For the busy denizens of the 21st Century, a lack of proper sleep is one of the most common and pressing concerns out there.
Many of us spend our nights inexplicably tossing and turning, racking our minds to figure out just why we were so sleepy for the entire day, only to be so wide awake at midnight, and then systematically worrying over work, the intricacies of our social lives, and all the rest.
Luckily, there are some things to be done that can help with these kinds of instances of chronic insomnia, ranging from finding the best mattress for you, to adjusting your habits during the day.
Here are a handful of straightforward tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
Get Some Bright Light Exposure Each Morning
You might have heard people talking about the “circadian rhythm” and how essential it is for our health and wellness, and you probably realize that it regulates our wake-sleep cycles, and decides when we’re tired and alert.
You might not have heard, however, that the circadian rhythm is heavily affected by the body’s exposure — or lack of exposure — to different kinds of light.
Specifically, bright, blue-spectrum light sends your body the message that it’s morning, and systematically rids your body of the sleep hormone melatonin, while also boosting your stress hormone output (associated with early morning wakefulness).
The upshot of this is that, living in the digital age, as we do, and with an abundance of electric lighting everywhere — most of us manage to completely invert the natural light-cycle, so that we’re getting the most light beamed directly into our retinas at night, and are getting the least in the morning — when we often depend on the grey, half-light of the sun’s rays that make it through our windows.
One way of helping to fix this balance is to get some bright light exposure in the morning, for at least half an hour, if not several hours. S.A.D. lamps, used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, can be helpful here.
Don’t Over-Hydrate During the Day
It became popular some years ago for health and wellness experts to encourage people to drink water, whether they were thirsty or not, to the point of having clear urine.
This is almost certainly not a good idea. The body sends thirst signals as a sign to drink. Forcing down water when not thirsty, is likely to lead to the condition known as hyponatremia, where an excess of ingested water flushes out the body’s electrolyte and causes various health issues.
One side-effect of over-hydrating during the day is the frequent need for urination, including at night.
Use Your Bedroom Only for Sleeping (and Romance)
People often have a problem falling asleep, because they’ve conditioned their minds to view their beds as a place for web-surfing, TV-watching, and all manner of non-sleep related activities.
While bedrooms are also for romance, they shouldn’t be for general-purpose chilling out and web-surfing.
Keep the bedroom primarily for sleep, and you’ll likely find it easier to fall asleep once you crawl into bed.