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Can’t Sleep? Here are 10 quick tips to fall asleep (Infographic) Published 02 January, 2019   Report Issue

Can’t Sleep? Here are 10 quick tips to fall asleep (Infographic)

Good sleep is at the center of a happy, long and healthy life. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Check out the infographic below to see 10 easy ways to fall asleep:

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“There is only one thing people like that is good for them; a good night's sleep.”

-         E.W Howe (American Novelist)

Keep your room well-ventilated, and at your ideal temperature.

Why does your room need to be well-ventilated? For more oxygen to come in, and lower levels of carbon dioxide. Big deal, you say? We get enough oxygen during the day, you say? Yes, but night-time oxygen is different.

In a recent study published in the journal Indoor Air, it was found that lower levels of carbon dioxide resulted in deeper sleep, more efficient sleep and less waking up in between.

 Temperature is important, especially to get quality sleep. Too hot, and you’ll be tossing, turning and sweating all night. Too cold, and you’ll keep waking up to gather the covers around you.

 Sleep means paying attention to temperature regulation. Be Goldilocks-level choosy and don’t rest till you arrive at the perfect temperature. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Try to set the night time temperature of your room to between 15 °C and 19 °C, or as cold as you find comfortable. This will automatically signal your body to go to sleep.
  • If your feet are cold, wear socks; otherwise, you will lose body heat and a good night’s sleep.

                Your mattress can help:

  1. A mattress with springs and coils between layers of foam can help keep sleepers cool longer.
  2. Latex is also good if you want to keep cool as you sleep.
  3. The firmer the mattress, the cooler the bed.
  • Choose your sheet material carefully: poly/cotton blends will hold heat, while cotton ones will feel cooler. Bamboo is a material that’s becoming more popular, as bamboo sheets stay cooler against the skin than cotton.
  • Buckwheat pillows are more cooling than cotton pillows.
  • Keeping a bedroom dark will not only keep light out of it when you’re trying to sleep but will also help to regulate the temperature in the bedroom.

 

Take a hot bath before bedtime.

A dip in the body temperature is what helps us fall asleep. Body temperature dips slightly at 1 pm, and it goes down even more in the evening. This drop-in body temperature contributes to us feeling sleepy. 60 – 90 minutes before bedtime, a hot water bath will raise the body temperature, and quickly drop it, leaving us feeling sleepy. 


Always follow a regular sleep routine.

Sleep doesn’t start the moment our heads hit the pillow. It starts about an hour before bedtime. Just like we cool down after a workout, we need to cool down after the activity of the day before we can sleep.

 Activities that will help to cool you down before sleep include:

  1. Taking a hot bath
  2. Reading a book
  3. Practicing relaxation exercises, and gentle stretches
  4. Avoiding physically and psychologically stressful activities before bed, which include discussing sensitive issues and work. All this contributes to the release of cortisol, a stress hormone which increases our alertness levels.


Avoid using the computer, smartphone, etc. right before you sleep.

Electronic devices that we normally use, like smartphones and tablets, commonly generate blue light.

While blue wavelengths are beneficial during the day as they improve reaction times, mood, and attention, attractive as these benefits are during the day; they are not what you want to experience when you are trying to sleep.

Exposure to this light at night reduces melatonin (a natural hormone that regulates the sleep cycle) levels.

Doing anything that’ll help you sleep is what we’re looking for.

Put your electronic devices away to get a good night’s sleep!

 

Reading a book helps.

This is an easy option if you find yourself lying awake, and you’re surrounded by books. Careful what you choose: e-books are out. Either choose an audiobook or a good old-fashioned paperback. Preferably, choose a book that you’ve already read before, and nothing too exciting. This works better if you actually enjoy reading books. Otherwise, you could try doing the crossword or sudoku.

 

Do regular exercise, but not within 3 - 4 hours of bedtime.

Exercise has a lot of benefits, and one of them is helping you to get deeper and better sleep. Since it produces cortisol (a hormone that keeps you alert), it’s better to exercise more than 4 hours before bedtime.

 

Don't have a heavy meal just before you sleep.

Because your body is busy digesting your food after a heavy meal, you won’t get that good quality deep sleep you need.

 

 Make sure your bedroom is clean and use a good quality mattress.

Since the bedroom is where most of us sleep, it makes sense for us to invest some time and money in making it an ideal environment for us to sleep in. This includes keeping it free of dust, pollen and dirt particles. The cleaner your bedroom is, the better the quality of sleep you’ll have.


Have a regular cleaning schedule in place to ensure that your bedroom is kept clean regularly:

  1. Wash your bedding at least once a week, and in hot water (130 °F/ to 54.44 °C) to get rid of dust mites.
  2. A window guard can reduce the amount of pollen, dust and dirt particles circulating in your room.
  3. Try to invest in a mattress topper to keep space between your body and the mattress. Have pillow casings for the same reason. This can help protect your lungs from dust mite allergens.


 A good quality mattress can help you sleep better. How do you choose one?

  1. Determine if you need to replace your existing mattress. A latex mattress can last longer than 12 years. A pillowtop or innerspring mattress might just about last you 7 years because you start waking up with a bad back because “you slept wrong.”
  2. Choose a mattress according to your sleeping style. There is no ‘one good mattress’ for everyone. You might want to choose the firmness levels of your mattress according to what position you like to sleep in.
  3. A good mattress will give your spine a good alignment. If your back doesn’t get good support, you’ll know soon enough, in the form of disrupted night sleep and doctor’s fees.

 

Limit your use of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar from 3:00 pm onwards.

  1.  While alcohol seems to help you fall asleep quicker, it can reduce quality sleep by reducing rapid eye movement (REM).In other words, while it looks like you’re getting a good night’s sleep, it’s actually quite disrupted, and alcohol after 3:00 pm cheating you out of the benefits you should be getting. Not unless your definition of quality sleep includes talking in your sleep, sleepwalking and having a memory like a goldfish.
  2. When caffeine is mentioned, the last thing anyone thinks of is sleep. Why? Because it’s a stimulant, and people use it to try and stop feeling sleepy. But you want to sleep, don’t you? So, avoid caffeine (chocolate (yes, all chocolate) tea, soft drinks, coffee, etc from 3:00 pm onwards for better sleep!
  3. High sugar levels after 3:00 pm can result in the continuous release of energy through the night, which makes it difficult to relax, and get quality sleep. Try not to eat anything really sweet after 3:00 pm.


Take supplements such as melatonin, if necessary:

 What’s melatonin? It’s a neurohormone that helps to regulate sleep.

When the pineal gland in the brain doesn’t produce enough of this hormone naturally, that’s when you need to consider supplements.

A lot of things can keep you from sleeping soundly, as you should: insomnia, jet lag, delayed sleep phase syndrome, stress, problems with your circadian rhythms, excess nighttime exposure to light and a whole lot more.

The release of melatonin in the bloodstream helps your body wind down and gets it ready for sleep. It does its good work within a good 12 hours.

If your body doesn’t produce enough melatonin, and you’ve tried everything else but nothing’s working, a melatonin supplement could help you out.

However, before you pop that pill, you might want to check with a physician to see if melatonin is right for you.

 If inadequate sleep is getting you down, try one of the solutions mentioned in this article.

One of them is bound to help you catch your 40 winks.

 

Resources:

  • https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/sleep
  • https://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx
  • https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20171127/seeking-better-sleep-open-a-window
  • https://consumer.healthday.com/sleep-disorder-information-33/misc-sleep-problems-news-626/seeking-better-sleep-here-s-one-simple-step-to-help-728763.html
  • http://www.naturalsleepmedicine.net/2012/05/24/does-a-hot-bath-help-sleep/
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  • https://www.plushbeds.com/blog/sleep-aids/reading-before-bed-the-natural-sleep-aid/
  • https://www.thecleanbedroom.com/10-steps-to-an-organic-bedroom
  • https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130118/alcohol-sleep#1
  • https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/caffeine-and-sleep
  • https://lifespa.com/sleep-interrupted-the-blood-sugar-and-sleep-connection/
  • https://nootriment.com/melatonin-effects/

 

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