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An essential guide to sleeping better at night

Understand the reasons your sleep quality is affected and learn what you can do to enjoy restful nights

For restful slumber, make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary
For restful slumber, make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary (Unsplash/LeeAnn Cline)

Of all the vital activities your body performs, sleep may, in fact, be the most underrated one. Even one night of inadequate sleep can impact your well-being the following day, leaving you drowsy, irritable, and less productive at work. Chronic sleep deficiency can put you at a higher risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and compromised mental health. So, its important to understand that prioritising peaceful sleep is not merely a luxury but a vital investment for your long-term health and performance.

So, what are the factors that affect your sleep quality?

Irregular sleep schedule: Consistency is the key to your well-being and sleep is no exception. Irregular sleep patterns can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm, making it arduous to achieve a restful night's sleep.

Sleeping environment: Noise and improper room temperature rob you of the rejuvenating and peaceful sleep your body craves. Worse still, a low-quality mattress can lead to you waking up with back pain, sprains, or feeling even more fatigued than before, disrupting your ability to function properly the entire day.

Sleep disorders: For some, the quest for rest is further complicated by sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, necessitating special attention and management.

Also read: How lack of sleep reduces cognitive benefits of exercise

Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol: We are well aware of the health issues associated with consuming excessive caffeine and alcohol. However, what many of us do not realise is that these vices can also adversely affect our sleep cycle and leave us tossing and turning throughout the night.

What can you do to get sound sleep?

Set a sleep schedule: Setting a consistent sleep schedule can be a game-changer. Honouring a fixed bedtime and wake-up time helps regulate your internal body clock, leading to peaceful and more restorative sleep. Aim to retire to bed by 11 pm and rise at 7 am, granting yourself a full and luxurious 8 hours of slumber. Not only will this provide you with ample rest, but it will also allow you to greet the day early and rejuvenated.

Mindful eating: The adage "You are what you eat" also extends to sleep. To optimise your sleep, steer clear of heavy meals before bedtime and approach caffeine and alcohol with caution, especially as the day winds down. Abstain from exercising within 3 hours of bedtime, as it may interfere with your ability to doze peacefully.

Cultivate a serene sleep sanctuary: Your bedroom should be your sanctuary for sleep and rest. Banish work-related stress and electronic distractions from this sacred space to ensure your mind is free from clutter. Consider dimming the intensity of white lights in your surroundings and blue lights from electronics. Light some soothing scented candles instead. This subtle adjustment helps signal your body that it's time to wind down and prepare for a restful slumber.

Invest in a good-quality mattress: For the ultimate sleep upgrade, invest in a mattress that will help minimise tossing and turning, contribute to improved posture, and make you fall in love with your sleep time. Opt for a SmartGRID technology mattress that balances cloud-like softness and essential lumbar support. Such a mattress can help alleviate strains on your back, neck, and joints depending on your sleeping position, ensuring your spine stays aligned and pressure points are cushioned.

Also read: Why chronic stress makes you a poor decision maker

Energise your body: While engaging in vigorous exercise close to bedtime may disrupt your sleep, that doesn't mean you should forgo physical activity altogether! Incorporating regular moderate exercise, such as brisk walks or cycling during the day, can be a powerful ally in your pursuit of sound sleep. Physical activity helps release pent-up energy and stress, allowing your body to wind down naturally as bedtime approaches. So, embrace an active lifestyle to lull your body into restfulness when night falls. Your well-rested body will be grateful for it.

Tame the mind: As the night descends, stress and worries can emerge as sleep's most formidable adversaries. To overcome these night time intruders, embrace the art of relaxation before bedtime. Engage in deep breathing, meditation or gentle yoga to quiet your mind and create a serene mental space for peaceful sleep.

Amidst the prevalent culture of staying up late or having sleepless nights for late-night binge-eating or TV series marathons, it is important to note that persistent and unrelenting sleep depravity can take a toll on your health and daily functioning. Don't dismiss prolonged sleeplessness as a minor inconvenience; it warrants serious attention to identify and address the underlying issues that may be hindering your ability to obtain the restorative sleep your body and mind truly need.

Priyanka Salot is the co-founder of The Sleep Company.

Also read: Why you should try gardening for your overall well-being



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