10 Best Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

    The effect of sleep deprivation can be much more serious for your health than what is believed

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    Surely, you have had a bad night’s sleep before, and you know that aside from feeling irritable or performing below average the next day, having a bad night’s sleep is not such a serious problem. However, in the long term, the effect of sleep deprivation can be much more serious for health than is believed, since chronic insomnia can actually increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

    The good news is that there are several actions you can take to maximize your sleep cycles and overall optimize your health.

    Next, we give you 10 tips to sleep well every night:

    1. Focus on sleep quality

    We tend to focus on how much sleep we get, but sleep quality is just as important. In the sleep cycle we go through five stages, during the last stages of the cycle our memories are consolidated and the information of everything that happened during the day is processed. This means that getting up at night, for example to go to the bathroom, can interrupt the cycle and you may not make it to the later stages. For this reason, sleep hygiene experts recommend avoiding fluid intake before bed.

    2. Take some time to relax

    Most people suffer from stress-induced sleep problems, so it is vital that you take time to unwind before bed, whether it is taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Writing a list of things you’re grateful for can help clear your mind of worries before bed.

    3. Avoid looking at screens before bed

    As difficult as it may seem, it is best to leave your smartphone, computer, and TV outside your bedroom. Avoid looking at them for at least an hour before bedtime as this type of device emits a blue light that suppresses the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

    4. Establish a daily routine

    We all know that having a routine helps babies and children fall asleep at a certain time. This goes for adults too, because it allows your body to program itself to fall asleep and wake up naturally in the morning. The key is to be consistent with your bedtime, avoid making abrupt time changes on the weekend so you do not lose your routine.

    5. Look for allies in food

    Eating healthy improves sleep in general, but some foods are especially beneficial, such as milk, chicken, turkey and pumpkin seeds, these contain the chemicals tryptophan and serotonin, which are vital for the production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.

    6. Avoid heavy meals

    Spicy food, alcohol and large meals should not be consumed before bedtime. For many people, drinking coffee, or other caffeinated beverages, after 3:00 p.m. can affect sleep. Avoid sugary food because the energy spike so subsequent crash can wreak havoc on your body clock. In addition, research has shown that by not getting enough sleep, you tend to turn to junk food the next day, creating a cycle of poor sleep and poor eating.

    7. Promote a restful environment

    Make sure your bed provides the correct support, comfort and space to ensure a good night’s sleep. Ideally, the room should have a cool temperature, the sheets should be natural fabrics like cotton, and decorating in neutral colors will help create a relaxing environment.

    8. Darkness promotes sleep

    Before relying on clocks, people woke up when the sun came up and went to sleep when it got dark. Similarly, a dark room helps promote sleep; and just turning off the lights can start you feeling drowsy. If you do not have a dimmer switch, inexpensive lamps with a dimmer are pretty good option. If you are bothered by street lights outside your window, you might try thicker curtains, additional lining, or invest in blackout.

    9. Stay active during the day

    Physical activity is great for helping you sleep, as well as for overall health. Try to do physical exercise in the morning hours, ideally receiving sunlight for 20 minutes. During the day, try to stay active, getting up from your seat and stretching every half hour. Experts also recommend adopting the habit of going for a walk after dinner, which will facilitate digestion.

    10. Forget about the clock

    When waking up in the middle of the night, it is common to worry about how much sleep you are missing. Letting your mind spiral down can further aggravate insomnia, especially if you start staring at your smartphone. The best way to deal with that worry is to get out of bed and change rooms so your brain does not associate your bed with insomnia. You can make a cup of hot milk and if you are very active mind, lie down to read a book on the sofa in the living room; after some minutes, return to your bed until you feel relaxed enough.
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