A good night's sleep is the secret to leading a healthier and happier lifestyle. The quality of our sleep determines our mood. Lack of sleep can make us moody and affect our thoughts and emotions too. So, a neurologist from Standford University named Brandon Peters-Mathews, decided to help. Here are some simple tips, backed by science, that could actually improve the quality of your sleep.
But, before we reveal the steps, here are some important things that you must know about sleep and how important it is for our overall well being.
Our sleep pattern changes as we grow older.
According to research, an individual's sleep pattern needs change over one's lifetime. Toddlers typically require 11-14 hours of sleep to feel rested where as an adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep daily in order to avoid the side effects of sleep deprivation.
A survey suggests that 35%-40% adults sleep less than 7-8 hours on weekdays. This self-reported sleep data reveals that sleep deprivation takes a toll on us physically which then leads to sleep disorders like insomnia.
Sleep deprivation is bad for your brain.
Studies suggest that lack of sleep wreaks havoc on the brain. It affects our mood, worsens depression, affects our memory, judgement, organisational skills, concentration and performance. It also affects our hormones that are responsible for weight and growth.
Sleep deprivation can be deadly because according to research, those who sleep fewer than five hours per night are at a higher risk of getting a heart attack.
So, if you generally have trouble sleeping at night follow these simple steps suggests by Mr. Brandon, that have been scientifically proven to improve quality of sleep.
1. Prioritize sleep and make sure you obtain sufficient hours to feel rested.
Take an hour out to unwind with relaxing activities before going to bed to ensure an easy transition of sleep.
2. If possible, don't use electronic devices, at least an hour before going to bed.
Avoid using electronic devices, 1 hour before going to bed because they act as a distraction.
3. Maintain a sleep-wake schedule and fix your wake time, even during weekends.
If possible, follow a routine. Fix your sleep time and wake up time and try to stick to it.
4. Try to get 15-30 minutes of sunlight every day after waking up or at sunrise.
Sunlight provides our body with essential vitamins so it is important to soak in some morning sun for sometime. It helps regulate our sleeping patterns and to set you in motion.
5. Delay bedtime for sometime longer if you have to but it is advised to always go to bed feeling sleepy.
If you aren't tired, don't waste time tossing and turning in bed. Go to bed only when you are feeling sleepy and tired so that you doze off, as soon as you hit base.
6. Consider reducing the time in bed, if more than 30 minutes is spent being awake.
Don't hang around in bed for more than 15 minutes after waking up. Instead, start your day early, this way, you'll have more time in hand to be more productive.
7. Exercising daily is important, even if it means doing it for 30 minutes.
Staying physically active is equally important. Working out will tire you and refresh your mind. It helps the mind to calm down and think clearly.
8. Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
Having more than 2-3 cups of caffeine is not advised. Alcohol also should be consumed in moderation. Over consumption can disturb sleep pattern and quality of sleep.
If these tips don't work, meet with a board-certified sleep physician. Chronic insomnia can respond well to cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. You can easily get access to this treatment via trained therapists, workshops, books and online courses.
So, consider making these changes mentioned above to yield long-term benefits for your health.