Sleep is an essential function that helps your body heal, rest, and recover. Having the right amount of sleep at night, coupled with good quality sleep, prepares you to address the challenges of the day. However when compromised, the opposite is the case making you unprepared for the challenges of the day.
Follow these five easy tips to improve your quality of sleep:
- Set down your ideas. Most people today are busy and tend to carry the stress of the day into the evening. If these stresses are not “set down” it can compromise one’s quality of sleep. A good strategy to set down your ideas is to take a piece of paper and write down things of concern which need to be addressed. Granted, it will not be addressed immediately, but you want to “place” those ideas down so you can pick them up later. There will always be time to appropriately address the tasks of concern, with improved quality sleep they can be appropriately addressed.
- Don’t drink high volumes of water prior to bed. Simply drinking a high volume of water or fluid will increase the likelihood of you using the bathroom in the middle of the night. Waking up in the middle of the night will interrupt your sleep cycle, compromising your quality of sleep. This interruption can make it more difficult for you to fall back asleep. Uninterrupted sleep leads to good sleep quality.
- Don’t check your email before bed. Prior to going to sleep you want to “park” your ideas down to avoid triggering any sleep disrupting stress. Checking your email prior to bed can trigger a stream of thoughts or anxiety which can delay falling asleep. The stream of thoughts may be accompanied with anxiety or excitement, preventing you from falling asleep. The longer it takes for you to fall asleep the less sleep you will get. Being able to fall asleep without distraction is the set up for good quality sleep.
- Don’t look at your cell phone, computer screen, or television at least one hour before bed. Currently, these devices have integrated themselves into our daily lives. While they are a great source of utility they are not helpful prior to going to sleep. The light emitted from these devices disrupts our circadian rhythms, which sets rhythms for when we naturally fall asleep. When this is disrupted, our sleep patterns are distorted resulting poor sleep quality.
- One hour before you go to sleep read, stretch, breath, or do anything relaxing. These serve as great alternatives to unhealthy pre-sleep habits. One or a combination of these allows your body to relax and let go of the stresses of the day. These are an essential set up for forming healthy sleeping habits.
Musola Oniyide is a physical therapist at the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston with a focused interest in the study of pain science. His primary goal with his patients is to optimize their function so that they can live their best lives. Whenever he is not doing that he is drawing, completing home workout programs, reading graphic novels, playing video games, reading books related to religion & philosophy, or traveling the world.