Because of our bad sleep cycle, our bodies are exhausted and the most relieving free thing that we take rest from is not effective anymore.
Sleep must be the place and time where we rest our bodies, let go of all the stress of the day, and recharge ourselves. However, it is more common these days to see people waking up with headache and low energy. Drinking tons of coffee gives them a push for a few hours then they go back to low mood and energy.
In the last few years, people are not having a good amount of sleep anymore, on top of that, it is low quality also. And poor sleep has a negative effect on our brain function and hormones. If you can’t let the body and organs take good rest how are you expecting them to function on a high-level next day?
How To Have A Better Sleep Cycle
Everything we do in our daily life has direct effects on our sleep. The more we continue with wrong sleeping patterns the more we are losing our bodies. And the huge problem is that even though we know how important it is we still have a tendency to neglect it.
Everything is connected, what you eat, drink, feed to your brain, how you spend your time, everything! And it is important to work on your habits under any circumstance by only taking small steps. Small steps leave you with no more excuses.
So let’s move to see all the things that are impacting our sleep negatively and how to have a better sleep cycle.
1-Sleep and Wake Up On Consistent Times
Sleeping and waking up at consistent times help your sleep cycle in the long term.
People who have irregular sleep patterns have reported low quality sleep. This is because our bodies find it hard to deal with this inconsistency, and this irregularity causes changes in our circadian rhythm which also affect melatonin level in our bodies.
Think about it, in order for anything to thrive it needs a structure, structure is about putting the right boundaries and strategy. Same here, you need to set boundaries to your bad habits in order to have a better cycle. Establish the right structure, and only after you stick to it for a good while, you will start seeing the difference.
2-Reduce Caffeine Amounts
This is hard for all of us, I know but let’s look at some facts about caffeine that are affecting quality of sleep negatively.
Caffeine is considered as a psychoactive stimulant (which elevates temporary alertness, mood, and awareness) and even though we don’t really care about the amounts we consume, caffeine has a huge impact and can disrupt our quality of sleep.
Drinking caffeine in the evening will cause you a lot of difficulties to fall asleep. Some people say that they can fall asleep immediately after drinking coffee. The truth is, if you don’t get difficulty falling asleep, you will have difficulty staying asleep because you will encounter a lot of night awakening.
Another fact about coffee is its action duration. Caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours, and a quarter-life of 12 hours. This means that a quarter of the cup of coffee you drink around 1 PM will remain in your brain after 12 hours.
It is commonly known to not drink any coffee six hours prior to sleep. But it turns out that we were totally oblivious to the 12 hours duration. This is why we recommend you to drink coffee early in the morning and not consume coffee at all after 10 AM. So by the time you get to bed your body will be out of any caffeine residue.
All in all, caffeine, if consumed reasonably it will benefit you. But caffeine also impacts our sleep in many different ways. So in order to keep your sleep cycle, I suggest you start considering your caffeine consumption.
3-Don’t Eat Late In The Evening
Everything is connected. Having a healthy diet is an essential thing not only health wise, but also for your sleep.
Every meal you eat is affecting your quality of sleep. The more sugary things, saturated fat, and less fiber you eat, the more you will have light sleep and continuous awakening throughout the night.
On top of that, we all know that late-night snacks are a disaster. You know this not only because of your inability to sleep well after eating them. But also the general feeling of heaviness and discomfort they cause.
If you want a good sleep quality you need to focus on your eating. Some people find it hard to control sugar amounts or snacks. And even though we highly recommend you to find a way to do so, we can go with the flow and only suggest you at least not eat them before going to bed.
Committing to a healthy diet is not easy but it is not rocket science as well. All you have to do is to try. And here in howtomotivate.me we collected very healthy recipes for dinner and desserts that leave you no excuse to not try!
4-Be Mindful About Drinking Alcohol
Unfortunately, there is a misconception that drinking alcohol aids in deep and better sleeping. The truth is alcohol makes the nerve cell system less excited and leads them to relax which yes, causes deep sleep but not quality sleep.
Alcohol is known as a sedative, which leads you to sleep really deep but at the same time, it causes less time than usual in the important rapid eye movement stage of sleep which is a crucial stage of our sleep cycle.
Another important thing about drinking alcohol especially before sleeping is that you find yourself waking up more often to go to the toilet. This is not only because of the amount of liquids you got in. But because alcohol is a diuretic that causes the loss of fluids, even through sweat. And the result is a dehydrated body.
And what about snoring? Yes this happens because of the relaxed muscles.
To sum it up, if you really love your body and life and want to enjoy a healthy life you need to pay attention to these kinds of habits and be mindful about consuming alcohol.
If you want to read more about the alcohol effect on our sleep cycle check from here.
I bet these days wherever you turn your head you read about exercising benefits.
Let me add a new benefit to them. Exercise doesn’t only make you feel better during the day but also provides you with better sleep quality.
Physical activity increases the time spent in a deep sleep. Deep sleep is an important stage of our sleep cycle. It helps in controlling stress and anxiety, boosts our immune system, and supports cardiac health.
As you see, Magic happens during sleep!
On top of that, studies and experiments showed that exercise provides more benefits than drugs for those who have insomnia. And it reduced the time to fall asleep by 55%.
Making exercise part of your daily routine gives excellent effects to your sleep. And to your daily life. Two birds one stone!
6-Be Careful With Naps Time
We all experience a gradual decline in our energy level as the day progresses. This low energy that starts especially after 2 PM is combined with drowsiness that can affect our concentration, productivity, creativity and most importantly our mood.
Studies showed that taking naps at the right time can actually be so restorative and refreshing, giving you more power to move on with the day.
The key is how we take naps. An effective nap, according to studies, should be between 10 to 20 minutes. And the ideal time is around 2 PM. Naps taken at evening are doing no good to our bodies, but in fact, evening naps ruin our sleep at night.
Our sleep drive is affected by what is called pressure for sleep, which increases as we stay more awake. This is why taking a nap in the afternoon can be only for 10 minutes, but when we take a nap in the evening it is hard to get up before 30 minutes because our sleep drive increased.
In a 30 minutes nap, we move to a deep sleep stage, which when we suddenly cut we feel so grumpy and confused. Going in a deep sleep for a very short while can affect our sleep at night and derive us from quality sleep.
I know what you are thinking, it is hard to take a nap in the afternoon, “I’m working full time!” But all you need to do is spare 10 minutes in the lunch break for your power nap, you can close your office door, or find an isolated corner. After you try this you will notice a whole different level in your performance and mood as well.
So now we have talked about all the day habits that affect your sleep. Let’s move to night’s factors:
7-Optimize your Bedroom Environment
Factors like: external noise often coming from traffic, artificial lights, temperature, furniture arrangement… Has a huge role in providing you with better sleep.
In order to sleep well, try to turn off any artificial lights, minimize the noise coming from the street. Plus make sure that pillows and mattresses are healthy and good quality. You are investing in your health so make sure you do it right. Another advice is to not stuff your bedroom with a lot of furniture, especially if the room is small.
Try to make your bedroom a quiet, relaxing, and calm place.
8-Disconnect And Wind Down In The Evening
When we reach bed what do we usually do? Check our phones. Being saturated with tons of events and news daily is harming us enough through the day. So it is highly recommended to disconnect from your Instagram or Facebook account and develop some before-bed rituals.
You can try some essential oils with natural aromas, such as lavender, which can make you sleep more soundly. Studies have shown that lavender increased the deep sleep stage, and people reported feeling more energetic in the morning.
Also, you can try some herbal tea. Even if you don’t like it a small cup can add a lot of benefits to your body and to your sleep cycle as well.
9-Bed Is Only for Sleep And Sex
After a long day, you might feel tempted to hang out there, put a TV in the bedroom, and enjoy the night. But this is wrong because it might affect your falling to sleep duration and later your sleep cycle. This is why it is recommended to develop a strong connection in your brain between bed and sleep.
Don’t hang out there, and don’t allow devices such tv to take place. Also it is recommended for couples to not have fights in the bedroom. Be conscious about your activities in the bedroom.
10-Don’t Stew In bed
As I just said be conscious about your activities in bed. So it is important if you had some difficulty falling asleep to get out of bed. Otherwise your brain will start to wonder and overthink.
When you can’t sleep right away, get up, and do something. Get your head off of sleep and don’t stress about it. Give yourself some time before you head back to bed.
I can assume that you are thinking that having a better sleep sounds impossible. But this is not the case. All the things I mentioned above are easy to implement. I added some extra explanations so you become aware of the side effects. And as we know, once you learn something you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist anymore.
Follow up with each of them step by step. And you will see how more refreshing your sleep will become.