Sleeping well is one of the keys to good mental and physical health . When we talk about sleeping well, we do not only refer to resting for a sufficient number of hours, but also to having a good and restful sleep.
That is why it is necessary to carry out good practices that allow better sleep.
Tips for better sleep
There is nothing worse than staying up all night and suffering the consequences the next day, as lack of sleep damages our well-being and affects our performance.
Therefore, in the following lines we have decided to make a compilation with some tips and tricks that will help you sleep better and enjoy a quality sleep.
1. Method 4-7-8
I’m sure you’ve often heard some sleep techniques like sheep counting, but they seem to be ineffective. Today, there is talk of a very powerful technique called the “4-7-8 method,” which was popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. According to its creator, this technique helps people to fall asleep in just 60 seconds, as it calms and relaxes the nervous system, thus reducing stress and tension in the body .
- If you want to know more about this technique, you can read our article: “The 4-7-8 method to fall asleep in less than a minute”
2. Yoga practice
This 4-7-8 method has its origin in yoga, specifically in breathing (Pranayama) . We have already mentioned the benefits of yoga in some articles, for example, the “The 6 psychological benefits of yoga”. Among the advantages of practicing this millenary method is that of sleeping better.
This is because yoga helps release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is related to happiness and is also a precursor to melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles. According to research from Duke University, yoga helps control stress and body temperature, which promotes sleep.
3. Have a routine
Our daily habits influence our body clock and therefore our sleep . A good alternative to correct this is to have a sleep ritual. For example, taking a hot bath every day at the same time before going to bed, practising relaxation techniques or drinking a relaxing tea before going to bed.
4. Practice physical exercise
If having a sedentary life negatively affects sleep, having an active life and exercising has the opposite effect. The practice of sports helps to release neurotransmitters such as endorphins, which are associated with pleasure , but also serotonin, which as I mentioned in the previous lines favours the synthesis of melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
5. Don’t nap
The nap, if it is not too long, can help you to perform better in your work and to be more concentrated during the afternoon . But abusing this very Spanish tradition can make you not sleepy at night. For the siesta to be beneficial, it should be short, about 20 or 30 minutes. Also, if you have sleep problems, you better avoid naps because they can make you feel more rested at night.
6. If you can’t fall asleep, get up
There is nothing worse than being in bed sleeping and watching the hours go by . So if you can’t sleep, you’d better get up and do something about it. Maybe read for half an hour, do a short meditation or drink a glass of warm milk. Staying in bed will only increase your anxiety. But if you do get up, avoid high lights.
7. Go to bed and get up early
Having a routine is undoubtedly positive in order to fall asleep without problems, but going to bed and getting up early is necessary if we do not want to have problems sleeping . This helps the organism to orient itself and favours the sleep-wake cycle, which improves the quality of life of the person and avoids staying awake late at night.
8. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is a widely consumed substance nowadays, and although it may seem a good alternative to sleep, it is not . Perhaps it can encourage fast sleep due to its neurodepressant effect; however, it alters the later phases of sleep and can cause you to wake up during the night. This may prevent you from achieving the necessary sleep and may affect the quantity and quality of sleep.
9. Do not take stimulants after mid-afternoon
If alcohol does not promote good quality of sleep, taking stimulants such as coffee does not either (…obviously). Drinking coffee is very frequent in our society, but contains caffeine that stimulates the brain and affects sleep negatively . Drinking coffee in the morning can even be good for performing better in day-to-day tasks, but after mid-afternoon it can affect the quantity and quality of sleep. If you are a lover of this drink, you can choose to drink it decaffeinated.
10. Take care of the environment
The environment can influence our behaviour, including when it comes to sleeping. Environmental conditions are key because they may or may not favour sleep. Carrying out strategies such as low light, low noise and a pleasant temperature can help you sleep better , just as it is highly recommended to have the television off and sleep with a comfortable pillow.