Health blog

Bulletproof Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep – Rike Aprea

Poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of weight gain, impaired cognitive functions, and decreased motor control.

Unfortunately, many of us seem to have a hard time, either falling or staying asleep. Stress or the usage of phones or tablets before bedtime are among the culprits of this unhealthy trend.

Increase your exposure to sunlight

Exposure to sunlight during the day — especially in the morning — can have a positive impact on your circadian rhythm. According to the National Institue of General Medical Science, the circadian rhythm — also referred to as our inner clock — are changes in our body and brain that follow a daily cycle. These changes help us staying awake or being asleep. A healthy circadian rhythm is, therefore, crucial for good getting a good night’s sleep.

A study with elderly individuals found that exposure to sunlight between 8 am and 10 am for five days seems can increase sleep quality significantly.

If you’re living in an area with less natural light during the winter months, investing in a light therapy lamp can be a good idea. The light intensity of the lamp should have 10000 lux, and the light treatment should last for at least 30 minutes in the morning.

Minimize noise

Noise is linked to poor sleep quality. A study about the correlation between sleep quality and noise showed that even low-frequency noise has a significant impact negative on cortisol levels, sleep quality, and mood.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels are the underlying cause of many health issues including, headache, high blood pressure, weight gain, or diabetes. Cortisol is typically high in the morning and gets less during the day. However, stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels in the evening, which can then also be a reason for insomnia.

Watch what and when you eat

Eating too close to bedtime can compromise sleep quality, so try to eat at least 3 hours before you intend to sleep.

Certain foods or drinks can make falling asleep harder, while others can help you to relax and might promote restful sleep.

Foods that contain the amino acid L-Tryptophan help the brain to produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you to relax. Cottage cheese, turkey, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts are good sources of this essential amino acid.

Walnuts also contain melatonin, a neurohormone that regulates our inner clock. Melatonin levels decrease as we age, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Consuming melatonin supplements* or melatonin-rich can help to counteract this.

Apart from that, foods high in magnesium can help you to relax your brain and muscles, both crucial for a good night’s sleep. Foods rich in magnesium include bananas, pumpkin seeds, or almonds.

Coffee, caffeinated tea, or alcohol, on the other hand, can compromise your sleep quality.

Stay in the dark

Exposure to light has been linked to decreased sleep quality. This doesn’t necessarily mean exposure to sunlight. Using tablets or phones just before going to bed can impact your ability to fall asleep significantly.

Also, small lights in your bedroom, such as the light from alarm clocks, can mess with your sleep.

Limiting screentime before you go to bed and using sleep masks can help to get the quality sleep you to power through your days.

Keep a “worry journal” on your nightstand

Often, it’s hard to fall asleep when you worry about next-day projects, future challenges, or life in general. Worries tend to get bigger if they’re diffuse. Writing worries down, on the other hand, can help you to keep them in proportion.

According to Psychcentral, putting your worries on paper can help to keep them in proportion and release tension, which can make it easier to find sleep eventually.

Reduce stress

As mentioned above, stress can elevate cortisol levels, which makes it hard for you to sleep.

Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation are linked to improved sleep quality. Taking only 5 minutes to do a short breathing meditation after can work wonders for your sleep hygiene.

Another way to reduce stress is by practicing yoga. According to a National Survey, yoga helped 55% of the participants to improve the quality of their sleep.

*Melatonin can have side effects or interfere with medication, so make sure to check in with your healthcare provider before taking it.

In good health,

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Find more ideas for improved health and happiness on my publication Wellness Decoded.

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