As you may or may not know, sleep has everything to do with how our bodies maintain throughout a day, week, year, and even our entire lives. It shouldn’t be a secret that the body and mind require a sufficient amount of sleep daily for you to function properly throughout the day. Without enough sleep on a nightly basis, you’ll not only be tired the next day, but you’ll be making your body more susceptible to illness over time. Follow our suggestions below to learn how to get a better night’s sleep and start taking better care of your body – you’ve only got one!
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
As sleep is one of the more exciting and mysterious functions of the human body, there have been countless scientific studies over the years trying to understand it. The biggest question that most people ask regarding sleep is: how much sleep do I need per night? Most studies conclude that somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night is ideal; any more or less could be hurting you both in the short and long term.
Keep a Regular Bedtime
Going to bed at or around the same time every night can do wonders for your sleep cycle. By keeping your body on a schedule, you’ll be more accustomed to falling asleep at a specific time. When that time comes, your body will start to recognize it’s time to sleep and will adapt accordingly, helping you to fall asleep quickly and on time. On the other hand, keeping an erratic sleep schedule will lead to you falling asleep/waking up at different times and isn’t conducive to helping you fall asleep quickly.
Preparing for Sleep
The best way to naturally fall asleep is to clear your mind of any worries or wandering thoughts. Your mind and body both need to be relaxed and at ease to slip into sleep. To clear your mind, eliminate all electronic distractions at least 30 minutes before getting into bed. This means no TV, computer, radio, or phone. These electronics will cause your mind to become more focused on interacting with them instead of relaxing and falling asleep.
Don’t Fall Asleep with the TV On
Falling asleep with the TV on is very common. I used to do it all the time, until I finally realized that it was preventing me from falling asleep, instead of lulling me into a slumber as I had previously thought. The reason why it prevents you from falling asleep is two-fold: the light emitted from the TV screen tricks your brain into thinking it’s still light out, and the noise tries to make your mind focus on what’s happening on the TV. Try shutting the TV before you attempt to fall asleep and see what happens – I guarantee you’ll be falling asleep easily.
The body of every living thing on this earth functions according to a built-in Circadian Rhythm – the process of biochemical, behavioral, and physiological reactions that take place over a 24-hour day. Although Circadian Rhythms are inherently part of our internal functions, they can be altered by external environmental factors, namely light. Light can have a significant impact on when we fall asleep and when we wake up, so you need to pay careful attention to it both at night and in the morning. I’ve personally found that the best way to maintain a natural sleep cycle is to let yourself be woken up naturally by the sun in the morning. This doesn’t mean precisely at sunrise, but closer to 7:30 AM – 8 AM in most places. Of course, this is assuming you have windows!
Don’t Take Naps
One last thing to note that will affect your sleep cycle is a nap. Naps, although quite enjoyable, should be taken very sparingly. Don’t give in to that tired feeling you get after lunch or dinner. Otherwise, you risk disturbing your usual pattern of sleep. If you over-nap, you may have more trouble falling asleep at your regular bedtime.
Here’s a research article that might interest you: Health research