Lifestyle Magazine

Lifestyle Changes for a Good Night’s Sleep

By Saumya Shiohare @myriadmusings1
Tell me one person who hasn't struggled with insomnia at some point of their life? Whether it is a set of new parents taking turns to watch their newborn at night or just everyday physical stress, there is always something to trigger sleeplessness. A normal human being needs an average of 8 hours of sleep every night, but if not- it can impair your thinking and judgmental abilities. I have been there and it's definitely the worst feeling with even worse after effects that can't be healed with a cup of coffee. It takes a toll on your body and impairs your judgment. 
I was like that- restless and turning all night in effort to get some sleep. As a consequence, I was always irritated and paranoid. I would scream over petty things, I was more forgetful, less present and my family could tell I didn't sleep well the night before. It was frustrating and debilitating most of the times. I realized there was a problem but I was not ready for any sleeping aid or medication yet. I tried yoga nidra ( Yoga pose for relaxation ) and noticed partial relief from sleeplessness. I was at least able to fall asleep easily but still struggled to stay asleep. I knew there was something more I needed to do get my groove back and the answer was lifestyle changes. 
Once I made these changes my life changed for good. I was sleeping better, I could stay asleep for until my natural alarm clock woke me up at 6 am. It was a total game-changer. It took my system a few days to get acclimated to the new routine and my sleep pattern transformed completely. There has been no looking back since then, cuz it's not worth. Hope these lifestyle changes help you experience what a good night's sleep feels like. 
Limit your screen time-  Be it your phone, your tv or your tablet, refrain from using them an hour 30 mins prior to your bedtime. The rays and the bright light that any screen emits actually keeps you up. It just stimulates your brain too much leaving you alert when you actually need to relax. The blue light from the screen interferes with your natural sleep cycle and triggers the brain to stop producing Melatonin- a chemical that is responsible for the onset of sleep. 
No phone in your bedroom- this certainly was the most effective hack in bringing back my sleep. It has been five plus years I stopped keeping my phone by my bedside. It was a bedroom rule that both hubs and I concurred. We both keep the phones out of the bedroom and it has definitely been the wisest decision as a couple. There is actually no reason to have your phone on your nightstand. Need an alarm, go buy an actual alarm clock. The electromagnetic fields produced by your mobile phones has actually been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Prolonged exposure to it especially when you are asleep is not healthy. Subconsciously, your mind gets tempted to check, refresh and  respond to messages on your phone and you wake up. The ring, the buzz, the vibration or any other alert can be troublesome at night and impact your sleep. 
Finish your dinner two hours before bedtime- you might not be a stranger to this study which calls for a minimum of two hours gap between dinner and bedtime. Reason you should allow your system enough time to metabolize the food. If not allowed enough time you are more likely to have reflux where the acid from your food either backs up into your stomach or esophagus giving you that acidic gaggy feeling. You might end up feeling bloated or even have a serious case of heartburn which can impede a good night's sleep. So next time eat a light meal for dinner and give enough time for food digestion. 
Exercise and relaxationWorking out is great for your body and mind and it can also help you get a good night’s sleep. Exercise helps to stabilize your mood and decompress the mind, “a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep,”. I've noticed that on days I workout, I fall asleep faster and sleep well through the night. I don't have trouble staying asleep and I wake up more relaxed and refreshed. However, don't do a strenuous workout right before bedtime. If you haven't had a chance to workout all day, adhere to some light exercising like yoga or just stretching in the evening. Avoid putting yourself to a grueling workout session right before bedtime. 
Have a bedtime ritual- if you can have a bedtime routine for your kids, why not have one for yourself? You feed dinner, bathe your child, read them a book and kiss them goodnight. Why not do the same for yourself? Have dinner, bathe, read a book and kiss yourself goodnight. If that sounds too childlike how about essential oils? There are so many essentials oils that can relax you and your senses. Essentials oils act as a catalyst in a good night's sleep. I have been using essentials oils at bedtime for over a year and my body feels so relaxed before bedtime. One of my favorite is DREAM by BLUE FLOWER. Read my editorial on essential oils HERE . 
Melatonin supplement- this might be your last resort but this over-the-counter supplement is highly recommended by doctors for those who struggle with insomnia.  Melatonin is a chemical released by your brain that triggers sleep. If for some reason your brain doesn't produce enough melatonin needed for sleep, doctors may advice you to add this supplement to your daily diet. Doctors say it's not a sleeping pill and your body will not get used to it, but a medicine capsule is a medicine capsule and it can be addictive. So avoid any medication and give these hacks a shot- your sleeping pattern will transform gradually and you'll experience the bliss called a 'good night sleep'. 
What are the lifestyle changes you've made to ensure a good night's sleep?

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