8 Habits for a Better Nights Sleep

After reading 'Why We Sleep' by Matthew Walker, it got me thinking about my sleep routine and how I can improve my habits even more to fully optimise my sleep with the aim to feel more refreshed.

I have put together 8 habits, some I already use and some I would like to try in order to help both you, the reader, and myself better our sleep. You may have heard some of these tips before and some tips you may not have heard before but sometimes I think it is important to refresh our memories and recap information so we can incorporate this into our lives.

Habit 1: Find your Optimum Sleep Time -

It is suggested in the book that getting 8 hours a night of sleep is a good amount of sleep to have however this can vary depending on age and other factors. For example, a young child may need more than 8 hours sleep as they are developing and going through changes that require their body to have more rest.

Conduct a little experiment on yourself. Try sleeping for 8 hours every night and track how you feel every morning. If you don't feel like getting 8 hours worth of sleep is enough and you're waking up tired and sluggish then try sleeping for a little longer. You'll know when you've found your optimum duration of sleep as you will wake up feeling refreshed and feel the benefits your night's sleep has provided you.

Habit 2: Don't Lull Around -

I'm guilty of this one, particularly lately! I usually wake up and the first thing I do is go straight on my phone and scroll through social media. Reflecting on this, there isn't any benefit of doing this. You are either going to waste your time by lying in bed not doing anything beneficial or you might read something that sets you in a bad mood.

So as soon as you wake up, get up!

Habit 3: Don't Hit Snooze -

Easier said than done I know but not pressing the snooze button is probably the best thing you can do to help you feel more awake and alert. By pressing snooze you are allowing your body to go back into sleep mode however when your alarm goes off again you are disrupting this sleep mode which could potentially make you feel more tired and affect your mood.

Therefore, as mentioned above, as soon as you wake up, get up!

A tip I have used in the past it putting my phone or whatever you use for an alarm clock on to the other side of the room so you have to physically get up to reach it and turn it off. That way you're less likely to go back to bed as you're already up.

Habit 4: Stick to a Routine -

Get into the habit of going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time, even on weekends. I know sometimes this could be interrupted with a night partying or getting up earlier to catch a train but if you can stick to this routine the majority of the time you will find your body clock getting into a really good rhythm and you may even find yourself waking up naturally without an alarm clock.

Habit 5: No Caffeine -

I'm not sure about you, but I do like to have a cup of tea in the evening before I go to bed. However, having this cup of tea will leave around 50% of the caffeine in my body up to 4-5 hrs after consuming it meaning my sleep could be interrupted. Therefore, try to limit the time to which you have a cup of coffee or tea so that your body has enough time to reduce the amount of caffeine in your body before going to sleep.

Habit 6: Limit Light -

Walker mentions in the book that using light before bed tricks the signals that notify the brain that it's time to sleep into thinking it's still day time and we should be awake still. Therefore, try and stop using electronics around 2hrs before you go to bed to allow your sleep signals to digest that it is not bedtime. Try reading a book instead or journalling. If you decide to read a book, make sure it's a physical one as Walker mentions that using an iPad or tablet to read will delay your sleeping pattern by 90 minutes for days after.

Habit 7: Gradual Alarm Clock -

When using a traditional alarm clock your blood pressure and heart beat is likely to spike as soon as it goes off as it is loud and prominent therefore breaking your sleep quite abruptly. Therefore, to wake in a more relaxed way, try choosing a sound that starts off quiet and gradually gets louder so your senses and brain can process the wake up call more naturally.

Habit 8: Temperature -

Have you ever found that you sleep with one leg out of the covers and one leg under the covers? This is because when you sleep, your feet and hands get warm to allow for your core temperature to remain cool insuring for a more comfortable sleep. Therefore, make sure you're going to sleep in the right room temperature to make sure your body temperature is regulated.

I hope the above habits were helpful and allow you take notice of your sleeping pattern more and how important it is. Having a good nights sleep sets you up for a productive and positive day therefore working on your sleeping routine is the best thing you can do to work towards a healthy lifestyle.

Let me know in the comments if you already incorporate these habits or which ones you would like to give a go!

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