Sleep Tight: 6 Top Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
Good morning! Did you sleep well? But, more importantly, did you sleep enough?
Getting enough sleep is the key for having the energy to face another day’s stress, work and challenges. Most specialists agree that an adult needs at least seven hours – but no more than 9 – a night to stay healthy. And the quality of said sleep needs to be good – this means a deep, uninterrupted period of shuteye (not drug induced, as far as possible), covering all stages of sleep known to man.
The tips below will help you achieve the sleep quality you need – and desire – and assure that you wake up rested and feeling great.
Tip #1 – Avoid these to sleep better
Some chemicals we routinely force into our bodies have a negative effect on our sleep quality. These would be tobacco (nicotine is a stimulant), medication (read the leaflet to know their side effects), caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, other soft drinks) and cocoa.
Alcohol, contrary to popular belief, will not help you fall asleep. On the contrary – it will make it harder. Try to avoid alcohol consumption before going to bed.
Tip #2 – Use these to sleep better
A glass of milk before bed helps you sleep better – and this is not just a way for moms to make their kids drink some healthy milk before bed. The amino acid tryptophan, found in large quantities in dairy products, help our brains produce the chemicals it needs to fall asleep, serotonin and melatonin. When looking for a pre-sleep snack, you can also choose yogurt, oats, bananas, tuna or peanuts, each with a significant tryptophan content.
You can drink a cup of herbal tea – choose chamomile, valerian or passion flower for the maximum effect.
Besides, you can choose scents to aid you to sleep better – the best ones said to improve sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose and Sandalwood.
Tip #3 – Avoid heavy meals – but don’t go to sleep hungry
Hunger and overeating can both keep you awake at night. To avoid listening to your stomach beg for a snack, eat well 2 or 3 hours before your bedtime. Not later – eating a large meal before going to bed will fire up your metabolism, which will make it more difficult to fall asleep. A vicious circle, if you ask me – if you don’t sleep enough, you will be tired – and more hungry – the next day.
Tip #4 – A warm shower or bath before bed helps you sleep better
When our body temperature falls, we feel tired, drowsy and sleepy. This is the result of our metabolism slowing down to preserve energy. And it can be used to our advantage.
Taking a warm bath or shower will cause our body to compensate by lowering our temperature. It also helps boost the muscles’ blood-flow, allowing them to lose tension, relax – another thing that signals our brain that it’s time to go to sleep.
But don’t overdo it: taking a shower or bath that’s too long or too hot can have the opposite effect, giving us the energy to stay awake all night.
Tip #5 – Relax
Keeping your mind clear of any toxic thoughts is just as important as keeping your body clear of chemicals that keep you awake. Stress, anger, worries and anxiety can keep you awake longer than a ristretto, so get it out of your system before going to sleep.
Lie comfortably in your bed, focus on breathing and on relaxing your muscles one at a time, and visualizing a relaxing, peaceful place can help you rid your mind of stress, and help you fall asleep faster.
Tip #6 – Assure the right environment
In short: keep your screens and lights turned off, keep the temperature down and keep as much noise as possible out if you want to sleep better. Specialists from the National Sleep Foundation agree that the perfect temperature for sleeping is around 65°F (about 19°C). They also say that darkness is very important for a good night’s sleep, and so is silence and the right scents (I’ve mentioned lavender above).
I think there’s nothing left but to wish you to have a good night – and sleep tight!