Health & Fitness

How To Get Good Sleep

Sleeping well requires a combination of factors. If you’re struggling to get restful sleep, make changes one at a time until your sleep improves.

Regular sleep patterns are important for a good night’s sleep. Try to keep the same schedule for going to bed and waking up each day. A relaxing wind down routine is important, too.

Sleep On The Right Side

There are many ways to improve the position of a side-sleeper to achieve a more restful night’s sleep. Sleeping on the left side can improve circulation and reduce pressure on the liver. However, if you are suffering from heart disease, this is not the best position.

Sleep Health Blog

In a 2018 study, people with heart failure who sleep on their right side experience improved blood flow. This position also helps prevent a heart attack, especially in people with chronic high blood pressure and other heart conditions.

If you suffer from back pain, it is best to sleep on either your left or right side. This will reduce the pressure on your spine and hips. You should always use a firm mattress and pillow to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Sleeping on your left side can make it easier to breathe, which could reduce snoring. It may also help with mild sleep apnea. It can also help with acid reflux and heartburn, although you may want to avoid the position if you have GERD or are pregnant.

The fetal position is the most common side sleeping posture, where you curl up into a ball like a fetus in the womb. Another popular option is the log position, where you sleep with your legs extended and erect, just like a log. This position promotes a healthy spinal alignment, however it can put pressure onto the shoulders and hips. Place a pillow under your knees. This will help maintain a neutral spine and support the hips.

Avoid Bright Lights

Light is one of the main influences on your circadian rhythm, which is the set of physical patterns that follow a daily schedule. When the circadian rhythm gets off track, you may struggle to fall asleep at night and feel tired during the day. Bright lights can mess with your internal clock. Avoid them at night, and turn off all electronics one hour before you go to bed.

Bright lights suppress melatonin which is a chemical that causes sleepiness. It also reduces dopamine production, a neuromodulator which supports motivation and concentration. To prevent this from happening, dim the lights and keep electronics away from your bedroom.

Keeping the light off will improve your sleep quality by ensuring you spend more time in REM cycles, which is important for maintaining mental and physical health. If you are used to sleeping with the lights on, gradually work up to sleep without the lights by moving your bed into a dark room and using blackout curtains to limit light seepage.

In the hours leading up to sleep, try using red or yellow-tinted glasses to block blue light. You can buy a set online or at many eyecare centers. You can limit screen time one hour before bedtime and consider putting a protective laptop or phone case that emits yellow tint.

Turn Off Electronics

It is common sense that you should turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. Many people do not take this advice seriously. Electronic devices emit a bright light which can keep you awake, but also suppresses the secretion melatonin. Melatonin is required for sleep.

Melatonin regulates your body’s clock, which is responsible for the timing of sleep-wake cycles. Use of electronic devices in late evening can delay the process and make it difficult to fall asleep.

This is why it’s important to put away your phone and other electronics and enjoy a relaxing bedtime routine. Reading a book or watching a TV show that doesn’t make you think too much can help to wind down your brain and prepare it for sleep.

If you must use your electronic device late at night, reduce your exposure to blue light. You can do this by changing your screen settings, downloading apps that alter the color of your display in the evening, or even by wearing amber-tinted sunglasses.

It can be hard to break the habit to use electronics before bedtime, but with practice and time it will become easier to get a good sleep. You can also avoid having your electronic device within reach by putting it in another room or on airplane mode, and disabling the notifications so they don’t distract you from getting to sleep.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine can make us feel energized, alert and awake in the morning. But too much caffeine can cause difficulty sleeping. When caffeine is consumed, it blocks the effects adenosine – a neurotransmitter which promotes relaxation and sleep. Caffeine can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, if you awaken during the night. It also increases the need to urinate, which can disrupt sleep.

The Sleep Health Blog says the best time to avoid coffee is when you are trying fall asleep. It says that avoiding caffeine at least 6 hours before you plan to go to bed is ideal, but the exact timing depends on how sensitive you are to the stimulant. It suggests that you reduce your caffeine intake to see if it affects your sleep.

It’s also recommended to only use caffeine when you need energy and focus, such as on days or during workouts that require high performance. You can develop a tolerance to caffeine by limiting its use. This will also help you get the restful, deep sleep you need. Other important sleep habits include creating a sleep conducive environment (such as keeping your bedroom cool, dark and quiet) and using relaxation techniques before bed.

Get Regular Exercise

Most people require a good night of sleep to feel rested, energized and ready for the day ahead. It can be difficult to get enough sleep, especially if your schedule is busy. There are simple steps you can do to improve your sleeping.

Regular exercise has a number of benefits, including helping to improve sleep quality. In addition to improving endurance and reducing depression risk, it can increase the length of slow-wave sleep. It’s best to try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day — or a similar amount of moderate activity — each week. Try different times to find the routine that works best for you. Be careful not to disrupt your sleep.

To achieve this, it’s important to have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time every day. It’s important to keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule every day.

A consistent sleep-wake routine helps to set your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This regulates your mood and energy levels throughout the day. Limiting your intakes of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and salt is also important. This can help prevent many health problems including high blood pressure and heart disease.

Keep Your Room Dark

A dark bedroom is necessary for good sleep. Light can interfere in the production of the hormone melatonin which regulates your sleep-wake pattern. Sleeping in a dark room can also help you wake up less during the night and prevent you from feeling tired during the day.

You can achieve a dark room by investing in blackout blinds or curtains that block any outside light. You can also remove anything from your bedroom that gives off light, such as a digital clock or nightlight. Consider using a red bulb as a nightlight instead of a regular bulb to reduce your exposure to blue light, which can disrupt circadian rhythms.

You can also try placing a rolled-up towel under your door to stop light from passing through. This is a good solution for people living in apartments who can’t install window treatments.

If you want to teach your children to self-settle or if they need to sleep during the day, work shifts, or are sensitive to light, a dark bedroom is essential.

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