“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I’m reborn.” – Gandhi
In order to wake up feeling refreshed it is important to focus on both the sleep quantity and how much sleep you get each night as well as sleep quality, which indicates how well you sleep. Poor sleep quality can cause you to feel groggy the next day and may even be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, determining the quality of your sleep is less straightforward than counting the number of hours you get. This means to learn the signs of poor sleep quality, and discover how to improve it as well.
Consider these Signs that Your Sleep Quality Needs to Improve
- It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep after getting into bed.
- You have been diagnosed as having insomnia.
- You regularly wake up more than once per night.
- You find yourself staying awake for more than 20 minutes after waking up in the middle of the night.
- You spend less than 85 percent of your time in bed asleep.
This takes one further to Improve Ways to Improve Sleep Quality
- Stop watching television or using electronic devices like a laptop or cell phone at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The blue light that is emitted from these gadgets can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Set your bedroom thermostat to somewhere between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit. Sleeping in a room that is either too warm or too cool interferes with your body’s ability to drift off from the need to rest and then sleep.
- Follow a consistent sleep schedule. Having poor bedtime habits, such as going to bed too early (before you are tired) or too late (when you are overly tired) can make it more difficult to sleep soundly.
- Create a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, such as taking a bath or reading a book. Engaging in high-energy or stressful activities lowers the odds of an easy transition to sleep.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to one or two drinks per day.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages within four to six hours of bedtime, and alcohol within three hours of going to bed.
- If you try these suggestions and still feel that the quality of your sleep needs improvement, do talk to a doctor. In fact, a physician can recommend lifestyle changes, medication, or other therapies that may improve how well you sleep.
Vigorous ways to improve sleep quality as you age
Aging can affect the quality of your sleep. You may wake up more often and have a less consistent sleep pattern than you did when you were younger. You can take steps to overcome these issues as well. As you age, you may find yourself waking up throughout the night. You may then wonder, “Is this a natural part of aging, or is something wrong?”
Be rest assured that tossing and turning is nothing to be alarmed about. One of the most common and pronounced sleep changes that come with aging is waking up more frequently. The most likely cause is some type of physical discomfort, such as the need to use the bathroom or reposition an achy joint.
Luckily, with all the older folks you are able to fall back asleep just as quickly as younger people do. Plus, most age-dependent changes in sleep do occur before the age of 60, including the time it does take to fall asleep, which does not increase much later in life.
Other changes that are part of normal aging include getting less sleep overall and spending less time in the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle which is the dream phase of sleep. These changes can vary quite a bit between the individuals, and in general, they may affect men more than women.
Getting older is necessarily a sentence towards restless sleep for the rest of your life. While you may not be able to change the way your natural sleep rhythms and tendencies have been shifted, you can try many simple techniques to limit the disruptors and then improve your quality of sleep.
Try these ascertained tips for systematic and sound improvement:
- Review your medications and supplements with your doctor or pharmacist and consider changes to their use that could be affecting your sleep quality
- Stop drinking fluids within two hours of bedtime to minimize trips to the bathroom.
- If pain keeps you awake at night, talk to your doctor to see if taking over-the-counter pain medication before bed may also help. While this may not stop you from waking up, you may have an easier time falling back to sleep.
- Keep your sleep environment as dark as possible. This includes limiting lights from the television, computer screen, and even mobile devices. Light disrupts your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
- Limit caffeine intake, particularly in the eight hours before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol near bedtime alcohol may help you fall asleep, but once it wears off, it makes you more likely to wake up in the night.
- To maintain a quality sleep cycle, limit daytime napping to just 10 to 20 minutes. If you find that daytime naps make you less sleepy at bedtime, avoid napping altogether.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking 1 to 2 milligrams of melatonin (look for the sustained-release tablets) about two hours before bed.
- It is important to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you experience poor quality sleep despite taking these steps, or you are tired or sleepy on most days, talk to your doctor.
Experiments that can be taken further in order to improve sleep:
- Avoid beverages (including alcohol) at least two hours before bedtime to minimize trips to the bathroom. Take a short mid-afternoon nap (10 to 20 minutes) when your schedule allows and see if you feel more rested overall.
- Ease aches and pains that could disrupt your sleep by stretching for a few minutes each morning and at night. When it comes to sleep, there is lots of noise around the subject of ‘sleep quantity’ with the number of hours we must get a night.
- There is no magic number for how much sleep we must get remember one size does not fit all. There is a consensus that around seven to eight hours is best for adults, however, it is important to not get too hung up on the number of hours spent sleeping. Someone may get 6.5 hours of sleep a night and function perfectly well the next day, whereas some may need nine hours a night to feel fully refreshed.
Let us consider some tips to enhance a good night’s sleep
Tip 1: Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule, you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two.
- Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid sleeping in even on weekends.
- Be smart about napping.
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness
Tip 2: Control your exposure to light
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it is dark making you sleepy and less when it is bright making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm. Here is how to influence your exposure to light:
During the day
Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. The closer to the time you get up, the better. Have your coffee outside, for example, or eat breakfast by a sunny window. The light on your face will help you wake up
Spend more time outside during daylight. Take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.
Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window. If necessary, use a light therapy box. This simulates sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days.
Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive.
- Say no to late-night television.
- Don’t read with backlit devices.
- When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
- Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.
Tip 3: Exercise during the day
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.
For better sleep, time your exercise right: Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. If you’re still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.
Tip 4: Be smart about what you eat and drink
Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime.
- Limit caffeine and nicotine.
- Avoid big meals at night.
- Avoid alcohol before bed.
- Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening.
- Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs.
Tip 5: Wind down and clear your head
Do you often find yourself unable to get to sleep or regularly waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. Taking steps to manage your overall stress levels and learning how to curb the worry habit can make it easier to unwind at night. You can also try developing 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.
Problems clearing your head at night can also stem from your daytime habits. So, when it comes to getting to sleep at night, your brain is so accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation, it becomes difficult to unwind.
Help yourself by setting aside specific times during the day for checking your phone and social media and, as much as possible, try to focus on one task at a time. You will be better able to calm your mind at bedtime.
A deep breathing exercise to help you sleep.
Breathing from your belly rather than your chest can activate the relaxation response and lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels to help you drift off to sleep.
- Lay down in bed and do close your eyes.
- Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
Tip 6: Improve your sleep environment
A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it is time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.
- Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet
- Keep the noise down.
- Keep your room cool.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable.
- Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex.
Incorporate these lovely tips in your daily life in order to benefit from the fabulous and wholesome feeling of having a good night’s sleep.
“Sleep is the best meditation.”- Dalai Lama