Improve the Quality of Your Sleep By Following These Tips

Kaleigh M January 21st 2016 Lifestyle
Unfortunately for many of us, sleep has become a luxury rather than a necessity. What people tend to ignore is that sleep is incredibly important to a variety of things throughout our daily life. According to Campusmindworks.org, “As many as 70 million Americans may be affected by chronic sleep loss or sleep disorders.” If an individual receives poor sleep quality or a lack of sleep, it leads to a lack of motivation, reduced attention span, and overall poor feeling. According to a variety of studies, scientists conclude that the optimal amount of sleep averages between 7-8 hours. Although one may receive a sufficient amount of sleep, it is necessary to understand that “not all sleep is created equal.” The most important thing to think about when changing your sleep habits is to improve the quality of your sleep above all else. Sleep is a cycle of stages, and it is important to achieve an adequate amount of rest at each stage in order to feel rested the next morning.
The first thing to address is napping. While most people nap during the day, a nap can either help or harm your sleep at night. In order to ensure that an afternoon nap will not screw up your nightly rest, make sure to nap for only a certain amount of time. An efficient “power nap” should only last about 20-30 minutes at the most. With this short amount of time, you are receiving rest; however, you are not staying asleep long enough to slip into a deeper stage of sleep. It is important to maintain a ritual or routine each morning upon waking and each night before falling asleep. Waking up at the same time every morning allows the body to begin its wake cycles early, making falling asleep easier that night. In addition, having a set, relaxing routine each night signals the brain to start shifting into sleep mode.
When discussing bedtime routines, it is necessary to cut out screens and reduce as much light as possible. With the bright light from a phone or computer (or even the light from a nightlight), the brain is unable to reach all sleep stages efficiently and effectively because the light tells the brain that it is still daytime. In addition, when waking up in the morning, make sure to have a soothing alarm that cannot be easily shut off and ignored. Next up: cut out alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes. Alcohol has been known to help individuals fall asleep faster; however, alcohol messes up the sleep cycle and stages during the night, therefore decreasing the quality of sleep. Known for its ability to help “wake you up”, it is important to avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine because it actually shorten’s the body’s ability to stay in the deeper stages of sleep during the night. Lastly, cigarettes have been known to actually prevent the initial act of falling asleep altogether. Sleep should be viewed as a necessity in order to achieve optimal function during the day, so make sure to improve both the quantity and quality of your Zzzz’s.

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