8 Natural Ways To Improve Sleep Quality And Sleep Well
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The National Sleep Survey conducted by Nielsen Malaysia shows that nine in ten Malaysians suffer from sleep problems and Malaysian only get approximately six hours of sleep a night.
Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function.
It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children. Tired of tossing and turning at night?
These 8 simple tips will help you sleep better and be more energetic and productive during the day.
1) Develop a Sleep Routine
One of the most important strategies to improve sleep quality is to get in sync with the natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm of your body.
Firstly, try to go to sleep and get up at almost the same time every day because this will help to set your body internal clock and optimize your sleep quality.
While napping is a good way to make up for sleep deprivation, limit your nap time to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.
2) Control Exposure to Light
6 in 10 Malaysians claim that having unhealthy lifestyles and spending too much time on phones have also caused them difficulty to fall asleep and to stay asleep.
Melatonin is a body hormone controlled by light exposure that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it is dark which will make you sleepy and vice versa. It is advisable to expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning and spend more time outside during the day.
At night, try to avoid bright screens and electronic devices at least 30 mins before your bedtime because the blue light emitted by electronic devices like phones, tablets, computers, or televisions will induce melatonin secretion. It is recommended to listen to music or audiobooks and read a book before sleep instead.
3) Exercise During the Day
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise improves symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in deep, restorative stages of sleep.
Remember to finish your workout at least three hours before bed as exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates endorphins hormones, which is a hormone that keep people awake. This will interfere with your sleeping time.
4) Be Aware of Your Diet
Limiting caffeine and alcohol is a great way to improve sleep quality. Caffeinated drinks, including coffee, tea, and sodas, are among the most popular beverages in the world. Some of them are tempted to use the jolt of energy from caffeine to try to overcome daytime sleepiness, but that approach is not sustainable and can cause long-term sleep deprivation.
To avoid this, it is advised to be aware of your caffeine intake and avoid taking it, especially in the last afternoon. On the other hand, alcohol can induce drowsiness, so some people are keen on a nightcap before bed.
Unfortunately, alcohol also affects the brain in ways that can lower sleep quality, and for that reason, it is best to avoid alcohol in the lead-up to bedtime. Moreover, avoid taking late dinner because it will be harder to sleep if your body is still digesting food. Lastly, avoid using the bedroom for work! Reserve the bedroom for sleep and other chill activities, it will create a strong association between bedroom and sleeping and help to improve sleep quality.
5) Create a Sleep-friendly Room
A comfortable and relaxing sleep environment minimizes distractions and makes your mind mentally prepared for sleep during bedtime.
A high-performance mattress and pillow are can make your sleep comfortable and ensure good support to your spine. Avoid light disruption by using blackout curtains over your window or using a sleep mask over your eyes to block light and prevent distractions from your rest.
Another tip is to maintain an ideal room temperature, which is mostly reported as 18°C but may vary based on each individual as it helps you to fall asleep. Introducing pleasant aromas and essential oils with natural aromas such as lavender can provide a soothing sensation and help to ease you into sleep.
6) Take Time to Wind Down and Clear Your Head
National Sleep Survey proved that 52% say they are unable to sleep due to stress, anxiety , and depression, while 26% blame it on environmental issues.
Stress, worry, and anger during the day can disrupt your sleep and contribute to insomnia and other sleeping problems.
Unwinding and clearing your head before going to bed can help you to get a better sleeping quality. Activities such as practicing meditation or gentle yoga, reading a book, listening to music, drinking a cup of hot milk help in deep relaxation, and improve sleep quality.
7) Keep A Sleep Diary
A daily sleep journal can help you keep track of your sleeping quality and identify factors that might be helping or distracting your sleep. If you are testing out a new sleep schedule or other sleep habit changes, the sleep diary can help document the progress and improvement of the changes.
8) Natural Sleep Supplements
Natural sleep supplements use a combination of herbs that have a calming or sedating effect such as passionflower, lavender, and lemon balm to promote sleep.
Some examples of natural sleep supplements in the market are Lunalex and Rilax. Lunalex contains Venetron, which is extracted from the plant ApocynumVentum L, and 9 other natural ingredients including white chestnut, chamomile flower, elderflower, lemon balm, venetron, passionflower, valerian root, cherry plum, lavender flower and jasmine flower that coordinate to improve sleep quality and calm down your emotion.
It is commonly used to improve the jetlag and treatment of insomnia and nervous breakdown. On the other hand, Rilax, a product of LiveLive BioSciences AG Switzerland, is extracted from active ingredients from milk and green tea that promote relaxation, normalize stress and anxiety level, improve daytime performance and improve sleep quality.
Even though sleep supplement helps in sleeping problem, it is advisable to consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting any regime.