A goodnight’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Sleeping well affects your mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us are usually tossing and turning all night struggling to get the sleep we need. Getting a night of quality sleep may seem like an impossible goal when you’re wide awake in the middle of the night, but you have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably know. Your daily routine and activities can have a positive or a negative effect on your sleep. Unhealthy daytime activities and lifestyle choices can leave you tossing and turning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. If you want to optimize your health, getting a night of good sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Experiment with the following tips from the Huberman lab podcast, and enjoy better sleep at night, boost your health and improve how you think and feel during the day.
- Expose yourself to as much sunlight as you can, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark- making you sleepy and less when it’s light making you more alert. Expose yourself to sunlight, on bright cloudless days view morning and afternoon sun for 10 mins, cloudy days 20mins, very overcast days 30-60mins. You can have your breakfast outside, take your work break for sunlight, walk your dog during the day, move your desk closer to the window and keep curtains open all these are some of the ways to expose yourself to sunlight because the sun on your face will help you wake up and be more alert.
- Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, if you keep a regular sleep-wake pattern, you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you alter your sleep schedule by an hour. Avoid sleeping in even on weekends, limit daytime naps to 30 mins in the early afternoon, start your day with a healthy breakfast to help the body be energized, and Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you give in to any of these factors you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
- Improve your sleep environment, a peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s worries. Sometimes even small changes to your bedroom can have a big difference in your sleep quality. Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet, make sure your bed is comfortable with clean bedsheets, bedcover and reserve your bed for sleeping and intimacy these few things make your brain associate the bedroom with just sleep and calmness which makes it easier to wind down at night.
- Make your food choices wisely during the day, your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially hours before bedtime. Limit caffeine and nicotine 8-12hrs before sleep, avoid alcohol before bed, avoid big meals at night and avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Focus on a heart-healthy diet it may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for long.
- Wind down and clear your head, try and develop a relaxing bedtime ritual to help you prepare your mind for sleep, such as practicing a relaxation technique, taking a warm bath, or dimming the lights, and listening to soft music or an audiobook.
Sleep plays a key role in your health. Insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults. WHO recommends that healthy adults need between 7-9hrs of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. Optimize your health and wellbeing by making sleep a top priority!