Several Ways to Get a Solid 8 Hours Sleep
Last week, we went over why it was a good idea to be well rested. It’s just all around better for your health. However, I understand that most people work night shifts or have demanding lifestyles. Heck, sometimes you suffer from insomnia or you are just too anxious to even try. Here are a few techniques and tips that will help you get some decent rest.
Think About Lighting
Believe it or not, humans are biologically wired to stay awake during the day and sleep at night. This is part of an internal time clock that most plants, insects, fungi, and animals have known as a circadian rhythm. Keeping to that rhythm is part of our very survival. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “A lack of synchrony between the organism and the external environment may lead to the individual’s immediate demise.”
A couple of sleep studies have proven that “Exposure to bright light resulted in substantial changes in sleep quality.” So, it might be a good idea to get out in the sun during high noon to keep yourself awake during the day. If you have a night shift, invest in some bright lightbulbs in your house. All you need is about an hour or two of daily exposure to light to see a noticeable improvement. Also, try to avoid looking at bright blue lights in general right before you go to bed. The color tricks part of your brain into thinking that you are looking at the sky on a brightly lit day. So, just avoid any blue lighting from screens.
Naturally, the opposite is just as true.
If you decrease your exposure to light during the night, you will most likely stay well rested. That means decreasing the brightness on your phone at night. Speaking of your phone…
Turn Off the Television and the Smart Phone
Even I am guilty of this one. In this day and age, it is just easy for people to get addicted to media. And there is a bit of legitimacy for the need of a soft nightlight or some soft music to help you fall asleep. However, if your environment is too distracting, you will kill any chances of getting proper sleep. Healthline explains the best way to go about it. “To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.”
Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock. If it is all you have to rely on, charge it across the other side of the room. You don’t need immediate access to it if you are planning on going to sleep anyway.
What’s more, if you are watching or listening to something stressful like the news or rock music, you are far less likely to be relaxed enough to sleep. And while we are on the subject of relaxing…
Utilize a Relaxation Routine Before Bed
An hour or two before bed should be dedicated for a relaxation routine. One of the best ways to do that is to take a hot bath or shower, especially if you are an older individual. Another way to relax is the utilization of massage, either through an external device or a TENs unit. If you don’t want to pay for a massager or any sort of bells in whistles, there is autogenic training.
Autogenic training is a relaxation technique in which a person closes their eyes and imagines each part of the body from the toes to the top of the head as completely relaxed dead weight. It is a practice that is most common in yoga classes, which, if you think about it, is another form of relaxation.
Not only is exercising regularly a generally good thing to do for your weight, it can help get you better rest. Back in 2012, a sleep study was published in Copenhagen, Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. They found in a study of several overweight men that were put on a regular exercise routine that, ” … a high daily dose of aerobic exercise for 13 weeks increases sleep duration, tends to decrease sleep efficiency, and tends to improve subjective sleep quality.”
Regular exercise has also helped with stress management. Anyone who has ever suffered from chronic anxiety can tell you that stress makes sleep nigh impossible. And it isn’t hard to find a person who suffers from stress and lack of sleep. 7 out of 10 Americans go through this thanks to an increase in work hours and round the clock entertainment.
“If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. That is because”… brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones.” Then it repeats in a frustrating cyclical pattern.
But, if you exercise, you tend to run those hormones out of your system preemptively before it starts to disrupt the rest of your afternoon.
So, find a way to take a walk for a half hour every day. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. If we put our foot down and start taking care of ourselves more, people will have to take notice and start making it a routine themselves.