to your doctor or a sleep professional to find out more on what you can do to attain a healthier sleep cycle.