Chronic sleep deprivation, or not sleeping well enough throughout the night, can have significant negative effects on your health. It affects your mental and physical health as well as your day to day performance.
Many things can be the cause of sleep deprivation and it is important to find the root of your issue in order to fix it accordingly. Nothing is more detrimental in overall health than a lack of sleep. There are many ways to overcome insomnia, get a better quality sleep, and take effective naps throughout the day. Here are ten tricks and tips to benefit your health by improving your sleep.
A study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that reading on a screen that emits light supresses melatonin in the body, which is your sleep hormone. It also shifts the body’s sleep and wake cycles, reducing the quality of sleep.
Watching screens that emit light also stimulate the brain to wake up and stay alert. The human brain naturally relates the omission of light to sleep, so watching flickering lights gives the brain the opposite reaction. Stop spending time on your smartphone or tablet for at least an hour before bedtime.
Among other health benefits, exercise promotes a good night’s sleep. Exercising several hours before bed can make you sleep deeper and longer. It can also help you to fall asleep faster.
Exercising right before bed, however, is not suggested, as it wakes up the body more, making it take a longer time to relax and ultimately fall asleep.
It is commonly known that the turkey on Thanksgiving promotes a good night’s sleep, but there are other foods as well that are conducive to a quality sleep. Warm milk and chamomile tea are known to calm the brain, as are bananas, whole-wheat bread, and potatoes. Choosing the right carbohydrates will help your body relax at night.
Power naps are becoming increasingly popular as studies are recognizing their benefit. Some companies even offer sleep pods for their employees to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their work.
Recent studies have found that your body only requires the amount of sleep that the brain allows. As long as your brain is fully functioning, there is no requirement on the amount of sleep you need. However, your brain needs to get regular rest, and it is able to refresh itself in as short as 20 minutes. Short naps create a fresh burst of energy and can eliminate the need for caffeine throughout the day.
It can be very jarring to begin the day with a loud, alarming, beeping noise to get you out of bed. Oftentimes because of this, people choose to ignore their alarm clocks or hit the snooze button until it stops making noise. Alternatively, sleeping next to one alarm clock and having another active alarm clock across the room can help ease you out of sleep better. Use a gentle wake up noise with the alarm clock next to your bed, like the radio or some other noise that is not so alarming. Set another alarm clock across the room for a minute after the first, so you are required to get out of bed with the gentle noise and you know to turn off the loud alarm clock before it goes off.
Everyone has heard the phrase “sleep on it,” and there is good reason behind it. If you are struggling to make a difficult decision or solve a tough problem, letting your mind relax and sleep may bring new clarity to your issue.
If you are laying in bed trying to sleep and thinking about how tired you are going to be the next day because you are not able to relax is counterproductive. Rather than focusing on how awake you are, visualize yourself as being asleep. Turn your brain off from being active and thinking about the future or the past. Just think about the moment right there, in bed, falling alseep.
Holding something that will make a noise as it falls to the floor when you drop it will help you to take a short power nap, waking just before you hit a deep sleep. Put a plate underneath a chair and hold a metal spoon in between two fingers before falling asleep. As soon as your mind drifts off, you will drop the spoon onto the plate, therefore waking you back up refreshed.
Caffeine takes a little while to kick in, so if you drink a caffeinated beverage immediately before taking a nap, you will wake up with the dual benefit of having a little bit of sleep coupled with a jolt of caffeine. Rather than drinking a glass of water before your 2pm power nap, drink a soda instead, which will have positive waking effects on your brain as soon you as wake up.
Teach yourself how to realize you are dreaming when you have a nightmare. By keeping and reviewing a dream journal, you can study your own sleep patterns and teach yourself some tricks to find out you are in fact dreaming. Knowing that you are in fact dreaming as it is happening can alter the course of the dream. With practice, you are also able to take full control of your dreams. You can change your environment in the dream as well as your appearance. If you know you are in the middle of a nightmare, you can actually learn how to wake yourself up, letting your mind regroup before going back to a peaceful rest.
These tips will help to create a better night’s sleep. In turn, this will create less stress, and increased productivity and alertness. It also has physical health benefits such as keeping your heart healthy and your weight down. With increase cognitive functioning, you will have better learning ability and better memory tricks. Your body will be in better health along with your mind.
Have you tried yourself any of the above sleep hacks? Or perhaps you have your own tips for a better sleep you would like to share with us. Let us know in comments.
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!