Good sleep depends on the so-called sleep hygiene. Proper habits will help you fall asleep quickly and wake up with a huge supply of energy. Do you use your mobile phone before going to sleep? Scrolling the Instagram or Facebook feed is your evening routine? If yes, then this might the answer to your sleeping difficulty. Looking at a device which emits a lot of blue light before sleep is undoubtedly not healthy.
Exposure to blue light causes reactions in the brain that disturb our circadian rhythm. For example, it may reduce the secretion of melatonin, which gives a signal to the brain that it’s still daytime. The best solution is to simply give up using electronics with LCD screens for at least two hours before bedtime. If it’s your favourite time to read, though, use an e-book reader with an electronic paper display or a paper book!
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is one of the major life activities. It supports proper functioning of the body. It affects our emotional balance, creativity, immune system and much more! Therefore, it’s good to keep in mind a few rules of a good night’s sleep. The first basic question is, however, how many hours of sleep are enough. Well, if you’re an adult you should sleep between 7 to 9 hours. Children and teens need around 9–10 hours of sleep per night. If you feel awake and energetic during the day it’s a sign that you’ve had enough sleep. Fatigue, moodiness, depression, difficulties in dealing with stress and emotions or premature skin ageing are the symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Quality over quantity
The length of sleep isn’t the only thing that’s important. What matters is above all the quality of sleep at different stages. The one that’s most important is the deep REM sleep. During this stage, our body regenerates and regains energy. What can you do to get more deep sleep? The best ideas are to give up alcohol, cigarettes and stay away from any noise or light at night. It’s also advisable to sleep extra 30 minutes in the morning, it will make your REM sleep stage last longer. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and food containing sugar and keeping your bedroom dark — these are the basic tips.
Don’t forget to prepare your bed
If you want to sleep soundly and efficiently, a properly selected mattress is an essential. While selecting the mattress, you should take into account the individual characteristics of a person that will sleep on it, especially his/her weight and health problems. It’s important to remember that the mattress should be neither too soft nor too hard. It should also accommodate the body pressure while maintaining the spine in an optimal position. This will prevent unnecessary muscle and spine soreness and significantly increase the comfort of sleep overall.
You might also consider buying an orthopaedic pillow that will support the cervical spine and neck muscles. It’s a fine solution especially for those who suffer from whiplash pain, numbness as well as for those who have trouble getting to sleep.
Pranayama — another way to fall asleep quickly
I’ve learned this technique from my favourite yoga teacher. Pranayama is very simple and doesn’t require any skills or preparation. You just have to lie back on the right side and clog your right nostril with a finger. Take long, calm breaths through the left nostril. This exercise allows you to oxygenate the left hemisphere of the brain, which in turn makes you calm, relaxed and makes falling asleep a lot easier.
You can also try another kind of mediation — Yoga Nidra. Its purpose is to enter the state of deep relaxation. If you have trouble sleeping, you should practise it before going to bed. Watch this video if you’d like to try it out:
Good luck and sleep tight!