Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings. It is distinguished from wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, but is more easily reversed than the state of hibernation or of being comatose.
If you are one of the many people who regularly find themselves tossing and turning in bed in the early hours of the morning, then reading this article could just be the best thing you ever did.
Not being able to sleep properly at night is frustrating, you feel totally wrecked the next day, and it could be damaging your health. Lack of sleep has been associated with everything from chronic pain states, decreased concentration/problem solving, and longer recovery periods for injuries. Needless to say, quality and quantity of sleep is very important!
There are some simple things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, here are ten simple but effective ways to improve your sleep and you sleep like a baby.
Go to bed on time: If you have children, you are probably good at packing them off to bed at the right time, but do you follow that advice yourself? You will sleep a lot better of you always go to bed at the same time and you always wake at the same time in the morning too. Your body likes to work to a regular sleep pattern, so keep to your sleep schedule, even on the weekends, and you will get off to sleep easier
Stop drinking caffeinated drinks in the afternoons: Most people enjoy a cup of coffee in the mornings, but if you keep drinking caffeinated drinks all day long, that will definitely keep you awake at night. Make a point to not drink any caffeinated drinks at all after midday and that will allow time for the stimulant effect of caffeine to wear off before you go to bed.
Turn down the lights, just before bedtime: You can start to get your body ready for sleep by turning down the lights in your home an hour or so before you go to bed. Any kind if bright light will fool your brain into thinking that it is still light outside, and make you think you should still be awake. That also includes the light from computer screens and other devices, so switch those off a bit earlier too.
Eat the right foods before bed: Avoid eating a large meal too close to the time that you are going to bed, or that will keep you awake at night. If you feel like you need a late night snack, the best thing to eat is a small portion of a food that is high in carbohydrates, such as a bowl of cereal, or a couple of slices of wholegrain toast. This will stop you getting hungry in the night, but won’t give you a blood sugar level spike that could stop you getting to sleep.
Write down your worries: One of the most common reasons for not sleeping is that you are going over your problems in your head and you can’t stop worrying about them. The best way to avoid this happening is to make a list of your worries and prepare a plan for the next day. That will put your mind at rest atop you thinking about things when you are lying in bed.
Make sure that your bedroom is dark enough: If your bedroom is not dark enough, your brain will think that it should be awake and alert. Make sure that your curtains are thick enough to keep out the light and don’t leave any electronic devices switched on in the room that could give out light that could disturb your sleep.
Have a warm bath before bed: If you have a warm bath before bed, it will work in two ways to help you sleep. Firstly, the warmth of the bathwater will relax your muscles and soothe away the worries of the day and secondly, when you get out of the bath, your body will feel cool, which will help to make you feel sleepy. Scientists can’t explain exactly why taking a bath makes you feel sleepy, but it does work.
Don’t take naps during the day: If you are suffering with insomnia, then it is quite likely you will feel sleepy during the day, but you should avoid taking daytime naps if you possibly can. If you sleep during the day you will only find it harder to sleep at night. Try to stay awake all day, even if you are really tired, and then you will be able to get back into a proper sleeping pattern.
Get more exercise during the day: The more physically active you are, the better you will sleep, so try and build some more exercise into your daily routine. Don’t work out too close to bedtime, though, or you will find it even harder to get to sleep. The best time of day to exercise is first thing in the morning.
Make your bedroom as cosy as possible: The environment you sleep in can make a big difference to the quality of your sleep. As well as keeping your bedroom dark, you should also make sure that it is a relaxing environment. Keep it cool, shut out as much outside noise as you can, and keep it tidy too. Believe it or not, some studies have found that if your bedroom is in a muddle, you won’t sleep as well as you would in a clean and tidy room.