We’re all aware that we are supposed to get eight hours of sleep every night. And yet, many of us struggle in bed every night- tossing, turning and calculating how many hours of sleep you will get if you fall asleep right away. When you wake up the next morning, you feel tired and fatigued as you drag yourself out of bed to get through the day.
If that sounds relatable to you, it’s time you take your sleep routine seriously and make the necessary efforts to promote restful, restorative slumber. Let's help you all know how to get good sleep and wake up feeling fresh.
For a healthy body, a good night’s sleep is as important as a balanced diet and regular exercise. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to solve all your sleeping woes and wake up feeling fresh and relaxed. Here's how to sleep well according to science:
The ideal room temperature for a good night’s sleep between 15 degrees C and 19 degrees C. A room that is too hot or too cold can mess with your sleep cycle. Make sure your bedroom has an optimal temperature so that you fall asleep faster.
A nightcap may seem like a good idea, especially if you have difficulty falling asleep, but remember when the effect of the drink is over, you are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to fall back asleep again.
A short daytime nap can help boost your memory and make you more productive at work, but make sure you are doing it right. Your daytime naps shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes and also shouldn’t be too close to your bedtime.
All that tossing and turning can be because of your uncomfortable mattress. Whether it is too small for you or it has lost its cushioning because it's too old, there can be many reasons why you don’t feel comfortable on that mattress anymore. Make sure you change your mattress every five to ten years.
According to experts, caffeine can stay in your blood for longer than you expect and interfere with your sleep cycle. Ideally, you shouldn’t be consuming coffee after 2 in the afternoon if you want to sleep well at night.
The more the blood vessels in your limbs dilate, the better you sleep. Wearing socks while sleeping is the best way to vasodilate your hands and feet, as it optimises your body temperature, regulates blood flow and body heat, thus helping you sleep better.
The quality of your sleep can directly affect the quality of your life. When you get enough shut-eye, you wake up feeling fresh and you are more productive throughout the day. On the other hand, when you do not get enough sleep, you end up feeling tired and fatigued throughout the day. Following sleep hygiene or healthy sleeping habits is very important to ensure that you get quality sleep. Here are a few key habits to follow:
One survey showed that exercising regularly in the day helps you sleep better at night. Adding even a few minutes of physical activity daily can do wonders to your sleeping patterns. However, make sure you are not doing any rigorous physical activity too close to your bedtime, especially if you have trouble sleeping.
Stick to a consistent sleep cycle even on holidays and weekends. If you stay up late on a Friday night and sleep in late the next morning, you disturb your body’s natural clock that makes it even more difficult to sleep on a Sunday night and wake up on a Monday morning.
Stress can be the biggest reason why you find it difficult to turn off your brain and relax at night. If you feel stress is disturbing your sleep cycle, start maintaining a journal where you can write down things that are bothering you. Do this every night before going to bed. When you write down your problems you are decluttering your brain and preventing yourself from overthinking your problems when you wind off for the day.
Before you wind off for the day, take some time out for yourself. Yoga, meditation and even praying will help you soothe your mind and sleep better. If this doesn’t work, try some simple breathing exercises. Deep breaths will help you calm your body and eventually relax.
From your smartphone to laptop and TV to kindle, make sure you shut off every device at least an hour before hitting the bed. Bright light sends signals to your brain that it is time to be awake and alert and hence disrupts your sleep.
Ideally, everyone needs 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, some people struggle to get that. Surprisingly, what you eat at night can have a great role to play in the quality of your sleep. Here are the foods that help you sleep and enhance sleeping quality:
Almonds help boost sleep quality. This is because they are a source of sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. Almonds are also a rich source of magnesium providing around 19% of daily magnesium requirement. Consuming a sufficient amount of magnesium helps sleep better, especially those who suffer from insomnia.
Some studies show that chamomile tea reduces anxiety and depression and improves sleep quality. Chamomile tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that promotes sleepiness. According to a study, women who consumed chamomile tea daily reduced symptoms of depression, which is commonly associated with insomnia.
Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acid and vitamin D that enhance sleep quality. A handful of walnuts is an adequate portion to eat before bedtime if you have trouble sleeping.
Kiwis are one of the best foods that help you sleep. Consuming two kiwis at least one hour before going to bed not only makes one sleep fast but also ensures sleeping through the night without waking up. Kiwis are rich in serotonin, the brain chemical that improves the sleep cycle.
Lettuce is rich in a compound called lactocin that increases sleep duration and also protects against damages done by stress during sleep disturbances.
Another food that helps you relax at bedtime is sweet potato. Eat it for dinner or as a post-dinner treat (with a dollop of honey) to sleep better.
Rich in vitamin B6 and magnesium, both of which enhance sleep, pistachios act as a sleep booster when consumed in the right quantity. Overeating pistachios can have opposite effects on your sleep cycle.
Though dark chocolates have several health benefits, they are most popular for being sleep boosters. Serotonin in dark chocolates relaxes mind and body and promotes a good night’s sleep.
Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium that serve as muscle and nerve relaxants. Bananas also improve the production of serotonin, the chemical that enhances relaxation and promotes sleep.
Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, and when eaten regularly before bed can improve the sleep cycle.
Oats trigger insulin production in the body. By raising the blood sugar level it makes you feel sleepy. They are also a rich source of melatonin that helps you fall asleep faster.
The natural sugar in honey raises the insulin level in the body like oats and makes you feel sleepy. Consuming a spoonful before bed is a great idea to sleep soundly.
Like food, your sleeping position also plays an important role in the quality of your sleep. Different sleep positions can have different pros and cons and while you may not be able to switch to a new position in one night, training your body every night to sleep in a correct sleeping posture is worth trying. Here are the best sleeping positions for a night of good sleep:
Fetal position is one wherein the back is curved and the limbs are drawn towards the torso. This is one of the best sleeping positions and is good for you if you suffer from chronic lower back pain. It also reduces snoring to a great extent.
Sleeping on your side, especially the left side reduces snoring, improves digestion and also reduces heartburn. You can also place a pillow between your legs to avoid lower back pain.
Sleep on your back if you want to get rid of hip and knee pain. This position also protects your spine.
Practising pre-bedtime yoga is a great way to start a healthy sleeping routine. Yoga helps you get in touch with your breath and relaxes your mind and body and thus help you sleep better. All you need is a pair of pillows and you are ready to go. Try these yoga poses for good sleep and wake up feeling fresh.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front. Bring the right foot to touch the inner left thigh. Bend forward and place the hands on either side of the left leg. Repeat on the other leg.
Sit on the floor and bring both your foot together in a way that the soles touch each other. Hold the feet or ankles with your hand. Bring the feet as close as possible to the groin. Bend forward from the hips with the spine still long. Breath in and out.
Sit straight on the floor. Bring your legs in a V position. Make sure your spine is straight. Bend forward from the hips with your hands touching your feet. Focus on your breath.
Rest your chest and belly on a couple of stacked pillows. Your knees should be apart and the toes should be touching. Rest one ear on the pillow and your arms on the sides of the pillow. Focus on your breath.
Place a pillow under your belly and lie down. Raise one leg and bring it to 90 degree angle to your hip. The other leg should be straight. Turn your head in the direction of the bent leg. Relax and focus on your breathing.
Lie down with your hands on your sides. For more support place a pillow under your things or knees. Close your eyes, relax and feel your breath as you inhale and exhale.
A. Ideally, an adult should get around 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
A. Anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, forgetfulness, diabetes, high blood pressure and lack of coordination.
A. Eat your dinner at least 3-4 hours before bedtime so your body has enough time to break down the food.
A. Your body may take 3-7 hours to metabolise a cup of coffee. So even if you are drinking your daily dose of caffeine in the afternoon, you may have trouble falling asleep at night.
A. Here are some changes you can adopt:
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