Quality sleep is as important for good health as diet and exercise. Follow these eight golden rules for a successful slumber.
- Set a consistent 7-hour sleep schedule – go to bed and get up at the same time every day
Have you head of ‘circadian rhythm’? Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential bodily functions and processes. One of the most important and well-recognized circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule helps the circadian rhythm to create a stable cycle of restorative rest, and a better quality one. An irregular sleep schedule may result in sleep disorders such as insomnia, hypersomnia, sleep apnea, and parasomnia.
- Create regular bedtime rituals
Bedtime routines help the brain sees those consistent set of activities as precursor to sleep. Ideally, the activities are calming and relaxing such as reading a book, journaling, prayer, listening to music. Our bodies thrive on consistency; developing a bedtime routine can soothe anxiety – start tonight and you will be falling asleep faster and sleeping better in no time.
- Get regular exercise
Healthy physical activity levels contribute to sleep drive and high-quality sleep. Studies indicate that sleep may receive some of its most significant benefits from exercise that is consistent and routine over time, especially for people who have trouble sleeping. To develop a routine of regular exercise, consistency is key – pick a time of day that works for you and exercise at the same time every day. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week; if you can’t get in 30 minutes at once, try two 15-minute sessions. However, be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime as it can lead to over-stimulation and delay transition to sleep for some people.
- Keep a healthy diet
What you eat can affect how well you sleep. When the body absorbs proper nutrients, it provides the brain with the chemical environment it needs to produce the neurotransmitters it needs to maintain adequate sleep. Research has shown that a diet low in fiber and high in saturated fat and sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative sleep and more awakenings throughout the night.
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine
Nicotine is notoriously known for adverse health effects, but many is unaware of how significantly it can impact sleep. Nicotine in any form can increase the amount of time it takes to go from being fully awake to sleeping and extended durations of night-awakening.
You may have heard of people using alcohol as a sleep aid, but studies have shown that alcohol negatively affects overall sleep quality. As the body metabolizes the alcohol throughout the night, it exerts several biochemical effects that tend to lead to poorer sleep.
While caffeine affects everyone’s bodies differently, it is a stimulant that blocks production of the chemicals in the brain that tell our bodies to sleep. Furthermore, caffeine also reduces the amount of deep sleep that we can enjoy.
- Keep naps short
A brief nap can be refreshing and restorative but longer naps late in the day can disrupt our ability to fall asleep at night. Aim to nap for only 10 to 20 minute and avoid napping after 3 p.m. to reduce interference with night-time sleep quality.
- Use bedroom for sleep only
Keeping bedroom as a sacred place for sleep only helps to condition our brain to know that being in the bedroom means it’s time to fall asleep. To strengthen the mental association between bedroom and sleep, avoid using electronic devices and watching TV on bed – the emission of blue light from these glowing devices suppresses the body’s release of sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
- Use the right mattress
Having a suitable mattress that is catered to our sleep postures can significantly increase our quality of sleep. According to The Mattress Boutique, here are the recommendations for the different sleeping positions:
- Side sleeping: Memory Foam Mattress and Natural Latex Mattress are good for side sleepers due to their softness; a slightly softer mattress as this ensures the spine stays aligned and reduces stress on the shoulders and hips.
Featuring: King Koil Monique
- Back sleeping: Pocket Spring Mattress and Bonnell Spring Mattress are good for back sleepers as it’s an orthopaedic mattress that supports our back; choose a medium-firm mattress as it provides spinal support. Using a mattress that is too soft will affect hips and spinal alignment, while using a mattress that is too firm creates pressure around the hips or shoulders.
Featuring: Dunlopillo Spinal Comfort Premier
- Stomach sleeping: Natural Latex and individual Pocket Spring Mattress are suitable for stomach sleepers, as it keeps our spine in a neutral alignment and prevents back pain.
Featuring: Maxcoil Supreme Care Signature
If you are looking for professional advice on mattress selection to help facilitate a good night’s sleep, look up The Mattress Boutique and get access to a wide selection of mattresses from renowned brands such King Koil, Dunlopillo, Slumberland, Maxcoil, Sleepy Night, Sofz Sleep, Slumber Pedic and Nusleep.