We’ve all experienced how challenging a day can be when running off poor sleep from the night before.
Having successive nights of poor sleep not only leaves us frustrated and ill-prepared for the day, but can lead to a multitude of ailments and serious conditions.
Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep.
Exercise: Studies have found moderate bouts of exercise lead to improvement in the following night’s sleep. It’s encouraging to know even a little will go a long way when it comes to increasing the quality of sleep. Try 10 minutes each day of yoga or light exercise.
Darkness: As our circadian rhythm is influenced by natural light and darkness, it is important to shut out as much light as possible. Modern electrical lighting has been found to disrupt the body clock, sending signals to your brain that indicate it is time to be alert. Blue lights from computer and smartphone screens are particularly stimulating, so it is important to avoid using devices near bedtime. If you can’t pull yourself away from the screen, there are computer programs available that can adjust the colour of your computer’s display.
Establish a bedtime routine: Maintaining roughly the same bedtime and waking time has been found to assist natural circadian rhythms and make it easier to go to sleep deeply and wake more easily.
Mindfulness meditation: Studies have found mindfulness meditation to be a positive aid in improved sleep quality; the calming of nerves and reduced anxiety that often follows meditation assists psychological and physiological preparation for sleep.
Diet: Don’t overlook your diet and nutrition when taking steps to improve sleep duration and quality. Along with reducing or avoiding alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, reach for protein-rich foods. Most protein-rich foods are a common source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to promote sleep.