Sleep is an essential body function for good mental and physical health. In overview, a healthy sleep pattern is one where your body is able to naturally fall into between six to eight hours of un-interrupted sleep and allows you to wake up feeling fresh and re-energized. Unhealthy sleeping patterns are characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, sleep riddled with interruptions where you keep waking up in the middle of the night and sleepiness during the productive hours of your day among others.
Here are a few habits that you could put in place to ensure that you develop healthy sleeping patterns:
Table of Contents
- Here are a few habits that you could put in place to ensure that you develop healthy sleeping patterns:
- On the other hand, physical comfort can be achieved by these things:
- Here are a few activities that tune your mind to this effect:
1. Limit the use of your phone, TV and other such devices right before bedtime
This is one of the most common advice given to people who have trouble falling asleep and maintaining sleep throughout the night. The science behind it is that the artificial light from the TV, gaming devices and other like-devices reduces the melatonin levels in our body. Melatonin is a hormone that body produces which helps us fall and stay asleep. An alternative to your late night show may be reading a book or listening audio files or slow music.
2. Have a consistent Sleeping and waking up time
Our bodies can be conditioned to work like clock-work. Once you have a consistent sleeping pattern and waking up time, then your body becomes naturally set to fall asleep and wake up at said times without any strain, you might even find yourself no longer in need of your alarm clock. Have a constant time to sleep and to wake up that gives you six to eight hours of sleep, be consistent with it for a couple of weeks and watch your body fall into a predictable pattern.
3. Dedicate your sleeping area
This is done by ensuring that your bedroom or sleeping area is for just that, sleeping and only sleeping. How to dedicate your sleeping area is through: Failure to eat, study or working your sleeping area and Wearing pajamas just before going to bed and try change out of them as soon as possible after waking up.
4. Be comfortable
This has to be the simplest one to understand and achieve. Comfort is a key factor in falling asleep quickly, staying asleep for the whole night and waking up feeling refreshed. Comfort can be either be in your state of mind or physical comfort.
Mental comfort is achieved by being in the right state of mind for rest which includes having a sense of accomplishment with your day, looking forward to sleeping, having an idea of the activities set up for the next day among others.
On the other hand, physical comfort can be achieved by these things:
1. Ensure your room is at the right temperature. Contrary to popular belief, the room you sleep in should be slightly cooler than your core body temperature, this pushes your body to generate more heat which helps you fall asleep.
2. Get a pair of thick curtains to limit the amount of light that enters your sleeping area. This minimizes the visual distractions as you are asleep. If this is not possible, you can consider getting a sleeping mask.
3. Make your sleeping area more comfortable. You can do this by getting fluffy pillows, replacing your worn out mattress with a nectar mattress, regularly changing your bedding or even getting a new bed altogether. This will greatly improve your sleeping experience and have you looking forward to going to bed.
4. Have proper beddings for the time of year to ensure that you do not get too hot or cold in the middle of the night.
5. Have a quiet sleeping area. This may be out of your control, so you can consider getting ear muffs.
6. Have a productive day
A sense of accomplishment is often accompanied with one of self-gratification and reward, and what reward is better than rest? Accomplishment is more a mental state of mind than physical tiredness. The key to achieving this is not working your ass off during the day but rather feeling that you have done the most with your day.
Here are a few activities that tune your mind to this effect:
1. Have a journal – This is a very good activity not only for healthy sleep but also for your emotional development. Looking back at your day takes your mind on a 12 hour journey on all the things you have done, all the emotions you have felt that day and leaves you feeling peaceful.
2. Get busy during the day – Even on a lazy day, make a point of dong menial tasks like taking out the trash, folding your laundry, taking your pet out for a walk and whatever else you can think of. These activities do not physically tire you, but your mind ticks them off as tasks that you have accomplished.
3. Avoid big meals and caffeine products before bed – This is common advice given to people with trouble falling asleep. It is known that caffeine is a stimulant. In line with this, drinking caffeinated products up to around five hours before you sleep sparks your system and makes your mind and body active at a time when you are trying to wind it down.
Alcoholic beverages as well as nicotine products also have the same effect on our body and it would be wise to avoid them for that period before you go to bed. Big meals leave you feeling full and a little uncomfortable and may necessitate waking up in the middle of the night, so they should be avoided. An alternative is having a bit of fruit during this four hour window.
The key to developing a sleeping pattern is consistency, these changes to your sleeping schedule may seem a little strenuous at first but keep at it and in less than a couple of weeks you should see improvement in your sleep pattern. Just like food where you need to not just eat, but eat healthy, it is vital to your well-being that you do not just sleep but get healthy sleep. A pivotal part of healthy sleep is having a consistent healthy sleeping pattern.