The Ideal Daily Routine For A Perfect Night’s Sleep, Planned By Experts
Sleep is the one basic thing the human body needs like food, hydration and light. However, there are millions around the world suffering sleep deprivation. Insomnia has become an international malady and blame it on a hectic lifestyle, stress, anxiety or technology flooding our homes, there are many culprits causing sleep deprivation.
1Sleep is crucial to your body
Sleep is crucial for your body to heal from the daily mental and physical exhaustion. It is the only time when your body is busy rejuvenating itself being nourishment for the brain and body. In fact, a healthy night’s sleep will reduce the risk of life-threatening, chronic conditions and neurocognitive decline in your later years.
2Insomnia can impede cognitive function and increase weight gain
According to American clinical psychologists, chronic insomnia can damage a broad range of functions like memory, response time, reflexes, concentration, insulin resistance, resistance to infection and delayed healing. Memory and; learning abilities are the worst affected causing people to experience mood swings and weight gain.
If these health conditions are not scary enough for you to start sleeping more than at least the glamorous idea of an energized, fresh skin and exhaustion free day should appeal to everyone at least.
3Your health concerns should motivate you for a good night’s sleep
Such health problems should motivate you to ensure a good night’s rest because the thought of having an exhaustion free day is appealing to all. Even though you may sleep poorly, don’t worry because surprisingly and contrary to what you may think, a perfect night’s sleep can be yours if you observe a simple healthy routine that the experts like Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, have worked out for you by the hour. It doesn’t require any stringent activity or diet or rules, just a bit of discipline in abiding by the timings for everything, that’s all. Sleep will be yours as soon as you hit the pillow.
Waking up at the same time every day actually helps you get a perfect night’s sleep. It sets a fixed routine for your body to get up and starts your biological clock immediately for the rest of the day. This habit of getting up at a fixed time also discourages the habit of taking caffeine and delaying our sleep time at night.
In fact, this regimented sleep and getting up schedule should be followed even during the weekends, so say goodbye to the snooze button for good. Snoozing, in fact, is bad for our health as it not only makes us groggier in the mornings but it effectively disrupts the body clock which we try to maintain so diligently over the weekdays.
So instead of catching those extra forty winks, start your day with calming meditation lying in bed itself.
Now that you are up and awake utilize the time by creating healthy body rituals such as drinking 12 ounces of water and expose yourself to the morning mild sunlight for 15 minutes.
Sunlight exposure signals your brains to stop the sleep-inducing melatonin production so that you are wide awake and alert for the day. This could be accompanied by a walk in the sunlight or a light exercise to get the body in the shape to begin your daily activities as well.
Sleep has a direct relation to body activities and exercise. Studies suggest that at least 20 minutes of exercise in the sunlight is the key to a good night’s sleep. Whether you exercise indoors or outdoors it should be regular. It will also provide you other benefits such as reduced inflammation and overall improvement in the general well being.
It’s never a good idea to skip breakfast before you leave for school or work. In fact, to achieve optimum efficiency of cognitive and bodily function, breakfast is essential. Morning meals should be well structured and contain “good fats” derived from foods like peanut butter, avocados and nuts. It’s beneficial from the sleep perspective too. So try not to be tempted to skip breakfast no matter how busy you are.
This message is for all the caffeine addicts who feel the need to start the day with a cup of coffee. You might want to rethink this strategy if you are aiming to have a perfect sleep cycle. Caffeine disrupts your sleep cycle and prevents your body from waking up in a natural manner. If you really have to, you can drink coffee after 90 minutes of waking up.
By this time we already take you are head-on with the assignments of the work day and busy reading memos and emails for work. The last thing which will come to your mind is to drink water, but keep sipping in water at regular intervals to hydrate your body and prepare it for a good night’s sleep.
In case you couldn’t get your dose of sunlight, this is the perfect time to get some light therapy devices while you are at work. These devices can be worn as glasses and are readily available. In the form of handheld devices that emit light which is similar to bright sunlight. But keep in mind to use them in the morning or pre-noon hours only.
We know this is the middle of the busiest hours of the day, but do try take some time off for a good lunch, if allowed then try to grab lunch outside your office cubicle, like in a nearby park or outdoor cafeteria which would expose you to the some more natural daylight.
Do not plunge back into your office chair and start off with your work immediately after eating, you must take a brisk walk to digest the food and the additional exercise will lead to a more deep sleep at night.
Now that you are in the afternoon phase of the day, this is high time to stay away from all the temptation of coffee or even green tea. The logic is pretty simple; your body takes several hours to completely metabolize caffeine, which would affect sleep quality at night. Even if you don’t feel sleepy after drinking coffee, it will still affect sleep at night. This rule applies to sodas and energy drinks as well as they also contain high dosages of caffeine.
This is important for both stay at home employees as well office workers. If you are tired and about to doze off, please be careful about your afternoon naps. While short naps of 20-30 minutes are okay, longer naps can easily disrupt your body’s sleep clock. Also, long naps are hard to wake up from which effectively reduces your sleep store for the night. The easiest way, set an alarm.
Supplements are a great way to achieve that ever elusive shut-eye. Whenever you prefer to take supplements, get a proper consultation with your doctor before taking any. According to Michael J. Breus, PhD, of The Sleep Doctor, the usually prescribed supplements for a good night’s sleep are Magnesium (250-400mg depending on age) Omega 3, D3 (5000IUs), Melatonin dosages ranging between 0.5 to1.5 mg can be taken at night before sleep as well. However, this is just for information and no to be taken as a prescribed medication. Consult your doctor first as everybody’s individual needs of medication are different and depends on other prevailing conditions of health.
The bane of the modern day work ethics is that work never stops even after you leave your desk and step out of office door. You’ll keep getting messages and calls about meeting and assignments for the next day already, and understandably it creates stress. This stress is the prime culprit causing worry and insomnia amongst most people today. You have to be forceful here, try to STOP your work day when you’re out of the work and try to create a line between your personal and professional life which should not be blurred. I know it’s easier said than done but gradually the boundaries can be created.
Yes! Now you’re back at home and have an intense urge to spoil yourself by having a burger or soda but restrain yourself. Have patience and make a light dinner which you finish eating 2 hours before you go to sleep so that you have enough time to metabolize it.
The golden rule, no more work emails and messages should be checked once you are already in relaxed mode. No emails after dinner should be the Mantra.
This is the time to start your daily pre-bed rituals. This includes diligently, unplugging all your electronic devices like laptops, computers, phones and tablets out of the bedroom at least one hour before bedtime. The logic here is that these electronic devices emit blue light, which hinders the brain’s Melatonin productions crucial for sleep.
This is the time to make your mind and body enter the complete relaxed zone. Focus on some useful bedtime rituals like reading a real book (not kindle), take a warm relaxing shower, meditate and pamper your body by massaging it with lotions and face creams. These activities signal the brain to slow down and prepare for sleep.
Importance of reading cannot be over justified here. A light fictional book should give you a company till you doze off, a book is the most effective way to take you away from the daily grind and place you in a more peaceful environment.( provided you are not reading horror or murder mysteries…that won’t work at all)
Turn down the temperature of your room by a few degrees as a cool body tends to relax and you will fall off to sleep earlier.
10 pm is the time to hit the sheets every night, which entrenches the idea of keeping a fixed sleep schedule. The simplest way is to turn off the light all around which can be distracting and cover your eyes with eye covers for undisturbed sleep.
Remember sleep is good for health especially in times of stress and anxiety. It is not easy thinking about a fixed time for bed but it appears grandma was right when she forced us to be tucked into bed at sharp 10 pm. Follow this routine as best as you can for a perfect night’s sleep and stay healthy. Good night and sleep tight!!