Not sleeping soundly or easily at night? Sleep deprivation can significantly affect your overall health and undermine your work performance throughout the day. Not only will symptoms of exhaustion and burnout hit you sooner and more drastically, you'll be at a much higher risk of falling ill.
To make matters worse, sleep deprivation may also spur the nastiest of headaches. Though medicine can certainly offset the magnitude of your pain, a more prudent step would be to eliminate these symptoms altogether. Put simply - sleep heals. These seven sleeping habits will help you to feel more productive and energized than ever before.
Do simple exercises before you sleep.
Calming stretches and exercises can alleviate physical and emotional tension. It prepares your body to relax, helping you to drift off into dreamland with little to no difficulty. Your bedtime ritual doesn’t have to be complicated- it can consist of easy deep breathing exercises, simple hand movements and leg stretching. You can even use a foam roller or massage your body with your hands to loosen any residual stiffness in your muscles. Tight knots in your body tend to disrupt your sleep. By loosening up your muscles, you'll be able to wake up in the morning with minimal pain.
Abide by a sleeping schedule.
Create a sleeping schedule and treat your bedtime as a 'deadline'. Tell yourself that you will go to bed at an exact hour and wake up on time. This sleeping habit will naturally reset your body's circadian rhythms, which tend to get disrupted from electric light. Once your body has settled into a sleep schedule, you may be surprised - you'll hardly need alarms blaring at you to wake up.
Avoid heavy meals right before bed time.
Heavy dinners can wreak havoc on the quality of your sleep. Bloating can cause discomfort, which makes it harder to achieve the REM stage of our sleep cycle. Sleeping with a stomach full of food can also lead to acid reflux, as well as possible heartburn and indigestion.
Design your Bedroom with Sleep-Inducing Colors
Colors affect our mood. Therefore, our sleeping patterns may very well be affected by the colours of our bedroom walls. Try painting your room with bluish hues or creamy whites. Blues will relax your mind into a state of calmness and bliss, while white colors create an atmosphere of comfort and cleanliness. Heavy curtains can also filter out residual light from outdoors, lulling you into a deeper state of peacefulness.
Avoid Midnight Snacks
It is not unusual for a person to wake up in the middle of the night to scavenge for food available in the fridge or hidden sweets in the cupboards. As fun as it is to hunt for hidden treasures, the quest for better sleep is indubitably more important. Not only will midnight snacking disrupt your sleep cycle, you'll also be eating when your system is slowed down - making it harder to process energy as efficiently.
Turn off electronics
Avoid watching television, and reading from smartphones, or any backlit devices right before bedtime. Electronic light acts as an stimulus for your mind, making it harder for you ease into a natural sleep cycle.
To Nap or Not to Nap?
There’s nothing wrong with taking naps, but try napping during the afternoon rather than the early evening. Later naps are likely to keep you awake at night. Be smart with your naps, especially if you're a working professional. If you're the type to sleep before dinner, power naps will only encourages insomnia.
This are some of the easiest sleeping habits that you can adapt to get the good night’s sleep you’ve been deprived of for so long.
Ianna Reign Stevenson is a professional writer based in London, England. She is a young mother of a three year old toddler and a physical therapist by profession. Connect with her on Twitter.