A good night’s sleep is one of the most overlooked secrets behind success. Everyone would like to bounce out of bed in the morning, full of energy and ready for another day. But are you finding yourself sleeping many hours yet waking up tired? It could be due to poor quality of sleep. These 12 tips will help you optimize your sleep and make you wake up energetic every morning.
The Mystery of Sleep
Sleep and dreams have mystified humans throughout time. In ancient Greek mythology, they were thought to be delivered by the God Morpheus. Elsewhere in the world, Native-Americans supposedly protected themselves from nightmares by catching them in the web of dream-catchers. Many cultures believe that dreams can be used to predict the future or that they can be sent to you as a warning from the spirit world. Some even say that the soul separates from the body during night. Others believe that sleep is needed because that is when the soul connects with God.
Why Do We Sleep?
The research and technology reached in this modern day and age have not definitively explained why humans need to sleep. But perhaps the key to understanding why we sleep lies in observing what happens when we do.
During sleep the brain is highly active, although it works in a different mode from that of being awake. The sleeping person goes through 90 minute cycles of light sleep, deep sleep and dream-sleep also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Deep sleep is believed to be essential for rejuvenating the body and dream-sleep important to consolidate memories and processing events that happened during the day.
The brain also has its own clock, the circadian clock, which tells the body when it’s time to sleep. During the dark hours the production of a hormone called melatonin increases, which makes the person tired and sleepy.
Sleeping too Little, Sleeping too Much
Studies have shown that a good night’s sleep will improve athletic and academic performance as well as the ability to handle relationships. However, there is a large inter-individual variability in the need for sleep. During pregnancy, for example, the need to sleep increases because of the strain placed on the woman’s body as it builds a new life. You might also have noticed an extra need for sleep when you are sick, as it fuels the healing process.
Although a small percentage of individuals might get away with fewer hours and yet feel fine, most persons will function their best when they are getting the amount of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF):
Good Sleep Makes You Healthy and Energetic
The following tips will help improve your sleep and your daily energy levels. Start implementing them and you will soon stop looking for the snooze button each morning.
12 Tips That Will Have You Bouncing Out of Bed Every Morning
Try to avoid eating heavily the last few hours before going to sleep, as this may cause heart burn, insomnia and weight gain.
Try not to drink anything two hours before bedtime to avoid getting your sleep interrupted by the need to visit the bathroom.
- Drugs and stimulants
Alcohol, cigarettes and coffee are all things that can disturb your sleep. If you can’t eliminate them completely try cutting them out in the evenings. Sleeping pills should only be used as emergency help during short periods of time, as they disturb the natural sleeping pattern.
Exercising is good for the overall health of the body and will increase energy levels. Avoid exercising the last couple of hours before going to bed, as this can affect your ability to relax and sleep.
Long naps late in the afternoon can disturb the sleep pattern and create difficulty falling asleep at night. Try to keep naps short and ideally placed around noon.
Light is an important factor that helps the body adjust the circadian clock. Dimming the lights about an hour before going to bed will send a signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep. Try to avoid strong lights after bedtime, invest in a night lamp for bathroom visits or to use when tending to young children. Blue light, from cell phones and digital devices, can disturb sleep and should not be kept in the bedroom.
Try to eliminate noise in the sleeping quarters. If this is not possible, invest in earplugs or a fan that can help drown disturbing sounds.
Organizing your activities for the next day, packing your bag and putting out the clothes to wear before going to bed can help you relax and avoid worrying about tomorrow.
By following the natural sleep rhythm dictated by the circadian clock, the body will get optimal rest during its sleeping hours. The body gets its most beneficial sleep, deep sleep, between midnight and 2 a.m., so ideally it is best to go to bed by 10 p.m.
Make an effort to go to bed and rise from sleep around the same time every day. Keeping to the same sleeping schedule both working nights and weekends will help combat the Monday morning tiredness.
The bedroom should only be used for sleeping, not for watching TV, working or talking on the phone. An important rule is to try leaving the stress and worries of the day outside the bedroom.
To ensure the highest quality of sleep, the bedroom should be kept cool as the body temperature drops during sleep.
Avoid having a digital clock next to your bed as watching it can cause stress if you are experiencing problems falling asleep.
To avoid a stiff neck and tender muscles, make sure your pillow isn’t too large or too flat as this will put strain on the neck. If you are sleeping on the side, putting a pillow between the legs can help alleviate back pain.
If you have been cutting back on sleep thinking you’ll be able to get more out of your day, think again. Getting high quality sleep every night will give you a clear mind and the energy you need to be successful. Start implementing these tips tonight and reap the benefits tomorrow. A great day starts with a good night.References