Sleep is extremely important to the learning, your mood, memory, and your overall ability to function the next morning. That is why it’s not just important to get enough sleep, but it is important to get a good night’s sleep, or quality sleep. Quality sleep sleep means not waking up 2-3 times in the middle of the night. It also means also waking up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to take charge of the day. If you are struggling for quality sleep, here are 7 tips that can help you get better sleep.
1) Do not use electronics for 1-2 hours before bed
Electronics like your laptop or your smart phone emit blue light. And while blue light is great for boosting alertness and attention, it can also be detrimental to your sleep. If you are waking up in the middle of the night or feeling groggy in the morning even though you’ve slept for the recommended hours, it may be because you are exposed to blue light before sleeping. Using electronics at night has been known to cause hangover-like symptoms the next morning.
2) Don’t exercise the 2 hours before bed
Exercise is essential to living a healthy life. But you need to plan your exercise ahead of time so that it does not interrupt your sleep. Exercise has been known to boost your energy by boosting adrenaline and your heart rate. As such, it makes it much harder to get to sleep right after exercising as it takes some time for your body to get back to its baseline level in order for you to sleep.
3) Use red light
If you need to use light at night, try using red light. Unlike blue light, red light promotes sleepiness. Light towards the red end of the spectrum promotes melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates your sleep and helps you get to sleep. Blue light on the other hand, promotes wakefulness.
4) Wake up in the early stages of NREM mode
If you know anything about the sleep cycle, you will know that it operates in NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) mode. And throughout the whole night, we will go through 3-5 of these sleep cycles, each lasting approximately 90 minutes. Each sleep cycle contains 3 stages of NREM sleep followed by REM sleep. You do not want to wake up in stage 3 of NREM sleep. Instead you want to time your sleep so that you wake up in stage 1 of NREM sleep, the lightest part of the sleep cycle. If you can time it right, you will wake up feeling super refreshed and ready to attack the day. For me, if I get between between 6 and 6.5 hours of sleep, I will wake up feeling refreshed. Any more or any less and I wake up feeling groggy.
What the optimal amount of sleep is for you will depend on your specific sleep cycle. There are various programs out there that can track your sleep and the various stages of sleep you are in. There are even apps out there that will wake you up during the lightest part of your sleep cycle.
5) Do not take naps in the evening
Naps are important to being to function optimally throughout the day. But when taking naps, be sure to take naps within the nap zone, which is from 1 to 3 pm (roughly). If you take naps during that time, it will not disrupt your sleep, even if you nap for over an hour.
6) Get into a regular sleep schedule
Humans are creatures of habits. And habits are just unconscious decisions we do without even thinking about it. We act out on our habits everyday, throughout the whole day without even realizing it. The same goes with sleep. Once your body gets in the habit of sleeping at the same time everyday, you won’t have to try to get to sleep. If you are someone who has a sporadic sleep schedule, your body will get confused as to how much sleep you might need and when to go to sleep. So when there are days that you need to go to sleep early, your body won’t let you because it is not tired yet. However, if you get your body into a regular sleep schedule, your body will automatically wind down at its usual time and wake up at its usual time. Like clockwork.
7) Learn how to manage stress
If you are someone who stresses easily, you will not be able to get a good night’s sleep if you have something on your mind. That is why it is extremely important to learn how to manage your stress and shut down your brain. Meditation has been shown to be an excellent stress reliever. Yoga is also a great stress reliever. In addition, you can try breathing exercises as they have been known to be an excellent tool to quickly relieve stress.
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