Sleep is an essential part of our lives and a major contributor to our wellbeing. But its quality can be affected by a lot of factors you might not even be aware of. As a result, you don’t feel rested in the morning and can’t wait to hit your pillow again in the evening. If that sounds familiar, this article is for you. Let’s see what you can do to start waking up rested and ready to conquer the world.
Make sure you meet your sleep needs
Let’s start with the most obvious one. To feel rested in the morning, you should make sure that you’re actually getting enough sleep. But how much is enough?
A healthy adult needs from 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Constant lack of sleep leads to sleep debt and can result in a host of adverse health effects, including:
endocrine disorders: type II diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome
increased risks of getting a heart attack or stroke
mental health difficulties
So, if you’re sleeping less than seven hours, it may be time to do something about it. Start with reevaluating your schedule and trying to fit at least seven solid hours of sleep into every day. Here are 4 tips to help you get enough sleep.
1) Prioritise sleep
If you’re cutting down on sleep in favour of some other activities, you don’t rest well. But the thing is, when you get enough sleep, you become more productive and can accomplish more things in the same amount of time. Along with your sleep hours, you may want to revise your overall schedule. For example, instead of going to the gym in the evening, try doing a morning session. This may help you feel more energetic during the first half of the day and avoid unnecessary alertness in the evening.
2) If possible, make your sleep and wake times are fixed
Our brain loves consistency. That’s why sticking to the same sleep and wake times each day will help you wake up and fall asleep more easily. At the same time, an inconsistent schedule is believed to increase stress levels, leading to different sleep issues.
3) Take gradual steps
If you’re going to bed at 1 a.m., suddenly switching to 10 p.m. may be too much of a challenge. You will toss and turn and may fall asleep even later than you usually do. For starters, try to shift your bedtime gradually; go to sleep 20 minutes earlier today and stick to this new bedtime for a few days. Once your body is adjusted, go to sleep 20 minutes earlier again, and repeat this step until you finally get to the desired bedtime.
4) Learn to fall asleep fast
Now, if instead of snoozing peacefully, you toss and turn for hours, you certainly will wake up groggy and not rested at all. That’s why your second step is to train yourself to fall asleep faster. Today, there are numerous techniques that may help you doze off in as little as just a minute, here's just a few!
Breathing exercises. The well-known 4-7-8 method or breathing techniques borrowed from yoga all work pretty similarly — they slow down your breathing rate, thereby causing other vital parameters, such as pulse and blood pressure, to slow down too. This way you can induce a state of relaxation and maintain deeper sleep throughout the night.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PRM). The goal of PRM is to alleviate muscle stiffness after a long, tiring day and trigger the aforementioned relaxation response in your body. To perform PRM, start with tightening the muscles in your forehead for 10 seconds and then relaxing them for 10 seconds. Then, close your eyes really tight for 10 seconds and relax for the same period. Continue moving down to your feet, tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time. You may also combine this method with guided breathing for a quicker effect — that is, inhale while you’re tightening the muscles, and exhale while relaxing.
Visualisation. This might sound counterintuitive, but using imagination before sleep may induce drowsiness and get you to fall asleep faster. Guided imagery helps you stay in the present moment and concentrate on your feelings so you can let go of any intrusive thoughts. This technique also helps relieve anxiety, which is one of the most common causes of sleep issues.
Manipulate the light and darkness in your favour
Our circadian rhythms influence every physiological process that happens in our body during the day and night. But guess what? If you feel your clock is out of sync, you can easily readjust it.
The main regulator of our master clock is light. A recent study discovered that all mammals — including humans — have specific photosensitive cells in their retina. These cells send neural impulses right into the master clock, the structure of the brain also known as the suprachiasmatic nuclei, and play an important part in resetting it.
Simply put, by exposing yourself to sunlight in the first half of the day and gradually reducing it towards bedtime hours, you help your internal clock understand and differentiate day and night more clearly.
Now, here are a few more tips to make the most of using the light:
Control the light levels in your environment, whether this be with having lights that can be dimmed or brightened. Being able to control how light or dark your bedroom is will help your eyes slowly adjust to be capable to sleep faster
Stop using gadgets before bed. The blue light that comes from screens inhibits melatonin production. This might cause you to fall asleep later and, as a result, get fewer hours of sleep overall, which may lead to sleep inertia. So, if you want to wake up rested, be sure to switch off all the devices at least 2 hours before bed.
If you do still use some apps before bed, if possible, change the settings on the app to dark mode.
Dark mode on certain apps will change the colours of the app, making them less bright and taxing on the eyes
With all these tips in mind! hopefully you will be able to full asleep easier and feel more rested in the mornings to come!