Five Ways To Get A Better Night’s Sleep
We know that sound sleep is one of the keys to good health, and that sleep deprivation can put us at increased risk of developing health problems. We’ve got five tips you can use to get the sound sleep you need and deserve.
It is wonderful to curl up in a freshly made bed at the end of a productive day for a well-earned rest. A good night’s rest isn’t merely a comfort—it is also one of the best preventative measures we can take to maintain good health.
When we don’t get enough sleep—or when we get too much sleep—our heath can pay the price. Insufficient sleep can weaken our bones and increase our risks for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Too much sleep may increase our risk of stroke.
Our body’s natural rhythms are regulated by our brain, and this “body clock” helps to decide when we fall asleep, and when we wake up. One of the best methods to adjust your internal clock is to pay attention to your exposure to light and dark.
In the hectic pace of modern life, stress and time demands can make it difficult to get the sleep we need. For some of us, a sound night’s sleep becomes more elusive as we age. In a perfect world, we would all get between six and eight hours of sleep each night. If you find yourself unable to sleep for at least six or seven hours each night, these tips may help you sleep more soundly.
- Eat melatonin-rich foods. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain—it induces drowsiness. Produced in a daily rhythm, melatonin levels climb after dark and ebb when the sun comes up. As we age, our body manufactures less melatonin, and our levels drop. One way to increase melatonin levels is to add melatonin-rich foods like alfalfa sprouts and sunflower seeds to your diet.
- Limit use of electronics before bed. Your television, computer, and smartphone emit “blue light” that sends a daytime signal to your body, and triggers lower melatonin levels. This is great during the day when you want to be alert and productive, but at night these signals can sabotage restful sleep.
- Lower the lights after dark. Using low-wattage bulbs or candles in the evening create a serene, relaxing atmosphere, and help you to wind down and prepare to sleep.
- Coordinate your sleep time to hours of darkness. When your bedtime corresponds to darkness, you are training your body that darkness means time to sleep. This may mean going to bed a bit earlier—which can also help you get the hours of sleep you need.
- Get lots of light during daylight hours. Light during the active hours of the day is the complement to associating darkness with sleep. When your active hours occur during daylight, you are training your body to understand that light means activity and darkness means sleep.
Following these tips can help train your body to respond to darkness with feelings of drowsiness, and make it easier for you to get the sleep your body needs.
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