If you’re yawning today, you’re not alone. It’s largely because we live such busy lives: Online school, homework, exams, jobs and managing home — all compete for our time. Thus, many of us struggle to get good quality sleep.
Sleeping well is essential for your health and wellbeing, and poor sleep can have significant impacts on both your physical and mental performance.
Sleep experts recommend a variety of procedures to improve the general quality of sleep:
- Maintain a regular sleep-wake pattern to establish a stable circadian rhythm.
- Get the amount of sleep you need during the week and avoid sleeping in on weekends, as doing so will disrupt your sleep rhythm. Even if you sleep poorly or not at all one night, try to maintain your regular schedule the next.
- If you have trouble falling asleep at night, avoid napping if possible. Evening naps should be especially avoided because they will make you less sleepy when you go to bed
- Avoid stimulants. This includes not just tobacco products and coffee but also caffeinated soft drinks and chocolate (sorry), which contain caffeine. It can take the body 4 to 5 hours to reduce the amount of caffeine in the bloodstream by percent.
- Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills. As a depressant, alcohol may make it easier to go to sleep, but it disrupts the sleep cycle and interferes with REM sleep: Sleeping pills also impair REM sleep, and their constant use can lead to dependence and insomnia.
- Try to go to bed in a relaxed state. Muscle-relaxation techniques and meditation can reduce tension, remove worrisome thoughts, and help induce sleep.
- Avoid physical exercise before bedtime because it is too stimulating. If you are unable to fall asleep, do not use exercise to try to wear yourself out.
- If you are having sleep difficulties, avoid performing non sleep activities in your bedroom.
- Set your bedroom temperature. Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. Bedroom temperature affects sleep quality more than external noise. Increased body and bedroom temperature can decrease sleep quality and increase wakefulness
- Taking a relaxing bath or shower can help improve overall sleep quality and help people — especially older adults — fall asleep faster. Try taking a hot bath 90 minutes before going to bed for improved sleep quality and get more deep sleep.
- Invest in a quality mattress and pillow. Good quality bedding can decrease lower back pain, shoulder pain and stiffness in back. It’s recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years.
Good sleep doesn’t just mean lots of sleep: it means the right kind of sleep. While you might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep.