We all know the value of sleeping well, and we’ve all experienced the feeling of being refreshed after a good night’s sleep – and the feeling of fatigue after a poor night’s sleep. But even though we know this, in our busy society, many of us are not getting the quality sleep needed to truly receive the health benefits of sleep.
Keep your Melatonin Levels Balanced
Melatonin is a hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Increase your light exposure during the day by spending time outside and letting light into your home and workspace. In the evening, limit your reading on backlit devices and try turning off computers, TVs and mobile devices at least an hour before bed.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.
Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.
Keep it cool.
Temperature in the bedroom is a little bit of a Goldilocks situation: A room that’s too hot and a room that’s too cold can both mess with your sleep. Aim for somewhere between 16 to 21 degrees Celsius.
The scent of lavender has noted benefits for sleep. A small 2005 study found that a sniff before bed led to more deep sleep. And a 2008 study found that lavender helped women with insomnia fall asleep more easily, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Know when to contact your doctor
Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.
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