Are you as fresh as a daisy when you wake up in the morning or usually wishing for a few more minutes of shut-eye? Though we generally would prefer the former one, most of the days it simply is a struggle leaving the cozy, comfy bed…isn’t it? If not, then may be you are doing all the things right and leading quite a healthy life. So, congratulations to you and good job! Good quality sleep is very important for mood regulation, memory, attention, efficiency and decision-making. Not only these psychological benefits, but also for a healthier body and overall wellbeing, restful sleep is essential.
Importance of Quality Sleep
Lack of quality slumber can result in weight gain, premature ageing and aggravate health issues related to the heart, blood pressure and diabetes among others. There are many ways to get quality shut-eye time. Like try and avoid napping during the day to maintain your body’s sleep pattern, maintain regular sleep and wake time, avoid a sedentary lifestyle with some interesting physical activity and adopt a routine congenial to sleep at night. Here are a few easy and relaxing tips on getting the best out of your snooze time.
7 Ways to Ensure Restful Sleep
Wind down before hitting the sack:
If your mind is too full of thoughts, worries and ideas after an extremely active day, try writing it down. Transferring information from the brain helps in winding down faster. Avoid psychological stress before getting ready for bed like emotional discussions, worrying about next day’s tasks or reading over-stimulating books. Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bedroom also helps relax and get ready for sleep. Freezing or getting uncomfortably warm surely will nudge your mind towards other things than sleep!
You can squeeze in some meditation or calming breathing exercise time just before going to bed. These are not only healthy for the body and mind but also help wind down and relax effectively.
Eat and drink:
Nuts, milk and dairy products contain tryptophan that boosts production of sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. Take them as snacks before bedtime if you have had your last meal quite a while earlier. It helps to be done with your last heavy meal of the day a couple of hours before bedtime. Whole grain products, brown rice, lean meats, lettuce, kale, sage and basil help reduce stress and promote sleep. So, try and plan your dinner menu around at least one of these to help achieve good quality sleep.
Warm herbal tea with honey instead of an after-dinner cup of coffee helps with relaxation and sleep promotion. Cherry juice or warm milk help relax as well as boost melatonin production in our body.
A few drops of essential oils in a diffuser or sprinkled on your pillow can help create a calm, relaxed mood to get you geared for some serious Zs. Frankincense helps reduce anxiety, stress, inflammation and pain while balancing mood. Roman chamomile creates a peaceful, relaxed aura. Cedarwood essential oil promotes the production of sleep hormone melatonin. Valerian, ylang ylang and marjoram are also very popular for improved slumber quality.
Hot bath or shower:
Achieving quality sleep is all about winding down and we all know how stress-releasing a hot bath at the end of the day can be! Bring olfactory aids into the mix by adding a few drops of sleep promoting essential oils to your bath water. Candles work better than bright electric light. However, if you are running short on time, a quick warm shower can also help relax tense muscles after a hard day of work. Make a routine of hot bath or shower before hitting the sack and feel the difference in how rested and fresh you are in the morning!
Ventilation is a must for achieving restful sleep. After a few hours of closed doors and windows with people breathing out CO2, the air quality inside isn’t too healthy causing discomfort and sleep disruptions. Blackout shades for windows help create a soothing environment for better quality sleep. However, if you are on a budget, try beginning with an eye-mask to block light. Personally, I have found eye masks work better than blackout shades for me.
Try and keep the décor of your bedroom as soothing as possible with relaxing, soothing colors in furniture, furnishings and wall treatment. Ensure you have mattress and pillows according to your comfort level. Arrange for your television set to be installed out of your bedroom. Opting for a music system instead to play soothing music around your bedtime would be a great idea.
Indoor plants purify air, release oxygen at night and have been found through research to be helpful with stress, insomnia, mood and memory. Jasmine, gerbara daisy, snake plant and aloe vera are good choices as bedroom plants. Snake plant, gerbara daisy and aloe vera produce oxygen well into the night helping maintain quality sleep. Gardenia and jasmine flowers give out a sweet fragrance encouraging stress release, relaxation and restful sleep. However, before acquiring any indoor plant, check for kid and pet (if you have any) suitability first. These plants are helpful with even one plant per 100 square feet of indoor space.
Reserve bed for sleep:
Restrict your pets out to their slumber area. Do not take work to bed. If you have to work in your bedroom, install a comfortable chair with a footstool or other comfortable sitting arrangement to do your work rather than sitting propped up in bed. Choose paperback over an e-reader for bedtime reading…yes, even a blue backlit one. Studies have shown that even these affect melatonin or sleep hormone production adversely.
Avoid lounging on your bed trying to fall asleep if you are not really feeling sleepy. Move over to a different area to wind down further, relax and wait to get drowsy. You can also try switching your sleep position if you keep waking up at night without knowing why. This is so because some people have sleep apnea or sleep breathing disorder without it being severe enough for them to be aware of. Switching sleeping position can help reduce stress on the airway passages and afford better breathing and hence restful sleep.
Getting your recommended 6 to 8 hours of sleep would be more meaningful if achieved at night. With the 24×7 work environment so in vogue around the world, quite a few of us might be dealing with either late nights, waking up at ungodly hours or off-time during the day. While the adequate hours of shut-eye still remain the same, the benefits of healing and rejuvenation of our body are not exactly the same. However, maintaining a regular slumber-time would go a long way in ensuring better quality sleep and dozing off faster. If these measures do not work and you are still having hindered or inadequate sleep, it would be a good idea to consult a physician for deeper health issues.
I know!…with the type of life we lead and the commitments (especially on weekends), it is not always a practicable proposition to maintain regular shut-eye time or follow all the tips for better quality slumber. But, following a routine for sleep as much as possible and doing your best to accommodate commitments around it will work wonders for your physical and mental health as well as emotional wellbeing. Try out these tips and see which combination works best for you. Sleeping your way to health is not at all a bad proposition after all 🙂 !
Don’t forget to claim your access to the FREE printable downloads Library. Just enter your e-mail address below for instant access!