Bedtime habits for good sleep

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Bedtime habits for good sleep

Posted on : Monday 1st of May 2017

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Like with most other things, there's a protocol for peaceful bedtime. A comforting bath, softly-lit ambience, relaxing conversation and no stimulants... are some factors that decide whether you'll sleep well. Studies prove a good sleep hygiene solves long-term sleep issues.

Lay out your clothes

You can help your body recognise that bedtime is looming by setting routines and repeating them every night, like laying out your nightwear. If people establish nightly routines, they can help their brain shift into sleep mode faster.

Fix the lights

As it starts getting dark outside, your body releases the chemical melatonin, which peaks at 2-3 am. It automatically makes you sleepy. Any kind of light (gadgets, phones, iPads) that interferes with the secretion of melatonin, causes a delay in sleep and poor quality slumber. Lights in the bedroom should be dimmed and gadget use avoided for at least one hour prior to bedtime.

No stimulants

A heavy meal or spicy snack too close to bedtime can leave your digestive system working overtime. Also, any substance high in caffeine or nicotine acts as a stimulant and interferes with the ability to fall asleep. They are best avoided for at least 4-6 hours before bed. Also, contrary to common belief, alcohol relaxes and induces sleep only initially. In the long run, it actually keeps you from getting the deep, restorative REM sleep you need to feel refreshed.

Cut the noise

High intensity sounds can cause arousals (periods of wakefulness in sleep) resulting in poor quality of sleep. It results in fatigue during the day. For instance, intense traffic noise causes increased cortisol levels, resulting in poor sleep. So, what content you watch or listen to before sleeping is also crucial. Soothing chants or symphonies, a light banter with kids or simply catching up with your spouse can put you at ease.

To nap or not to nap

Snoozing while travelling or catching short power-naps in between work is a habit with most of us. However, studies have shown that sleep is best obtained in a single and continuous block and such frequent naps during the day may eventually hamper a restful night's sleep.

Breakfast, rich in vitamin B6, and sunlight exposure in the morning hours (for at least 10 min) is known to improve sleep quality.

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