The pilgrimage to a healthy and functional lifestyle starts with sleep. Although you’ve probably heard many variations of this from sleep gurus before, the testament still holds true in today’s sleepless society.
However, many are having trouble with being consistent with their sleep schedule, which could result in various negative health implications later on in life. The key to sleeping soundly doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to build your way up to it by creating sleeping habits and sticking to them.
Here are 5 useful tips to help you build a bedtime routine to sleep better at night.
1. Limit exposure to blue light
All of our activities as humans align with the turn of a biological master clock. The Circadian Rhythms are just one of the many schedules that it keeps tracks of. Imagine your body is a giant supercomputer and the Circadian Rhythms as the background task manager. This is a 24-hour cycle in which our internal body clock operates in. It’s always turning to make sure that all bodily functions are fully operational. Within it lies another important layer known as the sleep-wake cycle.
Since the master clock operates strongly according to external cues, especially light, it’s no surprise by now to know that it’s closely tied to the day and night cycle as well. Light and darkness, therefore, are considered wake and sleep cues for our body. Prolonged exposure to light, particularly from your phone/laptop screen can induce feelings of wakefulness causing you a much-needed sleep. Try to refrain from scrolling through endless TikTok videos at night and let your mind enter a state of serenity.
2. Maximize your sleep environment
The brain is constantly being stimulated by millions of neurons in the morning to keep us awake, energized, and active. For most people, this process continues even into the night time. It’s almost impossible to immediately force yourself to fall asleep without giving your body time to decompress. It’s been reported that it takes an average of 2 hours for the sleep system to finally take effect.
To aid this process, create a checklist for an ideal sleeping environment. The three criteria should be lighting, sound and temperature. As mentioned before, blue light-emitting devices should be anywhere present near your bed to not affect your sleep quality. Adjust the room temperature to your liking and eliminate potential audio distractions in your room. It may take some effort to set it all up, but the prospect of being able to sleep like a baby at night makes it more worth it.
3. Choosing the right bed and mattress
A great bed is like a great wall that separates you from sleepless nights. Having the right bed can help you clock in quality sleep hours and wake up refreshed and invigorated. Most would have a relatively easy time picking for themselves a suitable mattress. However, buying mattresses for people with larger frames would often pose more as a challenge.
If not chosen carefully, the mattress’ bead might give out sooner than expected and unable to provide proper support. Luckily, there now exists memory foam technology which helps mold the mattress according to body shapes. As of currently, many memory foam mattresses have also included a cooling feature on the surface. Providing maximum comfort for quality sleep. Buyers can also choose an innerspring variation of it to maximize the effect.
4. Let sunlight wake you up!
It’s as important to wake up the right way as it is to fall asleep. Natural light helps curb the secretion of melatonin in the human body and helps you wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy. As much as we’d all like to do a Nosferatu impression when someone pulls up the curtain, it can be a refreshing experience as the sunlight gently caresses your cheek, slowly pulling you out of slumber.
5. Set a specific time to go to sleep
Humans are habitual creatures, we are wired from birth to operate in certain patterns. The sleep-wake cycle in our circadian rhythm can only be optimized through the constant reiteration of our sleep routine. Contrary to popular belief, 8 hours of sleep is not an objective required amount for being proactive throughout the day. In fact, 6.5 hours of sleep would do just fine if you manage to go through it uninterrupted. Remember, it’s quality over quantity – just because you sleep a lot doesn’t mean you sleep well.
Every time you hit the snooze button, your body enters a restorative process – your muscles, organs, and different cells slowly rebuild themselves, and your immune system further strengthens. This is also when the neurons start to establish connections, which helps tremendously with knowledge retention and consolidation. No matter who you are or what you have been through, sleep is the superpower that can help you triumph over hardships and rebuild yourself anew.