Updated: May 31, 2019
Numerous studies published in the last decade report on the significance of a good night’s rest to overall well-being. It is scientifically proven that sleep reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, and depression. Sleeps lowers high blood pressure, stress, and inflammation. It prevents migraines, diabetes, and cancer.
Quality sleep is intrinsic to a baby’s growth, essential for a child’s development, vital for high performance, and a necessary ingredient for achieving excellence while maintaining good health.
Here are 5 tips to help you get the best sleep, increase longevity, and ensure your highest productivity:
1. Reduce Daytime Naps
There is nothing better than a short nap after lunch, right? If you agree, you are among Winston Churchill, Napoleon, JFK, Albert Einstein, and others who praised a good nap as a tool to recharge and refocus during the day.
Biologists say that over 80% of mammals are polyphasic sleepers, which means that they sleep many times throughout the day. Humans represent the minority, as they are monophasic sleepers with their days split into a sleeping time and time of wakefulness.
A study published in the research journal Sleep looked at the effects of different nap lengths and their benefits. It concluded that a short, 10-minute nap was beneficial to cognitive performance and rest that lasts for 30 minutes or longer resulted in sleep inertia, which is the period of drowsiness that an individual experiences after waking up.
2. Create and stay on your sleeping schedule
Experts on sleep advise us to wake up and go to bed at consistent times to get the most out of our sleep. Irregular sleeping patterns may lead to chronic fatigue and leave us feeling out of balance, so making a conscious effort to establish a regular sleeping routine is worthwhile.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests making gradual adjustments until you figure out the times that work best for you. Be patient and persistent in creating a plan that you can always follow.
Once you set up a schedule, the key is to stay on track and enjoy its perks: perform better, be more energetic, and feel more in control throughout hectic days.
3. Do not consume alcohol or overeat at dinnertime
We all enjoy a nightcap every now and then. While booze may help you relax and drop off as it releases a chemical called adenosine, it can disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. It blocks REM sleep, which is considered to be the most important kind of sleep.
Alongside with liquor, big dinners are enemies of a proper night’s rest. If you toss and turn for hours on end before dozing off, large portions of food before bedtime might just be the cause of your problem.
Dietitians recommend a dinner that counts 500 calories or less, including lean meat and vegetables. Stay away from gas foaming foods and spicy dishes to avoid problems with digestion and heartburn.
4. Work out regularly
A study on adults with insomnia found that patients who worked out moderately slept better and longer than the ones who were physically inactive. People who exercised felt better rested after waking up and could fall asleep faster than those who did not.
On the other hand, working out before bedtime can cause you to have trouble falling asleep, so you should avoid late runs and weight training at least 3 hours before going to bed.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that a quarter of people who don’t exercise lack energy and feel sleepy throughout the day and about 44% of them are at moderate risk of sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder that disrupts your breathing, makes you snore and wake up tired.
5. Create peaceful and cool sleeping environment
Our circadian rhythm keeps us in tune with a 24 hour day. Our internal clock tells us when to fall asleep and when to wake up. Dim the lights at night and open the curtains in the morning. This can help you keep your circadian rhythm in check.
Keep your room cool to get the best quality sleep. The Sleep Council suggests maintaining the temperature of 16-18°C (60-65°F) in the bedroom, adding that the elderly and children might need a slightly warmer environment.
Put all your gadgets away before hitting the hay. The noise, light, and notifications can be disruptive to sleep and cause restlessness. Try reading instead of watching TV before bedtime or breathe mindfully to help you relax before dozing off.