Sleep affects many parts of our physical, psychological, and social life. It should be valued just as much as eating right and getting enough physical activity throughout the day. All living things (people, animals, even plants) have a type of internal clock referred to as circadian rhythm. This affects our levels of sleepiness and alertness. Whether you work the night shift or not, you are most likely to feel sleepy between midnight and 6:00 am.
Sleep problems are common and many Canadians do not get enough sleep (for most adults, that’s around 8 hours a night), and the impact can be seen in our overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep can help improve your mental well-being, including your ability to focus and your mood level. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve your sleep including the following sleep tips:
If you want to have a restful sleep, it helps to create a comfortable sleep space. Make sure that you have a supportive mattress, pillow and fresh bedding. Also, try to ensure that your room is not too hot or cold, minimize noise, and block out light. Some find that earplugs or “white noise” machines, humidifiers, and sleep masks are very helpful.
Try doing something to relax your body and mind before going to bed. Try taking shot bath 90 minutes before you plan to go to sleep. You could try listening to meditation or relaxation apps, or to calming music. Turning off all blue light- emitting devices like cellphones and laptops at least an hour before bedtime could make a difference as well.
Having a bedtime routine cues your body that it’s time to sleep. So, establish a set routine that you follow every night. Aim to sleep and wake at the same hours every day, even on weekends.
Avoid consuming caffeine at least four hours before bedtime.This includes coffee, caffeinated teas, soft drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant and it can keep you awake. Although you may think that alcohol will help you fall asleep, it interferes with sleep later in the evening. Try to avoid consuming alcohol at least four hours before bed.
Ice cream, potato chips, nuts, red meat or fried chicken too close to bed time makes your body focus on breaking down these rich foods which can keep you from sleeping well.