5 Keys to Getting a Good Night Sleep
The average human who lives up to 79 years will spend about 26 years sleeping in their life sleeping.
That adds up to 9,490 days or 227,760 hours.
And as if that’s not enough, you’d also spend 7 years just trying to get to sleep.
But here’s the problem:
As technology advances and new apps and smartphones emerge, there’s a lot to distract us from getting a good night’s sleep.
Besides, there’s been a fad that we need to work more hours and sleep fewer hours.
All these external pressures and distractions make it even more difficult to sleep.
In this article, we will discuss the keys to getting a good night sleep so you can improve your health.
1. Have a bedtime routine
Our circadian rhythm plays an important role in determining how well we sleep. Let me explain.
The circadian rhythm, our body’s timekeeper for sleep.
For example, the circadian rhythm helps our bodies to respond to environmental cues which informs our bodies to feel sleepy or awake.
Think of it as the body’s natural clock that helps us to wind down and wake up.
In most situations, our bodies are used to normal bedtime routines like reading before sleep for half an hour before 10 pm or listening to music just before bedtime.
All these activities are cues the body recognizes as rituals before sleep.
You must find a bedtime routine that makes sense for your schedule. And stick to it.
There might be a few variations now and then but if you want to get a good night sleep, you’ll need to commit to a routine.
2. Exercise during the day
One research in the Journal of Physiology found that exercising helps to counter the negative effects of restlessness and have a more restful sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that helps sleep to occur. Its production rises in the evenings and falls during the day.
Per the study, exercising at 7 am or between 1 pm and 4 pm moved the body’s circadian rhythm to an earlier time.
Again, exercising between 7 pm and 10 pm moved the circadian rhythm backward.
This is to say that exercising at these times helps with the production of melatonin which will further induce sleep more naturally.
Shawn Youngstedt, the lead researcher of the study says:
“Exercise has been known to cause changes to our body clock. We were able to clearly show in this study when exercise delays the body clock and when it advances it.”
So take that opportunity to keep your body fit.
Your workout can be as simple as taking a walk or as intense as a HIIT workout or CrossFit workout.
But remember, avoid working out right before bed as this is most likely to keep you awake – the exact opposite of what you want.
3. Avoid bright light
If you can’t fall asleep, one thing you can do is to take a closer look at your bedroom.
Bedroom environments including ventilation, temperature, and color are key to having the perfect sleep-induced environment for any bedroom.
Take for lighting in the bedroom for example.
Research shows that even dim light can interfere with your sleep. And light is a major reason why people can’t fall asleep.
You can consider using dim red lights for night lights instead of blue light.
Dim red light is more powerful at suppressing melatonin secretion and helps you sleep better.
One study by Harvard researchers reported that blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light.
Also, blue light shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).
Stay away from bright screens around two to three hours before you go to bed.
4. Choose a better sleeping position
There are back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and side sleepers but the group of people who seem to have the best of sleep is the side sleepers.
This is because their airways are kept unobstructed all night long, the neck is well positioned and there is aided digestion.
Paying attention to your sleep position may unlock a new journey to sleep better.
5. Consider an electronic curfew
Mobile phones, TVs, laptops, iPads all tend to be great enemies to getting a good night sleep.
One study reported that almost 50 percent of American adults admitted to using technology in bed at least once a week.
About 30 percent use it every day. And even 21 percent of adults said they’re prone to check their device when they wake up at night before they go back to sleep.
Instead of playing video games, or busily scrolling through our Instagram feeds. Don’t do this.
That takes up much time than we even realize. Consider an electronic curfew, where you commit to turning off all devices at a certain time hours before bed.
Turn all these off or keep them in a different room when it is time to sleep to reduce any form of distraction.
Related: Shift Work Sleep Disorder: Everything You Need to Know