Six ways to improve the quality of your sleep

Sleeping well is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Six ways to improve the quality of your sleep

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.

Exercise regularly

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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World Rugby boss says international season could be over

World Rugby announced details of a $100 million relief package aimed at supporting the global game on Thursday.

World Rugby boss says international season could be over

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont believes it is a “distinct possibility” that the international rugby calendar could be scrapped this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The game’s global governing body on Thursday announced details of a $100 million relief package aimed at supporting the global game.

World Rugby exploring ways to return to playing

The organisation is also exploring a way to return to playing but the current global uncertainty led Beaumont to concede it may not be possible to hold any more fixtures this year.

“That is a distinct possibility,” Beaumont told The Times. “The pressures on the unions are getting greater and greater.”

Beaumont is standing for re-election as chairman of World Rugby but next month’s elections will see him go up against vice-chairman Agustin Pichot.

Ireland’s lock James Ryan (2R) gestures after the final whistle during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, on February 8, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

The former Grand Slam-winning England captain’s bid for a second four-year term took a hit when former teammate Clive Woodward backed the ex-Bristol and Argentina skipper.

Woodward’s assertion that “rugby would benefit from being viewed through the eyes of leader who is 45, not 68” rankled with Beaumont, who said: “What difference does the age make?”

“I played my rugby always as an amateur. Does that mean that I don’t understand the professional game?”

When asked whether he needed to move faster to make changes, he said his preferred method was incremental change.

“I am evolution, not revolution,” he said. “I am bidding to show a lead to colleagues, to take colleagues with me. I intend to be a leader. And I think I have been in the past.”

Beaumont’s running partner Bernard Laporte last week floated the idea of a yearly Club World Cup, an idea that could sound the death knell for the Champions Cup.

However, Beaumont added: “It was a misunderstanding. What I can see is a world club championship, but not an annual basis. That is the way we both look upon it.”

© Agence France-Presse

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