8 tips for better sleep infographics
1. Have a consistent sleep schedule.Go to bed at the same time every single night—yup, weekends and holidays included. Likewise, getting out of bed at the same time every morning will help you establish a consistent schedule and promote higher-quality sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, having a consistent sleep routine will regulate the timing of the body’s internal clock. Eventually, this will help you fall asleep and wake up more easily. Want a bonus? If you commit to your schedule long enough, you might not even need to set alarms anymore.
2. Take a Melatonin supplement.Melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep. Known as “the sleep hormone,” it puts you in a state of relaxed wakefulness that encourages relaxation and lets your body know that it’s time to snooze. It is naturally produced by the body, but supplementing with Melatonin pills can help those who are having difficulties dozing off or experiencing quality sleep. Melatonin supplements are growing more and more popular in the Philippines. And why wouldn’t they? After all, melatonin is effective at helping you fall and stay asleep. That said, if you find yourself constantly waking up in the middle of the night, a melatonin pill can surely help. To add, according to sleep experts at John Hopkins University, melatonin can also help those who suffer from delayed sleep phase syndrome—that is, those who fall asleep late and wake up very late the following day. Fortunately for all of us, Melatonin supplements can be purchased over-the-counter in most countries—including the Philippines.
3. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and comfy.Keeping your bedroom as dark as possible will promote restful sleep and raise your body’s melatonin levels. Being in a dark environment also serves as a signal that lets your body know that it’s time to power off for the night. Aside from turning off the lights in your room, you should also watch out for light-emitting objects like alarm clocks, lamps, and charging docks. That being said, room-darkening shades, sleeping masks, and blackout curtains can also help create the ideal environment for sleep. Moreover, according to Sleep.org, your bedroom should be between 15 to 19 degrees Celsius for optimal rest. Now, we understand that not everyone can control the temperature in their bedrooms to the dot. In general, however, a relatively-cool room will make it easier for you to doze off. Investing in comfortable pillows, sheets, and blankets, as well as in a nice mattress, will also definitely help. But comfort doesn’t only rely on having a cool and dark room and a nice bed. If you sleep with a snoring partner (or if you have a particularly noisy neighbor), there’s a high chance that your sleep will be affected. For situations like these, having a pair of earplugs or investing in a white noise machine are some options you can pursue.
4. Exercise regularly.Vigorous daily exercise is optimal for high-quality sleep. But if that’s not possible, even light physical activity is better than no activity at all. Also, it’s best to exercise far ahead of your bedtime. Physical activity, when done within a couple of hours of your desired sleep schedule, can actually do more harm than good. We recommend that you exercise outdoors in the morning since this gives you the chance to get exposed to sunlight earlier in the day. Similar to how darkness signals that it’s time for bed, getting your dose of daylight during the day keeps you awake when you need it, ultimately contributing to the regulation of your circadian rhythm.
5. Be mindful of your diet and eating patterns.Going to bed hungry isn’t going to be good for sleep, but neither is going to bed stuffed. Heavy meals within a few hours before bedtime can make it harder for you to get comfortable. What’s more, it can lead to an overactive digestive system that will hinder relaxation. Want to take it up a notch? Well, a study has shown that the type of food you eat as your last meal can affect your ability to fall asleep. According to a University of Sydney research, a high-carb dinner four hours before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster. Also, note that caffeine will remain in your bloodstream for six to eight hours. That said, avoid drinking coffee, tea, or soda beyond 3 p.m. if your bedtime is at 11:00 p.m. Caffeine, as you probably know, stimulates the nervous system and makes you restless. If you must, stick to decaffeinated drinks to avoid endangering the quality of your sleep. Lastly, avoid alcohol before bedtime! This might sound surprising considering that alcoholic beverages tend to make you sleepy, but know that it rears its ugly head later in the night. The effects of alcohol, such as sleep apnea, disrupted sleep patterns, and snoring—will continue to inconvenience you long after you’ve fallen asleep.
6. Avoid long naps.Many of us rely on power naps to get us through the day. Now, taking a short nap in the middle of the day isn’t so bad. Naps that are less than 30 minutes in duration can actually promote wakefulness and enhance your learning ability. However, long or irregular napping—especially when done close to your bedtime—can derail your sleep schedule and confuse your body clock. In fact, a study involving college students has shown that frequent, long, and late nappers have a higher tendency to get poor sleep quality. Now, the effect of napping on sleep quality varies from person to person. If you find it extremely difficult to fall asleep at your designated bedtime, consider avoiding daytime naps completely.
7. Cut off screen time two hours before bed.Exposure to light at daytime is good for your circadian rhythm, but light exposure near your bedtime is detrimental. When you’re exposed to light at night, your body clock tends to think that it’s still daytime—therefore compromising your ability to fall asleep right away. What’s more, exposure to light reduces your body’s melatonin levels. This makes it harder for you to relax, switch off your mind, and attain deep sleep. Electronics like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions are the most common culprits behind nighttime light exposure. Aside from avoiding these gadgets at least two hours before bed, dimming the lights in your home can help, as well. If completely cutting off screen time two hours before bed is impossible for your lifestyle or situation, here are a few tricks you can rely on:
- Wear multicoated glasses that filter out blue light.
- Switch your phone to dark mode so that the screen will emit a significantly smaller amount of light.
- Install apps that filter out the blue light that’s coming out of your phone, laptop, or computer. Some smartphones and laptops even automatically come with blue light filters that you can turn on and off as you please. Check if your devices have this option.