Like the one above, you may have heard various proverbs about the importance of sleep. Indeed, sleep is one of the main components of health. Scientists have stressed the need of at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day. However, if you are one of those people who doesn’t believe this, then this article is for you! Here we give you all the benefits of adequate sleep. And if that interests you, we have also included 5 tips to help you fall asleep early.
What are the benefits of good-quality sleep?
Generally, sleeping early results to a much better sleep quality. In adequate amounts, good sleep can give you the following benefits:
• Control of weight– sleep helps control secretion of cortisol and the body’s ability to keep blood sugars in check. Insufficient sleep is often correlates to obesity.
• You feel happier– when you go to bed early, you are more likely to wake up early. This means that you have more chances to enjoy the morning sun. And yes you guessed it! The brain releases serotonin (the happiness hormone) more with sun exposure.
• You feel more energized.
• Your memory power and attention span is improved.
• Many studies have shown that good sleep also improves your immunity and keeps you healthier.
• Your mind becomes more alert and you take better decisions.
• Sufficient sleep can also help protect you from developing several chronic life threatening conditions like cancers, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s.
• Good quality sleep helps relax your muscles and helps heal your skin. Thus you feel more fit, calm and attractive.
So now that you are aware of all these amazing benefits, let’s tell you 5 ways to sleep early:
1. Keep a schedule
Your circadian rhythm is a regulatory system in the body which keeps you alert during the day and sleepy at night time. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day can help your body regulate this more easily. This will help train your body to fall asleep faster during those, and keeps you more alert when you are awake. It is also a helpful tip to avoid naps, as this can throw your sleep schedule out of balance. Naps can even deteriorate the quality of your nighttime sleep. Now, we don’t want that do we?
2. Increase physical activity
You may have realized that when you have had a tiring day, you generally fall asleep faster. That is why it is a good idea to maintain some moderate form of physical activity. Regular exercise is a helpful way to keep your body fit. At the same time, exercising also keeps your mind fit since it helps to improve your sleep quality. This is because exercise boosts production of serotonin and decreases levels of serotonin (the stress hormone.) An ideal ‘catching two birds with one stone’ situation right? Make sure you don’t overdo it though, because many studies have linked excessive training to poor sleep.
3. Reduce Stress
Stress is one of the leading causes that will delay the time you take to fall asleep. Try your best to maintain a stress-free life. Remember that your problems are all temporary and that nothing is worth losing your over. Practice yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques. These include using essential oils and a diffuser for aromatherapy (lavender and damask rose being the most popular.) Turn off your electronics at least 2 hours before you head off to bed. Try reading a book and try to take your mind away from all the materialistic stresses of life. Sometimes, when you are worrying too much, writing down all your thoughts into a diary can help you clear your mind. Set the perfect room temperature, get comfortable pillows and mattresses. Then, simply breathe and remember that you are lucky to simply be breathing and living this wonderful life.
4. Be careful about what and when you eat
Your elders might have told you not to eat right before you go to sleep. There is a lot of truth to their words. When you eat late at night (especially a high-carb meal), your digestive tract will still be active by the time you go to sleep. This will lengthen the time you need to fall asleep. You might even experiences symptoms like gastro-esophageal reflux or heartburn, which will further hamper your sleep quality. Try not to drink too much liquid before getting to bed as this will increase your urination frequency causing you to awaken during the night. If possible avoid caffeine-rich foods and drinks such as chocolates, coffee, energy drinks or sodas. This is because caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant and will decrease your sleep quality.
5. Try the “4-7-8” breathing method
You must have heard about the famous “4-7-8” breathing technique used for relaxation and to help you fall asleep faster. This method is so popular because it actually works for most people. It’s easy and effective! So try out these steps of the method if you want to reap its benefits too:
• Put the tip of your tongue above your upper incisors
• Breathe out fully through your mouth making a “whoosh” sound
• Close your mouth and then breathe in through your nose and count 1-4 mentally
• Then hold your breath and count from 1-7
• Breathe out completely through your mouth while mentally counting from 1-8. Make sure you make a “whoosh” sounds when exhaling.
• Repeat these steps at least thrice.