How much sleep should we be getting? What is actually classed as a good night’s sleep? You probably know that the recommended amount of sleep per night is between six and eight hours. However, it is not only the length of sleep that is important. It is also vital that your sleep consists of around 20 per cent deep sleep and 25 per cent REM sleep. REM sleep is also known as Rapid Eye Movement sleep. It is characterised as random and quick eye movements and paralysis of the muscles.
Tips for improving your sleeping habits
Exercise at the right time – Exercise can help to ensure you get a sound night’s sleep and that you fall asleep with greater ease. Nevertheless, you need to exercise at the right time if this is to be the case. If you can’t exercise earlier in the day, make sure you do so at least three hours before you go to bed.
Choose your evening meals wisely – Don’t eat heavy foods late in the evening. Having a big bowl of pasta or a pizza at 10 pm is bound to keep you awake for a while. Instead, try to stay away from foods that cause indigestion and make sure you finish your dinner a few hours before you plan on going to bed.
Get into a routine – Try to go to bed around the same time every evening. If you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, your body will get used to it and you will be able to fall asleep and get up with greater ease.
Deal with whatever is on your mind – If you are stressed, why not book an appointment with a psychologist? Getting those worries off your mind can make a huge difference to your sleep quality.
Don’t watch the clock – Are you someone who watches in the clock in their bedroom while they try to fall asleep? This is not advised. Instead, turn the face of the clock away from you. If you look at the time you will only stress yourself out more, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.
Create the right environment – You need to ensure that your room is the right environment for a good night’s sleep. Your room should be cool, dark, and quiet. Use heavy curtains to block any light and lower outside noise with earplugs if necessary.
Keep your bedroom for bedroom activities – If you watch television in your bedroom during the day or work on your laptop while in bed, you will struggle to get to sleep at night because it weakens the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
Don’t drink caffeine before bed – If you can avoid drinking coffee altogether, do so. If not, make sure you only have caffeine during the morning or early afternoon. This not only includes coffee but also fizzy drinks, chocolate, and tea
Avoid drinking too much alcohol – You should try to limit yourself to one or two glasses of alcohol an evening if you are planning on drinking. While alcohol may help you to get to sleep initially, it is likely that you will awake several times throughout the night, as it leads to a restless night’s sleep.
Be smart with napping – You should avoid napping if you are staying awake during the night or finding it difficult to fall asleep. If you do find that you really need a nap, limit it to about 15 – 20 minutes.
Avoid bright screens before bedtime – Last but not least, you should try to avoid your TV, computer, tablet, or phone before you go to bed. This is because the blue light that electronics emit is disruptive and can interfere with your ability to get to sleep. One way to minimise the impact without turning off your electronics altogether is to turn down the brightness.
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