We figure out how many hours you need to sleep to be healthy and active. And what to do if the quality of sleep leaves much to be desired.
On average, a healthy adult needs 8 hours of quality sleep. Studies show that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. This is due to our hectic lifestyle and the abundance of gadgets that we use on a daily basis.
Technology is an integral part of our lives, but it can have a bad effect on our sleep. And sleeping pills can cause drowsiness during the day and are usually not suitable for long-term use. Fortunately, today there are other ways to deal with insomnia.
1. Start monitoring your sleep
First of all, it is important to understand what is wrong with your sleep. Sleep monitoring can help with this. Thanks to monitoring, you can find out if you have problems falling asleep, whether you wake up in the middle of the night, whether you sleep lightly.
If you are very serious, you can sign up for a study in a special sleep laboratory and consult a somnologist. Polysomnography is considered to be the standard for detecting sleep disorders. Doctors use these tests to diagnose restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, insomnia, and other conditions.
However, today there are many cheaper and more compact devices that will help with sleep monitoring. If you have a smartwatch, there are apps that can track sleep patterns based on your heart rate. The watch can also record sounds to help you detect snoring or external stimuli that are preventing you from deep sleep. It can be, for instance, loud noises from the street early in the morning. It is much easier to conduct such a “research”, but its accuracy will be much lower.
2. Choose the right temperature
Body temperature drops from outside and rises before waking up. Too low or too high temperature in the bedroom can affect the quality of sleep. It is believed that for optimal sleep, it is best to keep the temperature in the room between 18 and 24°C. It must be remembered that body temperature is affected not only by the temperature in the bedroom, but also by bedding and cotton nighties.
It is believed that for a comfortable sleep it is necessary to ventilate the room so that the air in it is cool.T o do this, you can open windows, turn down the heat if possible, or use a fan, for example.
3. Reduce exposure to blue light
The blue light that comes from gadgets can negatively affect the quality of sleep. That is why the habits of scrolling the feed on social networks or watching TV shows before bed are not the healthiest. Blue light affects natural circadian rhythms.
The easiest way to minimize the negative impact of blue light is to give up gadgets 1-2 hours before bedtime. An alternative would be a paper book, talking to loved ones, or any hobby that doesn’t require a phone or computer.
4. Get ready for bed
It will become a good habit to simply get ready for bed – make sure that all urgent matters are done, plans for tomorrow are made, and you are ready to relax. Here are some useful tips:
- take a warm, but not hot, bath – this will help your body reach the ideal temperature for relaxation,
- write a to-do list for the next day – this will help organize your thoughts and get rid of any distractions,
- do relaxation exercises, such as light stretching, but do not do intense workouts before bed,
- listen to calm music
- read, but not from your phone or computer.
5. Get moving
We know that exercise improves the composition of the microbiota, elevates mood and helps maintain physical and mental health. But besides that, according to research, exercise can have a positive effect on sleep.
In particular, physical activity helps to improve the quality and duration of sleep, and also helps with insomnia. It is best to exercise in the morning or afternoon, so that by night the body is ready for a good sleep. Avoid strenuous exercise two hours before bedtime. And before going to bed, you can do light stretching exercises.
6. Stick to a schedule
The circadian rhythm, also known as the internal biological clock, influences sleep and wake schedules. Ideally, we should feel most awake early in the morning and ready for bed when it gets dark. The circadian rhythm is affected by unstable sleep patterns, jet lag, irregular work schedules, and overwork.
On a note
Lack of sleep is harmful to health: it increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, affects mental health, and reduces life expectancy.
Sleep is important for human to recover the body and its normal functioning. When we sleep poorly, our productivity decreases, our ability to concentrate and learn, our memory and mood deteriorate.
To improve sleep, you need:
- Refuse gadgets for 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Maintain optimal temperature in the bedroom.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Don’t forget about physical activity.
- Reduce the amount of alcohol and nicotine before bedtime, as well as refuse a heavy dinner a couple of hours before bedtime.