Having a sufficient good night’s sleep is very important, and plays a big role in how we would function on the day ahead. As explained before in how many hours of sleep do you need, the amount and the quality that are sufficient are managed by our own body. Many of us know that our body is really smart in defining what we need and making sure that everything is enough for us to be able to function well enough to go about our days.
With everything that we have going on by the daily, it’s not at all surprising that we tend to work our body to the bone that we ended up setting aside some of our basic needs — such as sleeping, eating and drinking. As selfish as it may be that we abandon what our body needs so that we can do as much as we can for our day, it would only be wise to take a pause to the stressful daily activities. Our body has been kind enough to us for making it work sufficiently, to accommodate us properly every single day. So, it’s only time that we give something back and nourish our body as best as we could.
Now, going back to sleeping amount and quality, we may have messed up our sleeping schedule over the course of our lives. The question is, how do we get back on track and maintain a healthier and proportional sleeping routine back into our lives?
Maintain Daily Routine
Heidi Connolly, MD, chief of pediatric sleep medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, suggests to go to bed at the same time and do the same activities every night before bed. Same as we set the table before dinner time, our body needs to get a cue that it’s time to fall asleep. Prep our body for bed by doing something that can help us relax, such as having a warm bath or listen to calm music.
Our body is maintained by circadian rhythm, which lets organisms in our body know the rising and setting patterns of the sun. Based on research, the daily cycles of lightness and darkness are a key to the mechanisms of your sleep clock and circadian rhythm. In light of this, expose our body to natural sunlight and bright lights in the morning and throughout the day, then keep the night at dark by dimming the lights and devoid of any screens or leds.
Not only great to maintain a great body shape, but exercise can also help to improve sleep. People who exercise at least 150 minutes a week sleep better at night and feel more alert during the day. According to Christopher Colwell, PhD, a neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at UCLA Medical School, high-intensity cardio workout late in the day can disrupt sleep. Instead, he recommends something a little more calming such as stretching before bed.
Watch What & When You Eat
Digestion and metabolism also play a role in wakefulness and sleepiness, so stick to regular breakfast and dinner times, with about 12 hours between breakfast and dinner. Eat dinner at least a few hours before bed, and a filling breakfast shortly after waking. As for what to eat, some research shows that saturated fats in meat and dairy may be bad to eat near bedtime. Furthermore, try to cut out the colas and coffee entirely, or at least limit caffeine consumption for at least 6 hours before bedtime.
Pull an All-Nighter
One approach to reverse temporary sleep clock setbacks is to stay up one full day until the next normal bedtime. For example, if we’ve been going to bed at 4 AM and waking at noon, wake up at the normal time then proceed by not sleeping again until perhaps 10 PM the next day. This method, however, is essentially planned sleep deprivation, so it is best done under doctor supervision. When undergoing this method, be aware to expect tiredness, and driving or performing any other dangerous tasks when sleep deprived are strongly prohibited.