It is said that approximately one-third of our lives are spent sleeping. With sleep being such an integral part of our lives, it is surprising and common that we usually don't get enough of it. Getting a good sleep means getting a full night of rest. For the average adult, this mean at least 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night. Here are some secrets for you to achieve a full night of sleep.
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule
It is important that we keep a consistent bedtime and wake up schedule. Your body has a natural rhythm that dictates your sleep patterns. Try it out! If you go to sleep and wake up artificially with an alarm clock around the same time each day, your body will pretty soon naturally wake itself up! No more need for alarm clocks! By sleeping on a regular schedule, your body will be more energized and refreshed, compared to sleeping at different times, even if you were able to achieve a full night's sleep. Even by altering your sleep pattern by plus or minus two hours, you will notice the difference compared to if you stayed in your schedule. If possible, always go to sleep and wake up at the same time. So for those who wake up consistently every morning due to a work schedule, be sure to wake up the same time on your off days as well. If for whatever reason, you were not able to maintain your schedule, don't worry about it. Just get back right on it when you're able to and after a couple days, your body will recognize and recalibrate its internal time clock again.
Get some sun
Our body naturally produces a natural hormone call melatonin, and the release of melatonin is controlled by exposure of light. When more light is exposed, your brain will secrete less melatonin because it wants you to be alert and awake. When it gets darker, your brain will release more melatonin to make you sleepy and relaxed. It is your brain and body's way of naturally telling you to get to sleep. Unfortunately, with modern technology and hectic lifestyles, our brains can get confused and could release an incorrect amount of melatonin which is not appropriate for the situation. For example, spending a long time indoors without sunlight can make us tired and sleepy. Or having too much light exposure at night from a computer monitor or television could keep us awake. In these instances, be sure to spend more time outside during sunlight. Or open more windows to allow natural light in. Also, don't forget to turn off your electronics earlier before you take to bed. This includes black lit devices such as your smartphone or tablet. By making sure your room is dark, your body will be signaled to increase your melatonin levels, allowing your body to be sleepy and tired.
Set your sleep space
It is important that we have a comfortable sleeping area in which one can fully relax into a deep sleep. If you can, always try to eliminate unnecessary noises that might keep you awake. It could be your loud neighbors, barking dogs, passing cars, or electronics in your household. If you're unable to remove these noises, there are still options! One is a white noise machine that you can specifically buy to drown out these harsh noises with a relaxing one. There are now also many smartphone applications that also provide these functionalities as well. If you prefer having no noise, then simple earplugs could suffice too. Besides the basics of cancelling out noise, don't forget to keep your room cool. It is always harder to sleep when you are feeling uncomfortable and suffocated by heat. A light fan could always work in this situation and it could be a white noise substitute too. Lastly, be sure your bed is comfortable. If you're waking up with a sore back or pain in your body, perhaps it's time to invest in a new bed. Everyone prefers a different level of firmness, so be sure to experiment and find the one that is most comfortable for you.
Eating well and exercising
What you put in your body and what you do with it can have a huge effect on how you sleep. When one exercises, they sleep deeper and better because their bodies are tired out from physical activity. The body knows how to naturally regulate itself. When it needs times to recover and heal, it will tell your brain to make you go to sleep. Ever notice why we get so sleepy when we are sick? It's because our body needs the time to rest up so it can get better. Applying this concept to exercising, when we exert physical activity and energy, our body will need the time to recover from it. A small caution; however, try to exercise during the daytime and avoid working out close to bedtime. For some, exercising too late can overly stimulate their bodies and prevent them from going to bed immediately. Besides exercising, it is also very important to watch what we eat. Avoid eating heavy foods at night because it may keep you up due to digestion. It probably is also not a good feeling to be laying down when one is feeling full from a meal. Also, try to avoid alcohol before bed because it could lower your sleep quality. Lastly, since caffeine is a stimulating drug, try to avoid all foods that contain caffeine in it.
With these sleep secrets; you will be sleeping in no time. Good night and sweet dreams!