Sleep is a vital part of our health and we often tend to neglect it. Scientists say that lack of sleep is associated with many diseases such as :immune deficiency, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, Cardiovascular disease, stress or accelerated aging.
First of all, and before exposing the tips of improving our sleep, it is important to remember that our sleep is cut off in several cycles
- 1 Sleep Cycles.
- 2 1. Exercise Helps You Sleep.
- 3 2. Ban the screens
- 4 3. Expose yourself to natural sunlight during the day.
- 5 4. Waking up at The Same Time Every Day
- 6 5. Eat Healthy Food
- 7 6. Regulate Your Body Temperature As You Sleep.
- 8 7. Improve Your Mental Wellbeing
- 9 8. Avoid Alcohol.
- 10 9. Avoid caffeine.
- 11 10. Stop Taking Sleeping Pills.
There are about 4, 5 or 6 cycles per night depending on the individual and last an average of 90 minutes. Today, scientists break down sleep into 3 phases:
In this phase we see a decrease in heart rate, and the brain performs less complex tasks.Then the body switches to a Sleep phase.
Phase 2: “slow deep”
This is a phase where several hormones are released, such as growth hormone or melatonin, which maintain and repair our bodies.
Phase 3: “paradoxical” sleep
The last phase is called the “paradoxical” sleep. This is a rapid phase where dreams occur. There is an influx of blood to the muscles, the heart rate and temperature increase. This phase is especially marked by a strong cerebral activity which allows a consolidation of the memory and a cleansing of the cerebrospinal fluid inside the brain.
Now, let’s move to the tips, and remember that if you want to sleep better at night naturally try to keep the following sleep tips on a consistent basis:
1. Exercise Helps You Sleep.
When done properly, exercise improves the sleep phase. and increases sleep time and efficiency. Morning workouts are ideal if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
One of the big problems with exercising late at night, is that it dramatically increases your body’s core temperature and it’s gonna take four to six hours to get her back down.
However, if you’re exercising in the late afternoon, your core body temperature drops after exercise a little more than normal. This gives the body time to cool down before you go to bed.
2. Ban the screens
You should know that the screens completely disrupt our internal clock, what scientists call the circadian rhythm. The screens emit a blue light that severely disrupts sleep.
The blue light stimulates the production of cortisol, which is known as the waking hormone. At the same time, blue light reduces the secretion of melatonin, the famous sleep hormone.
The worst thing about it is that by decreasing the secretion of melatonin, we’re gonna lose all the benefits of this hormone, which is essential to our health.
Indeed, melatonin notably allows us to increase our immunity, to normalize our blood pressure,
reduce cancer cell proliferation, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce neuronal degeneration.
3. Expose yourself to natural sunlight during the day.
Unlike the blue light on our screens, it is essential to expose yourself to natural sunlight during the day to help us sleep. With natural light, the body produces various hormones, including serotonin,known for its ability to promote feelings of happiness and well-being.
In the evening, serotonin fulfils a second function by improving the quality of sleep.
Aside from serotonin, exposure to natural light allows your body to secrete cortisol at the right time of day.
Cortisol is too often considered the stress hormone. while this hormone keeps us awake and alert,it promotes attention span and vitality.
Exposure to sunlight in the morning stimulates cortisol production, allowing us to be active,
and dramatically lowers its rate at the end of the day, making it easier to fall asleep.
4. Waking up at The Same Time Every Day
Going to bed and waking up early on a regular basis allows our internal clock to balance. Scientists show that between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m hormone secretions are the most profitable and that’s also when sleep is most restorative. However, we must also avoid going to bed when we are not sleepy.
You should also avoid making drastic changes to your own schedule, and take the time to change them 15 minutes at a time.
Concerning morning fats, it is important to know that a small debt of sleep of one night can be erased quite easily with good sleep, good nutrition and good exercise. However, two or three nights of poor sleep is enough to create a sleep debt that you can’t catch up on.
Sleeping in late on the weekend can also disrupt your sleep pattern, and make it hard for you to go to bed on Sunday night, which is already handicapping you from starting the week. So it is really beneficial to go to bed and get up at set times every day of the week.
5. Eat Healthy Food
Eating light in the evening will limit the increase of our body’s temperature, which is beneficial for promoting sleep. I’m not going to go into all the details of a balanced diet, but just remember that it’s interesting to limit highly processed products.
Not only are these products full of sugar, bad fats and additives, but they lead to overweight and obesity, which in turn leads us into a vicious circle.
Obesity reduces the quality of sleep in one direction and obesity in the other, Poor quality sleep in turn increases the risk of obesity.
Lack of sleep leads to poor food choices and overeating, both of which help keep bad bacteria in your gut under control.
Finally, if you eat foods high in sugars just before going to bed, you will create a spike in blood sugar followed by a drop that can wake you up.
6. Regulate Your Body Temperature As You Sleep.
We sleep better when our body temperature is low. Scientific studies have shown that the optimal room temperature for sleeping in your bedroom should not be too high and should be between 16 and 20°C.
You should also avoid taking a very hot or very cold shower just before going to sleep.
Hot increases body temperature too much and cold closes the pores of the skin, which prevents the body from properly regulating its temperature. It’s best to shower a few hours before going to sleep to allow your body temperature to drop.
7. Improve Your Mental Wellbeing
These mental techniques allow us to improve our sleep by stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the system that allows our bodies to relax. Studies in neuroimaging reveal that mental techniques allow us to control certain types of brain waves called alpha waves. One of the uses of these waves is to relax and open our minds.
8. Avoid Alcohol.
Drinking alcohol late at night helps you fall asleep faster. but severely disrupts REM sleep.
Alcohol increases adenosine, a hormone that puts us to sleep, that’s why we feel sleepy when we drink alcohol. However, this artificial increase in adenosine disturbs the sleep balance.
In the long term, the disturbance of this homeostasis, of this balance, may increase the risk of nervous diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
9. Avoid caffeine.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant for the nervous system. It pushes our adrenal glands, i.e. the glands located above the kidneys, Therefore, avoid overheating your room in winter.
Even a cup of coffee or tea six hours before bedtime can cause sleep disturbances. It is advisable to avoid caffeine consumption after 14 hours.
10. Stop Taking Sleeping Pills.
Taking sleeping pills is not the best way to get back to sleep. Even one pill 20 times a year is associated with increased mortality. They only increase sleep duration by 30 to 40 minutes without improving the quality of sleep.
In particular, melatonin supplements should be avoided because it is a real hormone.
The fact of taking a melatonin supplement increases the risk of side effects and sensory problems. The body may decrease its natural ability to take advantage of melatonin on its own, in particular by desensitizing the melatonin receptors.
On the other hand, sleeping pills can also lead to addiction and dependence, which prevents you from getting back to your natural sleep.
In conclusion, I know that all this advice is not necessarily easy to implement
but you can experiment with some of them and see the effect they have on your sleep.