There’s nothing worse than trying to function during the day when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. It makes problems seem more insurmountable than they are, you don’t get everything done, and you feel exhausted.
Sleep is an essential function for the health of the human body. Without it, the body is unable to sustain all the vital functions it performs. A lack of sleep can have adverse effects on your body and threaten your long-term health.
So, what can you do to get a decent night’s sleep?
1. It’s all in the timing
Circadian rhythms govern the body’s need for sleep. These rhythms dictate when the body wants to be active and when it wants to rest. If your circadian rhythms are disturbed, you will struggle to sleep. Better known as the body clock, keeping constant circadian rhythms is necessary for quality sleep.
One of the easiest ways to keep your body clock functioning is maintaining constant sleep patterns. To do this, you need to head for bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day.
That’s right; sleeping late on a Saturday morning isn’t as good for you as you might have thought. While there will always be things that crop up, preventing us from maintaining a constant sleep pattern, it should be implemented at most times.
2. Set your bedroom up for sleep
If your bedroom is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, you’re unlikely to have one. There are several things you can do in your bedroom to help improve your sleep quality.
Make sure that the temperature in the room is neither too hot nor too cold. Your bedding should also not leave you freezing or sweating. Ensure that your pillows are comfortable as well.
Darkness triggers the body clock, making the body want to sleep. You need to make sure that your room is dark at night. This might mean getting heavy drapes or blinds. Make sure that there are no cracks that let the light into the room.
3. Rule out medical causes
There are medical conditions that interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. These include sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by a disruption of a person’s breathing while they are asleep. A single disruption is short, but a sleep apnea sufferer has hundreds of them. The brain is deprived of oxygen during each disruption.
People who snore excessively and wake up tired should rule out sleep apnea as a cause. If you have sleep apnea, you have to use a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) which helps to keep oxygen flowing to the brain. You’ll also need a CPAP cleaning system to prevent the accumulation of bacteria in the machine.
4. Modify your pre-sleep habits
Getting a decent night’s sleep doesn’t start when you get into bed. How you spend the last few hours before you turn off the lights will also influence the quality of your sleep.
Avoid drinking caffeine as it is a stimulant, which can keep you awake. Alcohol might make you feel drowsy, but, like caffeine, it is a diuretic. You’ll need to get up to go to the bathroom and drink water and might struggle to go back to sleep.
Computer, tablet, and smartphone screens stimulate the brain. When you use them right before you try to go to sleep, your brain might struggle to enter a state of rest.
Try meditation and deep breathing exercises when you get into bed. They help to relax the body and mind, facilitating the onset of sleep.