Psychologists at the University of Warwick recently published a study which determined that “improving your sleep makes you feel as good as a lottery winner”. The quality of sleep, the study reported, is much more important than the quantity of sleep with regards to improved health and overall wellbeing.
Specifically, Dr Nicole Tang of the university’s Department of Psychology found that “improving your sleep quality leads to levels of mental and physical health comparable to those of somebody who’s won a jackpot of around £200,000”.
While not everyone may be lucky enough to win a jackpot playing the US Powerball lottery, all of us are capable of improving the quality of our sleeping patterns.
Here are five tips which will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule. If you maintain a good circadian rhythm, your body will know instinctively when to go to sleep and when to get up in the morning. You should avoid long naps and save sleeping for night time and stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible, even on weekends. Your body’s internal clock will help you sleep when you need to sleep and stay awake the rest of the day.
Turn things off when you get into bed. Leave your smartphones, tablets, and laptops far away from your bed as their blue light simulates daylight. Dim the lights in the evening hours to help convince your body and your mind that it will soon be time to sleep.
Avoid stimulants before bedtime. Stay away from things that will stimulate your body and mind at night time. Stay clear of heavy food which can disrupt your digestive system and instead eat light meals. Limit how much alcohol you drink in the evening hours and instead drink milk and chamomile tea. And possibly the most important things to avoid at bedtime are caffeine and nicotine.
Shut down your mind. Quite often the stress and pressures of work accompany us into the bedroom and keep our minds fully awake. If you have something important to remember for the next day, write it down. Get into a calm, restful mood by reading, listening to quiet music, and even by taking a warm bath.
Keep it dark. Keeping your bedroom dark and quiet will give you a good chance of sleeping well. The clock next to your bed will lead to your checking the time constantly throughout the night. If and when you get out of bed to go to the bathroom, avoid turning on bright lights. If noises outside the room disturb your sleep, eliminate them or use a fan to mask them. If you’re too hot or too cold, you probably won’t sleep well so keep your bedroom well ventilated.
One other piece of advice: stay away from the sleeping pills. While medication can provide immediate relief to an inability to fall asleep, it could be less effective, and even addictive, in the long run.
The benefits of good sleeping patterns should be obvious to all. In addition to the tips we mentioned, staying healthy with regular exercise and good nutrition may be the best way to ensure that you’ll get a good night’s sleep.
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What are your tips for getting a good night’s sleep?
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*This is a collaborative post