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Effective Strategies To Achieve A Healthy Sleep Cycle

March 1, 2021

Getting adequate rest is important in maintaining a healthy and positive lifestyle. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced world, it can often be difficult for individuals to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Many individuals work full time and have families, leaving very little time to devote to themselves. Getting enough sleep should be a priority as it offers everyone the ability to function more efficiently on a daily basis. The good news is it is possible to change some simple things and get a good night's sleep every night.

Establish A Routine

Establishing a regular bedtime routine can make a huge impact on an individual's sleep cycle. The mind and body both respond to patterns, and individuals will eventually learn to associate certain activities with going to sleep, triggering the process in their mind and body unconsciously, making falling asleep much easier. Taking a warm bath or reading a few chapters of a book are just a couple of ideas for some good before-bed activities. Both are relaxing and help wind the body down. Starting the bedtime routine around an hour before falling asleep is advised for best results.

Exercise Regularly

It has been proven that those who exercise during the day fall asleep with more ease at night. Exercise helps the body function as efficiently as possible, while boosting the individual's mind for the rest of the day. It also helps ease stress, which is a common cause as to why many individuals find themselves tossing and turning seemingly all night. Timing is key and exercising right before bed is usually not ideal, as working out tends to be energizing. Thus, individuals should try to exercise in the morning or early afternoon. Any exercise performed in the evening should be light, such as a little bit of yoga.

Cut Back Caffeine

When it comes to caffeine consumption, it is often one of the hardest things for individuals to give up. Most find themselves needing that boost, either in the morning, afternoon, or both. Giving up caffeine, or at least cutting back, may have dramatic impacts on an individual's sleep schedule. An afternoon coffee or soda can stay in an individual's system for hours, thus impacting their ability to fall asleep. Getting little sleep, then kicks in those caffeine cravings the next day, thereby initiating a vicious cycle. Power through and ditch that afternoon coffee or soda.

Set A Waking Time

Waking up at the same time every day helps the body establish a routine. While some individuals do something like this for during the week, since they often need to get to work at the same time, this goes for the weekends as well. By waking up at the same time, an individual's internal clock starts realizing a pattern and will then allow for a regulated sleep schedule. Even if sleep is lost the night before, waking up at the same time should still be maintained, as this can help fix the issue faster. Staying as structured as possible is what helps the most to keep the sleep schedule intact.

Turn Off Electronics

Exposure to electronics before bed can impact the individual's ability to sleep soundly. It is wise not to incorporate the use of electronics into nighttime rituals, but rather turn them off at least an hour before bed and allow the brain a chance to wind down. The brightness from the abundance of digital screens stimulates the thought process, so getting away from electronic devices is important for regulating a sleep pattern. Turning off computers, silencing phones, and avoiding television will help get individuals sleeping soundly and waking up ready to face each day. Individuals can also benefit from using blue light filtering applications on their electronics as well, which makes looking at screens often easier for the body to tolerate.

Choose The Right Pillow And Mattress

Sleeping on the wrong surface can change an individual's circadian rhythm, keeping them awake or causing them to wake up several times during the night. When an individual's body is not in the proper position at night, they may experience joint pain or breathing abnormalities. The pillow an individual uses is also important for keeping their neck in the proper position. Individuals must make sure to choose the right mattress and pillow for their height, weight, age, and any health conditions they may have.

Before buying a mattress, box spring, bed frame, and other bedding, individuals should take the time to research the items so they can choose products that will improve their sleeping It is vital to replace a pillow, mattress, and box spring occasionally. A pillow typically requires replacement once a year, but individuals should buy a new box spring and mattress approximately every ten years. It is also a good idea to turn and flip a mattress every three months to help it last longer.

Turn The Temperature Down

Sleeping in a hot environment is difficult, so individuals should find ways to keep their bedroom cooler. Turning the temperature down on the furnace during the winter, and using an air conditioner during the summer are both great options. Individuals can also install a ceiling fan or use circulating box fans in their bedroom to keep it cool. If individuals must sleep during the day because they work at night, they can keep their bedroom cooler by hanging blackout curtains over the windows. They should also ensure they don't forget to change their bedding when the weather is warmer.

If individuals use cotton sheets and lightweight blankets, they will feel cooler at night. Individuals can increase ventilation in their bedroom by opening the windows. Making sure the climate-control vents are not covered is another way to have a cooler bedroom. When individuals have a humid home, it will feel uncomfortably hot in the summer, so they should install a dehumidification system to reduce the moisture in the air.

Get Up After Twenty Minutes

It is not a good idea for individuals to stay in bed while they toss and turn trying to go to sleep. Those who have trouble with this should get up after twenty minutes of trying to fall asleep to do something relaxing. They can keep a book in their bedroom and sit in a comfortable chair to read for a few minutes, or they can listen to soothing music. Performing mild stretches to release the tension in the back, arms and legs can help individuals sleep as well. If individuals feeling stressed can meditate for a few minutes to clear the anxious thoughts from their mind.

Individuals can also use special breathing techniques that will help eliminate stress, thus improving their sleeping cycle. Individuals should, however, avoid engaging in stimulating exercise or watching television because these activities will disrupt their sleeping cycle. After a short while of doing something else, individuals can return to bed and try falling asleep again.

Reduce Fluids Before Bed

The beverages individuals drink can also alter their sleeping patterns, giving them insomnia or causing them to wake up after only an hour as they need to pee. Those who enjoy drinking caffeinated coffee or tea should stop drinking these beverages early in the day. They can switch to decaffeinated beverages to avoid changing their body's circadian rhythm. It is important to remember soft drinks and energy drinks may contain caffeine that prevents sleep.

In addition, citrus fruit drinks containing grapefruit, orange, or lemon can irritate the bladder, leading to frequent urination. Beverages with sodium, extra sugar, or artificial ingredients such as dyes and flavorings can also change an individual's sleeping cycle. Alternatively, drinking a lot of water during the day can keep someone hydrated, helping them sleep at night without feeling thirsty. However, it is a good idea to reduce fluids before bed to avoid needing to scurry to the bathroom several times throughout the night.

Maintain A Healthy Diet

Individuals who have problems sleeping throughout the night might need to improve their sleep with food. Consuming the appropriate foods can help individuals sleep better without any disruptions, but if they consume the wrong things, they will often have problems going to sleep and remaining asleep. Maintain a healthy diet that includes eating numerous vegetables and fruits rather than living on junk foods such as greasy cheeseburgers or potato chips, which can cause indigestion. Fresh fruits and vegetables are preferred, but individuals can also consume canned or frozen produce.

Individuals should make sure to prepare these foods with low-fat sauces, and also, avoid adding sugar or sodium to their recipes, as these can disrupt sleep in many ways. It is also a good idea to eat lean proteins such as chicken breasts. In addition, individuals may wish to eat dairy products such as yogurt or cheese along with whole-grain bread or pasta to help with their sleep and overall health. Acid reflux, which can disrupt someone's sleep as well, can be prevented if individuals avoid spicy or acidic foods, particularly before bed.

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