Tips for Higher Quality Sleep
Everyone has to sleep, and getting sleep is a critical aspect of how well you perform on everything in your day. Therefore, it's absolutely critical to make sure you have quality sleep. Let me share some tips with you that will help you improve your sleep and thus improve your quality of life and daily effectiveness.
- Don't miss REM Sleep. You need roughly 7-8 hours of sleep every night; everyone knows this. But the last few hours are the most critical when you hit REM. Cutting off those last few hours not only leaves you drowsy and somewhat ineffective, it also hurts your ability to remember things. Remembering things is obviously very important, so get enough sleep.
- Stop using technology of any kind 1 hour before bed. It not only hinders your ability to sleep, it's linked with stress and a lot of other negative consequences.
- Use caffeine wisely. Is it necessary to elaborate? Caffeine is a nice tool, but it burns your body out. Avoid caffeine after midday and drink lots of water.
- Deep Breaths / Meditation. Always a great way to relax. The easiest thing to do is to take 10 deep breaths, focusing just on your breathing.
Guided Meditation Sleep: Go to sleep in 10 minutes
- Interruption. Interruption in your sleep can disrupt the cycles your body goes through while you sleep; therefore it's best to not wake up and sleep throughout the whole night. To prevent waking up, take several steps. Use the bathroom before you sleep for an obvious starter. But make sure you sleep in a comfortable position. Be cautious of air conditioning and heaters, they can cause the air to get dry or make uncomfortable environments in the middle of the night. This can not only wake you up, but also dry out your throat and cause discomfort. It's best to stick to blankets and fans and try to find a comfortable way to sleep with just that. If you're worried about getting cold in the middle of the night, have a light snack before you sleep.
- Naps can jump-start REM sleep. When you miss sleep, naps can effectively give you a boost. Often times if you're very tired your body will jump you right into REM sleep so a nap can be very effective.(*cough* polyphasic sleeping anyone?) However, take note that the body has natural sleep cycles of certain amounts of time. Stick to naps that are 20-30 minutes and 45 minutes to an hour. Any longer and your body slips into regular sleep and you may be out for 2-3 hours and will likely feel groggy when you awake. This then may turn around and make it difficult for you to sleep that coming night, compounding your problem.
- Bed, blanket, pillow. Obvious, but it means a lot. Think of it as an investment in yourself by purchasing quality items for comfortable and uninterrupted sleep.
- Don't cuddle with your significant other. Okay that is a joke, but they can really destroy sleeping patterns. If you want to engage in nighttime activity such as... snuggling... try to plan your 8 hours with some room for that. Get enough sleep and be satisfied.
- Exercise: Not a heavy exercise, but light workouts and stretching will help relax you and tire you out before bed.
- White noise is always an amazing way to stay asleep and not be distracted by other things such as police sirens, late night construction workers, drunk college kids, etc. I use a fan, I think it works well. If it's not warm out you can point it away from yourself.
- Eat right. If you have to stay up late or carry on without enough sleep, eat the right food! If you're losing sleep, odds are there is some stress involved. If stress is involved, it's tempting to eat poor quality food because it's easier or tastes better (fast food?). Do yourself a favor and instead have some fresh fruit/vegetables and don't eat too many carbs or sugars.
Hopefully those tips help a little bit. Never forget how important good sleep is. Don't be cranky!
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