The Art of Snoozing
12 ways to achieve the perfect sleep
Sleep plays a fundamental role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Having sufficient quality snooze at the right times can aid in protecting your mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety. With that said, here are some tips that can help you sleep better.
- STOP USING ALL TECHNOLOGY 30 MINUTES BEFORE BED
No cell phone, no laptop, and no light. A 30-minute wind down with relaxation and reading (a paper book) can make it easier to fall asleep.
- TRY TO GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ON MOST DAYS
Exercise can stimulate more regular sleep and wake patterns and at the same time, diminish stress. It’s very vital to prevent exercise and other robust activities three to four hours prior to going to bed to avoid wakening the body even more and making it tougher to fall asleep.
- A STEADY EATING ROUTINE CAN ALSO AID IN GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S DOZE
Eat smaller meals and be especially careful to avoid heavy meals near bedtime. Your eating schedule may be dictated by your work schedule or by the times when your friends are eating.
- LIMIT CAFFEINE AND NICOTINE
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which interrupt sleep. It is best to stay away from these after lunchtime. If you are up late working or just need a little more energy, try a small energy-boosting snack instead of a caffeinated beverage. If you feel that you have to have caffeinated coffee when you are up late working, try to limit the amount of caffeine by filling half your cup with decaffeinated coffee.
- AVOID ALCOHOL CLOSE TO BEDTIME
Alcohol is disruptive to sleep, especially if you have a mental health disorder.
- INCORPORATE TIME MANAGEMENT WITH YOUR WORK
Worrying in bed about the next day or week can keep you from falling asleep. Try to stay on top of your work to decrease your overall stress and worry, and to reduce last minute cramming. In addition, mentally plan for the next day before getting into bed. Journaling before bed is a technique that some people find to be helpful in addressing concerns before bed.
- AVOID ALL-NIGHTERS
While all-nighters and late-night work sessions may appear to give you more time to procrastinate, they are also likely to drain your brainpower. Sleep deprivation hinders your ability to perform complex cognitive tasks like those required on presentations. Remember: Research has shown that a good night of sleep is more beneficial for retaining information than staying up late cramming.
- AVOID SIESTAS DURING THE DAY
Staying up late and napping the next day is a common practice for people. Sleeping during the day for long periods will further disrupt your sleep pattern, leading to a vicious cycle. A short nap during the day could be helpful, but work it into your regular schedule. Keep the nap to about 30 minutes and try to do it at the same time each day before 3 p.m.
- DON’T DEPEND ON WEEKEND CATCH UP
You may be tempted to rely on the weekend to “catch up” on sleep that you missed during the week. Usually, this only worsens your sleep pattern. The best solution is to get a regular amount of sleep as many nights as possible, and when necessary sleep only an hour longer during the weekend than your latest weekday wake-up time.
- GO TO BED AND WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY
Having a set bedtime and rising time will help your body get used to a sleeping schedule. Sleep only an hour longer during the weekend than your latest weekday wake-up time, understanding that there may be exceptions depending on your schedule.
- USE THE BED ONLY FOR INTIMATE MOMENTS AND SLEEPING
Avoid doing other activities such as watching TV. This ensures that your body will not associate the bed with these activating tasks, which can make it harder to fall asleep. If there are few options other than your bed for these activities, reduce the level of intensity of the reading material or TV programs you select.
- GO TO BED ONLY WHEN YOU ARE DROWSY
When having a hard time falling asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity outside of the bedroom until you feel sleepy again. Try deep breathing or relaxation techniques if you are having trouble falling asleep due to stress or anxiety.
Most of us try to sleep as little as possible. There are several things that appear to be more important or interesting than attaining a few more hours of sleep, however, just as exercise and nutrition are crucial for optimum strength and contentment, so is sleep.
The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort