8 Healthy Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep
Waking up feeling refreshed is an incredible feeling and for good reason: sleep affects the health of everything from your brain, heart, and lungs to your metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.1 Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your overall physical and emotional health, and vital for heart health.2
There are many things you can do to help improve the quality of your sleep. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Don’t go to sleep right after dinner
An after-dinner nap might sound appealing, especially following a big festive dinner, but sleeping right after eating a big meal can impair your digestion and lead to weight gain.3 Better to take a walk right after eating than to lie down and go to sleep. Some light activity will increase your circulation and aid digestion, while lying down can have the opposite effect and may even cause indigestion which could keep you up all night. Try to eat dinner earlier in the evening when you’re still active enough to burn off the extra calories.
2. Stick to the same sleep-wake schedule
Just like any other priority in your day, getting enough sleep is up there with exercise and nutrition. Setting yourself a regular bedtime ensures you get your required 7-8 hours sleep every night. Having a bedtime routine can also help you unwind before bed and prepare you for a better night’s sleep.
Recommended Amount of Sleep by Age2
- Adults aged 18 years and older: 7-8 hours a day
- Teens aged 13-18 years: 8-10 hours a day
- Children aged 6-12 years: 9-12 hours a day
- Children aged 3-5 years: 10-13 hours a day (including naps)
- Children aged 1-2 years: 11-14 hours a day (including naps)
- Infants aged 4-12 months: 12-16 hours a day (including naps)
3. Give your eyes a break – turn off all screens one hour before bedtime
The bright lights from your electronic devices can interfere with the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. As daylight falls, your body releases melatonin to trigger sleepiness and muscle relaxation to help ease you into a comfortable sleep. When this process is interrupted by the glow of your screen right before bed, it can take longer for you to fall asleep.4 Get into the habit of switching off all digital devices an hour before you go to sleep. Make it part of your bedtime routine.
4. Remove sleep distractions
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary away from all the distractions and noises of the outside world. A darkened, quiet, well-ventilated room is ideal for a good night’s sleep. Install blackout curtains to block out the glare of street lights and passing cars, and wear a sleep mask to further darken the room. To cut down on noise, try wearing foam earplugs. Without so many distractions to keep you awake, you should sleep like a baby.5
5. Talk about sleep disturbances
If there is something troubling you that’s keeping you up at night, try chatting about it with your partner. Getting things off your mind is a great way to ease stress and worry. If you don’t want to wake your significant other, try keeping a bedtime journal or sleep log and write things down.6 Journaling is proven to help ease emotional stress and uncover what’s bothering you. At the very least, writing is better than lying in the dark, wide awake worrying.
6. Sleep comfortably
If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, it might be because your mattress is old and lumpy or your pillows are inadequate. Buying a supportive mattress and ergonomic pillows is a worthwhile investment, especially when it comes to your health. Comfort is essential for a good night’s sleep.7
7. Relaxation – try yoga stretches or deep breathing exercises
Once you’ve turned off all your screens for the night, it’s time to wind down and prepare yourself for sleep. Try a few yoga stretches such as child’s pose, corpse pose, and big toe pose to help you relax. Belly breathing and other deep breathing exercises can also help you clear your head. With regular practice of yoga before bed, you can improve your quality of sleep, not to mention your quality of life.8
8. Health concerns – if you suffer from insomnia or recurring sleep issues, check with your doctor
When the quality of your sleep suffers consistently, it can increase your risk of heart health issues.1 Even losing one to two hours of sleep a night can negatively affect your performance and productivity during the day, not to mention mess with your hormones and metabolism. Ongoing sleep deficiency can take its toll on the health of your heart.2 So check with your doctor if lack of sleep is an issue for you.
Most of us could use a few extra hours of sleep a night. The trick is to make sleep and bedtime a priority to ensure you’re getting enough slumber every night. Because a sound sleep is good for your heart and health.
- Blog Contributor