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Only if we could go back to the time when we used to sleep for hours, without a care in the world. There is nothing, I regret more than not sleeping when my mothers used to force me to do so. But no, stupid me had to stay awake so I wouldn’t miss a thing. Only if I knew that a few years later I will want to sleep but won’t be able to. Well, gone is that time. The only things we are now left with, are restless nights and a few lifestyle changes for better sleep.
Sleep disorders are quite common. Any condition that compromises sleep timings and quality is termed a sleep disorder. According to a study published in 2020, at least one sleep disorder was present in 41.0% of females and 42.3%. What’s even more alarming is that the prevalence of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders is increasing with each passing day. All thanks to the new norm, of overworking, not relaxing, and clinging to the screens.
You will be surprised to know that sleep deprivation can lead to death. Rats deprived of sleep usually die after a month or so. Sleep deprivation is one of the most common forms of torture.
Why give this torture to your innocent self? Even if your sleep deprivation will not be the sole reason for your death, it sure can be the reason behind the disease that will cause your death. The point is, that sleep shouldn’t be taken lightly nor a sign of laziness.
It determines your overall health and plays a vital role in determining your efficiency in the day. So if you are planning to skip sleeping to prepare a presentation for the next day, DON’T.
Now that we have developed that sleep is of utmost importance in maintaining good health, let’s learn some lifestyle changes for better sleep.
Tips For Better Sleep
Here are the most important and easy-to-follow lifestyle changes for better sleep.
1. Limit Caffeine
Chugging down cups of coffee at work to improve performance and at home to relax your mind, is not all good. If caffeine can make you active during the day than why not at night.
A single dose of caffeine can improve focus, energy, and sports performance. If it is consumed late in the day, it activates or over activates the nervous system. This may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
A study published in 2013 shows that consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality and timings. Caffeine stays active in your body for almost 6-8 hours, so you need to stop consuming caffeine after 3-4 pm. Any consumption after that will take a toll on your good night’s sleep. If you are addicted to coffee and want a cup before bed, stick to decaffeinated tea and coffee.
2. Maintain A Consistent Sleep Cycle
Your body is set to function in a loop. The body’s circadian rhythm functions in a set loop, consistent with the sunrise and sunset. Maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle will improve your long-term sleep quality. One study, in particular, says that people who had irregular sleeping patterns, especially if they sleep late at weekends reported very poor sleep. Irregular sleeping patterns can alter circadian rhythm and melatonin levels. Melatonin signals the brain to sleep, so abnormal levels can affect your sleep for the worst.
Waking up and going to bed at regular times and sticking to the set timings will improve your sleep quality and quantity drastically. Sticking to a proper routine can even make you not need an alarm clock. Keep in mind that this routine should be followed even on weekends.
3. Eat Well
If you think that what you eat shows its effects on only your belly, you are wrong. Your diet plays a pivotal role in determining your health, which eventually helps your sleep quality. It’s not just the type of food you eat, but also the time you eat at and the way you eat.
Eating late at night can also disturb your sleep quality and timings. Moreover, eating very spicy, acidic, or fatty foods can lead to heartburn. The heartburn is exacerbated as you lay. This happens as the acid from the stomach leaks into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, hindering your normal sleep.
Your eating timings matter too. Eating just before bed will keep you tossing and turning in your bed. If you get hungry at night, keep your meal light. A small glass of milk or just some crackers will suffice.
4. Exercise Regularly But Early
This simple tip for better sleep can do it all for you. The science behind it is simple, exercise tires you out, and that makes you sleep better. But is it the only science behind the relationship between sleep and exercise? If yes then why is it that exercising just before bed can affect your sleep for the worst?
Apart from tiring your body out, exercising increases alertness and hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine that activate the body. Due to this very reason, it is advised against exercising before bed.
Exercising early shows innumerable benefits. In some people with insomnia, exercise is reported to show more benefits than some prescription drugs. According to the study, exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18%. Another study in adults shows that exercise almost halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep. It also provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night.
5. Leave The Phone
If you take your phone to the bed in hopes that you will fall asleep while watching the screen, you are wrong. The blue light emitting from your phone screen causes your brain to not release melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. It is best to stir away from all devices an hour before bedtime.
The Bottom Line
There is no denying that sleep is of utmost importance in maintaining overall health. It is not only the quantity that matters. The quality matters too. On average, an individual adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep each day, to ensure proper health. If you are not getting this much sleep, it’s time you let go of whatever keeps you up, because nothing is more important than you.
These simple lifestyle changes for better sleep can do wonders for you. But your poor sleep can be an indicator of either a serious sleeping disorder or some other medical condition. Therefore, it is important to seek help from a therapist.
1. Is it fine to take melatonin supplements?
melatonin supplements are generally safe to use, but it is best to consult a doctor first.
2. Can sleep pills cure sleeping disorders?
No sleeping pills induce sleep for the time being, but they deteriorating for your health as you can get addicted to them.
3. How many hours should one sleep?
On average, an adult should sleep 7-8 hours each day.
Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top therapists in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.
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