Why Sleep is Important
Good quality sleep is vital to feeling sharp, productive and energized. But sometimes, a good night’s sleep can seem impossible to achieve with how active and busy our lifestyles are. Although you may not be able to control all of the things which can affect a good night’s sleep, there are some habits you can adopt to promote better sleep. From there, you’ll feel more energised and well on your way to a healthier you.
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep
1. Make sleep a priority- by putting sleep at the top of your list you can ensure you take the time to catch enough zzz’s.
2. Stick to a schedule- go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday even on the weekends and holidays. Being consistent with you sleep times establishes a rhythm and helps reinforce your bodies sleep-wake cycle.
3. Make it a ritual- doing the same things each night before bed can cue your body that it’s time to wind down. Try reading a book, listening to soothing music or enjoying a hot shower or bath as a part of your nighttime routine.
4. Watch your food and drink- going to bed hungry or over-full can leave you feeling uncomfortable and keep you awake. It’s also important to limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before going to bed. This is because caffeine and nicoteine have stimulating effects while alcohol, although it can make you feel sleepy, can be disruptive to sleep later in the night.
5. Avoid or at least limit daytime naps- Long day time naps can meddle with a good night’s sleep. If you do choose to nap during the day try to limit yourself to a 10-30 minute nap during the mid-afternoon.
6. Get moving- regular physical exercise can help promote sleep and is a key component to an active lifestyle. But timing is critical. If you try to exercise too close to bedtime then you might be too energized to fall asleep. So try to exercise during the day, not before bed.
7. Relax- There are several relaxation tricks you can try before going to bed. Some people like to visualise a relaxing scene, meditate; or try other techniques such as massage or deep breathing.
8. Get comfortable- Your sleep environment can have an influence on the quality of sleep. Make sure your bedroom isn’t too noisy, hot or cold, and that your bed and pillow are comfortable to you.
Mayo Clinic. Sleep tips: 7 steps to a better sleep. 2011. www.mayoclinic.com