To stay in good mental and physical health, have a good quality of life, and avoid an increased risk of injury you need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. It is often tempting to sleep as little as possible because of our dedication to work and other responsibilities. This can however affect our health and weaken our performance.
Poor sleeping habits can increase various medical conditions such as: Diabetes, weight gain, mental health diseases, heart disease and memory problems, however, getting enough sleep can reverse the increased risk of these diseases.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to adopt healthy sleep patterns with the following sound advice:
- Get more exercise
Early morning exercise like going for a brisk daily walk boosts sleep hormones.
- Calming bedroom
The bedroom should not be an office. Keep all electronics in a separate room. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool. This will promote sleep onset.
- Adjust your eating habits
Do not eat a big meal within two or three hours before bedtime. If you are hungry eat a small healthy snack such as an apple or a few whole-wheat crackers.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Avoid eating and drinking anything that is a stimulant, such as coffee, alcohol and chocolate. You may think alcohol does not make you sleepy but it will disrupt the sleep. Also avoid spicy or acidic drinks which could give you heartburn.
To forget about daily worries like bills, work and other business you have to practice to relax. Try deep breathing exercises. Inhale slowly and deeply, and then exhale.
- Power naps
Research has shown that taking regular 20-minute power naps might be beneficial to your heart health. It also helps with long-term memory improvement, enhanced brain function and increased creativity.
Did you know?
Pilots in the US Navy fall asleep within 2 minutes or less, even sitting up. If you find it difficult to fall asleep, try this method which you can master within a period of only 6 weeks:
- Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
- Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
- Exhale, relaxing your chest.
- Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
- Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene.
- If this doesn’t work, try saying the words “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes other health factors might be the cause of us not getting enough sleep every night. If you think you might be suffering from restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea or reflux, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for an evaluation.