Healthy Sleep Habits

It is a well-known fact that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health.

Proper sleep is one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system against diseases. Just imagine, after just one night of 4-5 hours of sleep, there is a 70% reduction in critical anticancer-fighting immune cells actually known as natural killer cells. Thus a lack of sleep  increases the risk of developing numerous forms of cancer.

It should be mentioned that he quality of your sleep also affects the process of making new memories. Without adequate sleep you can’t commit new experiences to memory. So all the new information you get just leaks through your brain and you end up feeling as if you’re amnesiac.

Moreover, a lack of sleep may lead to an increased development of a toxic protein in the brain that has everything to do with Alzheimer’s disease. As our body sewage system within the brain doesn’t work properly during deep sleep, more of that toxic protein builds up. So if you don’t get enough sleep, you are under the greater risk of getting dementia in later life.

It is also known that a lack of sleep affects the cardiovascular system because you receive the most wonderful form of effectively blood pressure medication during deep sleep at night. The heart rate drops and the blood pressure goes down. If you get 6 hours of sleep or less, you have a 200% increased risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke in your lifetime.

And last but not least, sleeping badly can even damage your relationships with others because it makes you angry, frustrated and aggressive. Of course, because you’re tired all the time! You start to lose interest in everything and your mood is choppy. That’s why everyone needs a proper sleep.

If you have any sleep problems or want to improve your sleep, try following these healthy sleep habits.

Good sleep tips

1. Keep up with your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle

  • Create a sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed every day at the same time. Your body will get into the habit of expecting to fall asleep at a specific hour so this consistency will improve the quality of your sleep. Stick to this schedule even on weekends, holidays, and vacations. If you get enough sleep, you should wake up without an alarm.
  • Avoid napping or try to sleep not more than 30 min during the day, as you might not sleep at night.
  • Don’t stand still. If you get sleepy after meals, don’t go to the couch and sit by there. Just do some activity, for example, wash the dishes, call a friend or dust the furniture. If you give in to the drowsiness, you will probably have sleep troubles at night.

2. Control your light contact

  • Spend more time outside during daylight from the very morning. Have your coffee outside. Eat breakfast at the cafe patio, weather permitting. Take your work breaks outside. Do outside workouts. Walk more with your dog during the day.
  • Let sunlight into your home or or workplace as much as possible. Always keep curtains open during the day and try to be closer to the window.
  • Avoid contact with bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light emitted by your devices is especially disruptive. The best advice is to minimize the blue light impact by using devices with smaller screens or turning the brightness down.
  • Forget about late-night television. The point is that many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Choose listening to calm music or audio books instead of TV. If you want to read before sleep, don’t use backlit devices.
  • Sleep in the dark room. Use blackout curtains to block light from windows or try a sleep mask. Also cover up devices that emit any light.

3. Be mindful about eating and drinking

  • Don’t eat too much. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed.
  • Don’t drink too much either. Drinking lots of liquids may lead to frequent bathroom trips at night. Also say ‘no’ to alcohol before bed.
  • Cut back on sugary and refined carbs and limit caffeine and nicotine. All that can disturb you sleep throughout the night.

4. Be active during the day

  • If you have regular workouts, you sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. You might be surprised but regular training also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
  • Regular exercise also speed up your metabolism, elevate body temperature and stimulate hormones such as cortisol. It’s ok if you work out in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed and it can disturb your sleep.
  • Try to finish intensive training at least three hours before bedtime. If you still have sleep problems, move your workouts even earlier. If you can train only in the evening, choose relaxing and low-impact exercises. For example, yoga or stretching. They can help promote sleep.

5. Create the best sleeping environment

  • Try to avoid any noise during the night. Be it neighbors, traffic or any other noise. Use sound machine, for example. Also earplugs may also help.
  • Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. These three points are essential for a good night sleep.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your should have enough place to turn comfortably without becoming tangled. Your pillow and mattress should also be comfortable otherwise you will have a sore back or an aching neck.

6. Forget about emotional baggage and clear your head

  • Stress and worries from you day can easily disturb you from falling asleep. Do something that relaxes you: drink a hot cup of tea, meditate or listen to calm music – it’s your choice.
  • Keep in mind that the more overstimulated you are during the day, the harder it can be slow down and unwind at night. Like you’re always interrupting tasks during the day to check your Instagram feed, or email, for example. And then when it’s time to go to sleep, your brain is already used to seeking fresh stimulation, it becomes difficult to calm down. The best advice would be to set specific times during the day for checking your phone and social media.

Nowadays many people’s priorities are work, money, family but we should never underestimate the value of adequate sleep. The better we sleep, the more productive we are during the day. These things are closely connected, so take care of yourself. Who, if not you?

Balance it and remember, whatever you do, you do it for yourself!