Six ways to improve the quality of your sleep
Sleeping well is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Studies have shown that poor sleep has negative effects on brain function and hormones. In contrast, good sleep can help a person to be healthier and eat less.
Here are six ways one can improve their sleep.
Increase exposure to bright light during the day
The body has a circadian rhythm which is a natural time-keeping clock. It affects the body by helping you to stay awake and telling your body when its time to sleep. The circadian rhythm is kept healthy by exposure to bright or natural light during the day. It improves sleep quality and duration and increases daytime energy.
Daytime light exposure has improved sleep quality and duration in people with insomnia. The time to fall asleep was also reduced by 83%.
Exposure to blue light should be reduced during the evening
Blue light is emitted by electronic devices such as computers and smartphones in large amounts. It is beneficial to be exposed to the light during the day, however, nighttime exposure to the light has the opposite effect. This is caused by the circadian rhythm which makes the brain think it is still daytime. Hormones like melatonin become reduced, which helps with relaxation and deep sleep.
The methods to reduce blue light during the evening include:
- Turn off bright lights two hours before sleeping. Try not to watch too much TV during the evening
- Downloading apps like f.lux to block blue light from your computer
- Wear glasses that block blue light
Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day
There are numerous benefits to caffeine such as enhanced energy and focus. However, consumption of caffeine late in the day may prevent your body from naturally relaxing during the evening.
A study has shown that consumption of caffeine six hours before sleep has worsened sleep quality. If you have problems with sleeping, try to avoid consuming caffeine after 3pm. Rather consume decaffeinated coffee during the evenings.
Long and irregular daytime naps should be reduced
Short power naps can be beneficial, however, napping irregularly or for a long time may affect your sleep negatively. However, some studies have shown that those who usually take naps during the day will not experience poor sleep quality. Therefore, the effects of napping on sleep can vary between individuals.
Be consistent in sleeping and waking times. Long-term sleep quality can be assisted by keeping sleep and wake times consistent. Irregular sleep patterns affect the circadian rhythm, which also affect melatonin levels.
Optimise the bedroom environment
Factors such as noise, temperature, furniture arrangement and external light have an impact on sleep quality. Studies have shown that external noise can cause poor sleep quality and other health issues. The diminishing of lights and noise during sleep times is related to improved sleep quality.
Science supports exercise as a way to improve sleep and health. It reduces symptoms of insomnia and improves sleep quality. Studies have shown that for people with severe insomnia exercise reduced the time it took to sleep by 55% and increased sleep duration by 18%.
Good quality sleep should be prioritised because it helps keep the body healthy.
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