A good night's sleep is an important part of the bodyt for a healthy life. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.
Here are tips to help a person sleep better at night.
Increase bright light exposure during day: The body has a natural clock known as cicardian rhythm which affects the brain, body and hormones, helping one stay awake and telling the body when it's time to sleep.
Natural sunlight helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy and improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
Study found that in patients with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83 per cent.
Reduce blue light exposure in evening: Nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect on the body. Light at night tricks the brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help one relax and get deep sleep.
Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
Don't consume caffeine late in day: While caffeine has numerous benefits and a single dose of it can enhance focus, energy and sports performance, when consumed late in the day, the stimulation of nervous system may stop body from naturally relaxing at night.
In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality. If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, then stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Reduce long daytime naps: While ‘power naps’ are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect sleep at night. Sleeping in the daytime can confuse internal body clock, meaning one may struggle to sleep at night. A study found that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can negatively affect health and sleep quality.
Try to sleep and wake at consistent times: The body's circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with the sleep and waking times can aid in sleep quality in the long-term. One study found those who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep.
Taking melatonin supplement: Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that signals the brain when it's time to relax and head to bed. A melatonin supplement is an extremely popular aid to fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
Melatonin is also useful when traveling and adjusting to a new timezone, as it helps the body's circadian rhythm return to normal.
Say no to alcohol: Drinking a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in the body's circadian rhythm.
Optimise bedroom environment: The bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night's sleep. These can include aspects like temperature, furniture arrangement, lights etc. Numerous studies have highlighted that external noise, often from traffic; can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues. A study that investigated it found that around 50 per cent of participants noticed improved sleep quality when reductions in noise and lighting were introduced.
Bedroom temperature: Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly impact sleep quality. One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality even more than external noise and around 20°C, seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people to sleep.
Say no to late evening meals: Late-night eating may negatively impact both sleep quality and the natural release of growth hormone and melatonin. However, a high-carb meal eaten a few hours before bedtime may help you fall asleep faster. This is because is produces the hormone tryptophan, which can make one feel tired.