Midnight has already passed and he must get up in less than six hours. Before you know it, another hour passes and you begin to panic.
" If I do not fall asleep in the next 30 minutes, I'm going to get tired tomorrow!"
One thing is for sure, you are not alone. More than 70 million Americans have stated that they do not get the proper sleep they need at night. 1 What could be causing this insomnia epidemic?
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experienced and researched dozens of best dream practices. Some have failed, but some have drastically improved the quality of my life and my work.
Why you can not sleep all night
The first step to improve something is to get to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people can not sleep well at night. 2 Here are the main ones the average person faces:
If you have ever stayed awake at night worrying about something, know that it is an important sleep inhibitor. When you feel stress, your mind and body become more active, which makes it incredibly difficult to get to sleep. Even when you manage to sleep, it will not be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.
Exposure to blue light before sleep
We are exposed daily to harmful blue light through the use of our digital displays. If you've never heard of blue light, it's part of the spectrum of visible light that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital strains of the eyes and macular cell damage.
While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, nocturnal exposure tricks our brain into thinking it is daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind can not disconnect and relax before going to bed.
Eating near bedtime
Eating too late can be a problem for many people, especially those who are over 40 years old. The reason is that eating before bed increases the chances of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid returns to the esophagus.
Another reason for not eating too late is the quality of sleep. Even if you manage to sleep immediately after eating, you are likely to wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, you have to digest the food you entered before bedtime.
General rule: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.
The vicious dream cycle
The greatest danger to repeat the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle through which you can go through. A bad night's sleep can affect not only your energy, but also your will power and your decision-making skills.
Have a bad night's sleep
-> You feel stressed and tired all day long.
-> You compensate with unhealthy habits (for example, junk food, jumping exercises, watch Netflix, etc.)
-> You can not sleep well (again) the next night.
You can imagine what could happen if this cycle is repeated for a longer period of time.
How to sleep better (at night)
To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I will explain a list of actionable steps to solve your problem of staying asleep.
1. Take control of the last 90 minutes of your night
What you do (or do not do) before bedtime has a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying awake until 4am and sleeping like a baby.
Here are some suggestions:
- Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house and think about investing in warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
- Avoid screens (or wear glasses with blue light) – Keep the room in a technology-free zone since the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light-blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) during or before bed to avoid interruption of sleep.
- Find an activity that will help you relax – This could be anything that calms you down and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Example of fir, listen to relaxing music / good music, take a warm bath, read or meditate.
- Save any electronic device that you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can interrupt your sleep are the notifications you receive from your smartphones. The easiest way to avoid this is to take it away from you.
- Create a nighttime routine – A nighttime routine is a couple of things you do before you go to bed. By doing these things every night, you will have a more restful and high quality sleep. Learn how to choose a nightly routine here: The definitive nocturnal routine guide to sleep better and wake up productive
2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)
What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a key role in the quality of your sleep. If you ever have questions about what to eat to improve your sleep, consider the following:
- Kiwi – This green fruit may be the best snack before bedtime. When the volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost an extra hour. The kiwis are full of vitamins C and E serotonin and folate, all of which can help you to doze off.
- Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body's sleep-wake cycle.
- Foods rich in fiber – Eating more fiber may be the key to sleep better. Eating fiber was associated with a slow wave restorative sleep: the more you eat, the better you sleep, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents overloads of blood sugar that can reduce melatonin. Obtain fiber reinforcement from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
- Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon halibut and tuna, stimulate vitamin B6, which is necessary to make melatonin sleep-produce the hormone triggered by darkness.
3. Adjust the temperature of your sleep
Once you have made the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment is the temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleeping is 60-67 Fahrenheit. This may be colder than most people are used to, but keep in mind that body temperature changes once we fall asleep.
Golden Rule: Sleeping in the fridge the temperature is better for the quality of sleep than the warmer temperature.
Find out how to keep the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to sleep faster with the best temperature
Sleep better way now in
Congratulations for the end of this guide on sleep. If you really want to take the necessary steps to improve your sleep, remember to do it step by step.
I recommend trying one of the steps mentioned, such as taking a hot bath, blocking the blue light during the night. or sleeping at a cooler temperature. From there, see how it affects the quality of sleep and can continue to do what works, and discard what does not work.
As long as you follow these steps carefully and diligently, I know you will see better results in your sleep!
Photo credit outstanding: pixabayvia pixabay.com
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