Getting uninterrupted and peaceful sleep for about 7 to 8 hours every night is one of the basic prerequisites of good health. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that most of our health problems can be blamed on incomplete and disturbed sleep. World Sleep Day that is being observed on March 15 this year is an effort to highlight sleep problems and the prevention and management of sleep disorders. Did you know that poor sleep can cause diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and even early death? There are so many reasons for poor sleep: our increasing use of mobile phones and other technological devices, eating late, not doing any physical activity, stress and tension. But you need to tackle these immediately if you want to improve your overall health. Unless you suffer from serious sleep disorders which require proper medical consultation, you don’t need to do a lot to get good sleep. Some simple changes and hacks can do the job. Here are some you can try doing starting tonight!
Do not use any tech device at least a couple of hours before bedtime: For many of us, this may seem unthinkable. Almost all of us have a habit of checking WhatsApp messages, emails and social media before sleeping. A lot of us unwind by watching TV at night after we have switched off the lights just before sleeping. Mobile phones emit blue light that can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wakeup cycle. A recent study has shown that when you use mobile phones or watch TV in a dark bedroom before bedtime, it can completely ruin your sleep. In fact, the results of the study conducted by the University of Lincoln in the UK showed that those who used phones or watching television in a room with a light on were 31 per cent more likely to get less sleep than those who didn’t use a screen and, if the room was dark, the risk of poor sleep rose to a whopping 147 per cent.
Eat your dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime: All nutritionists suggest eating food at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. When you have food and sleep immediately, you don’t give your body time to digest food. This leads to problems like bloating, acidity and even weight gain. Having your dinner well before bedtime is easy on your digestive system which will then automatically lead to restful sleep. Also, make sure you don’t eat heavy, difficult-to-digest meals at night.
Have your last cup of caffeine no later than 4 pm: Completely do away with your cup of chai and coffee or cola with your evening snack. Or have it by 3 or 4 pm. These stimulants are likely to keep you awake. They are also diuretic, which means, you will need to use your bathroom more often at night. Stick to 2 cups daily.
Do not work out before sleeping: You would think a strenuous gym session will help you sleep better and immediately. Exercise releases endorphins, the hormones responsible for making you feel happy and energetic. But doing so just before bedtime will keep you awake and even lead to chronic insomnia if done regularly. Keep a gap of at least four hours between your gym session and bedtime.
Deep breathe and let go of stress: Worried about that meeting in the morning? Mulling over what happened during the day? Don’t be surprised if you keep tossing and turning. One of the easiest ways to calm and declutter your mind and induce good sleep is to do deep breathing for about 10 minutes before bedtime.