Few readers contacted me seeking advice for better sleep. Besides getting the right mattress and pillow, it is important that we avoid some bad habits before and during sleep. In this post, I will talk about some things that we can change very easily and can have a big impact on our health.
Importance of bright light exposure
It is true that we all have a body clock which is scientifically known as the circadian rhythm. This ‘clock’ affects everything in your body, including the brain and your hormones, and it is extremely important when it comes to sleep. This is because the circadian rhythm essentially tells you when you should go to sleep. It also improves daytime energy for your body as it’s when you need it most. In order to help your clockwork more efficiently, you should make sure you get as much sunlight exposure during the day as you can. During winter which is not that easy, you can get an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
Avoid blue light exposure before sleep
We all are obsessed with our mobile phones or tablets. I do too, usually lie on my couch with my tablet checking my social media before I head to bed. You should know that this is a VERY BAD habit and you should stop doing it.
As I mentioned above, light exposure in the evenings can affect your circadian rhythm. The worse type of light is the Blue Light, and guess what, it is the kind of light your laptop and mobile phone emits. There are few ways to avoid blue light when using your devices late at night.
Laptops: Both Windows and Mac computers have settings that block the blue light. You can enable them in the display settings menu.
Mobile Phones: You can download apps that block blue light on your smartphones.
The importance of consistent sleeping times
Our body clock aligns itself with sunrise and sunset. That means that being consistent with the times you go to bed can really help your body clock in the long term. More specifically, studies found that people who went to bed very late during the weekend had poor sleep during the week. In general, make sure you are consistent with your sleeping patterns and you will definitely see improved results with time.
Alcohol and food before sleep
We all go out and drink during the weekends and many times we grab food right before we go to bed! According to some studies, alcohol can cause you to snore during sleep and even cause sleep apnea. Moreover, alcohol is connected with disrupted sleep patterns.
Food before bed is also not advisable. If you eat before you go to bed you might experience poor sleep and feel that you haven’t rested. This is because a late meal can negatively affect the natural release of the growth hormone and melatonin. However, a high carb meal can make you fall asleep quickly but in general, make sure you don’t eat for at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
Exercising before bed
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself and it can definitely help you get better sleep. In order to get the benefit though, you should make sure that you exercise regularly and not late at night. If you do that then you will definitely see your fall asleep times reduce and the quality of your sleep improves.
On the other hand, if you exercise irregularly and close to bedtime, you might face problems falling asleep. This is because exercise is stimulating and increases alertness and hormones like adrenaline.
In this post, I tried to summarise some important tips that can help you get better sleep. Besides the bedroom environment (bed, mattress, duvet, temperature etc.) you should avoid some bad habits which can have a big impact on your sleep. It’s the small changes that make a big difference. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to contact me.