3 Secrets To A New And Improved Night's Sleep

Improving your sleep means understanding what good sleep feels like, and that's something few of us have experienced.

We are all hoping to get that 8 hours of healthy rest without realizing we need to make the most of it.  

Between 50 -70 million people suffer from a sleep disorder in America, according to the CDC. It also seems to affect the older population more. 

With the growing number of other health concerns, better sleep is key to combating and staying stress-free. 

1st Secret To Improved Sleep

Maintaining Your Circadian Rhythm 

Reduce Caffeine Intake 

If you drink coffee frequently, start timing your intake and avoid drinking it in the evening or before bed. Coffee remains in your system for 6 hours, giving you a boost. But that quickly wears off and leaves you extra tired. For example, drinking coffee at 6 pm might not help you sleep till past midnight. Stick to drinking one or two cups a day but timed to boost your productivity without hampering your sleep schedule. 

Avoid alcohol 

Avoid alcohol for the simple reason that it tends to disrupt your circadian rhythm or your body's natural clock. It affects the production of a protein called melatonin that helps you fall asleep. That's not all; even your human growth hormone production is negatively affected by alcohol consumption, further impacting your circadian rhythm. 

Additionally, it's best to avoid snacks like chocolate and citric or acidic food that could give you heartburn. 

Turn off Your Devices 

Blue light from your devices can negatively impact your sleep. It tends to give your body light cues that encourage you to stay awake. Use night shift and dark theme settings on your iPad or iPhone to reduce blue light from your devices between sundown and sunrise. Or start practicing to keep away devices like your phone, tablets, or laptop away before bedtime. You're bound to notice the difference in your ability to fall asleep and sleep well. 

Sunlight and exercise 

Your body's natural clock regulates itself through light cues from sunlight and your eating habits. Working from home presents its challenges, but try to include some time outdoors. You could take a walk or run but make sure you get some time in the sun. 

Exercising itself can have more benefits than you think. Your body naturally produces melatonin (sleep hormone) after exercise and helps you sleep better. According to Harvard Health and Dr. Carlson, a morning workout is ideal. "Exposing yourself to bright daylight first thing in the morning will help the natural circadian rhythm," she says.

It's also good practice to set strict mealtimes and follow them. You can read more about their benefits from our blog post - Health and circadian rhythm. 

All these tips will help your body regulate its natural clock and help you sleep at the right time. Therefore bringing us to our second secret to improve sleep - 

2nd Secret To Improve Sleep

The Right Mattress and Pillow 

How easily we tend to overlook how vital the right pillow and bed are to our sleep. That's not to say it's the only factor, only that it can play a crucial role. 

For instance, if you are a side sleeper, you need a pillow covering the distance between your ear and shoulders while you sleep. He also says a thin pillow if you are a back sleeper will prevent you from developing cramps at night. 

When you select the right mattress, be sure to find one that helps maintain your body's natural J curve. It can't be too hard or too soft. If you're feeling a bit like Goldilocks and the three bears right now, check out the Best Mattress site for a guide to the best mattress.

Your mattress is an investment, and it's always good to make an informed choice. 

If you're a napper and frequently traveling, you might be looking for a pillow to help you sleep on the go anywhere. napEazy pillows are perfect for commuting or long-haul travel. They're versatile enough to use at your desk for a nap. You can learn more about them here. 

3rd Secret To Improve Sleep

Tai Chi Chih, Meditation and Yoga 

What is Tai Chi Chih? It's a series of 19 movements and a final pose used as a form of meditation that brings a range of physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits. It originated in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has no relation to Chinese martial art. However, the concept centers on developing and balancing chi - the material energy or life force in an individual. 

The 2008 study by Michael R. Irwin, MD,  Richard Olmstead, Ph.D.,  and Sarosh J. Motivala, Ph.D., found a strong connection between the practice of Tai Chi Chih (TCC)and an improvement in sleep. A possible result of meditative techniques taught by TCC that reduces stress and can be used to treat certain conditions. 

You can choose to learn Tai Chi Chih (TCC) or practice other forms of meditation. Yoga itself has many health benefits. Breathing exercises and stretches that teach you to calm down and improve your focus are the same that can help you improve your sleep. 

If I still haven't answered your question - How can I improve my sleep? Well, it's a combination of the secrets we discussed. Our blog has plenty more resources for you to discover other health benefits and tips to lead a happy life. Visit the link below for more information or leave a comment below to share your thoughts on this post.

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