The quality of our day is greatly influenced by how well we slept the night before. If we follow various habits and control certain factors, we put ourselves in the best possible position at the start of each day. This enables us to function better, have improved mood and concentration, and perform the tasks we must do throughout the day in a more alert, efficient manner. It is also beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing.

Our bodies follow a 24-hour biological clock known as a circadian rhythm. It is a natural, internal process involving the brain, body and hormones that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. A person’s exposure to light intensity throughout the day affects the circadian rhythm. It is important to increase exposure to bright light, preferably natural sunlight, during the daytime. This helps to keep us awake, alert and active in our daily routines. At night, however, we must reduce our exposure to light as much as possible. This is because light supresses hormones like melatonin, which induces sleep, from being released in the brain. It is important to avoid blue light in particular, which is emitted from the screens of smartphones, computers, TV and other electronic gadgets, at least two hours before bed. It is recommended to use a blue-light filter on your smartphone at night in order to get better sleep.

It is better not to have stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine late at night. Also do not consume any alcohol as it has an impact on melatonin production. Although drinking sufficient water throughout the day is crucial for hydration, it is better not to drink too much of it and other fluids too close to bedtime as having to wake up to urinate can disrupt the sleep cycle. Taking naps longer than thirty minutes during the daytime can also affect sleep at night as it can negatively affect the body clock. It is ideal to wake up and go to bed roughly the same time every day. Try to avoid sleeping-in and staying up late on the weekends. A person may have an underlying physical or psychological illness keeping them awake at night. This needs to be evaluated and appropriately treated.

A significant factor in getting a good night’s sleep is one’s bedroom environment. It has been shown that an optimum bedroom environment is one that is cool, dark, dry, quiet and clean. Furthermore, one’s mindset before bed plays a role in dictating one’s quality of sleep. It is vital to maintain low stress levels during bedtime. Taking a warm bath or shower and meditating before going to bed can help dissipate the stresses accumulated from the course of the day. Any kind of exercising and physical activity can greatly improve one’s sleep at night. It is important to exhaust ourselves during the daytime physically in order to fall asleep easier at night. However, due to the release of hormones like adrenaline, it can make us too alert, so it is better not to exert yourself too close to bedtime.

To conclude, attaining the right quality and quantity of sleep is fundamental to long-term health and wellbeing. Everybody is different, so finding which of the recommendations mentioned above suit yourself is key to developing a healthy relationship with sleep.

Article Credits
Rohan Panicker, Creative Writer, CareMithra