The importance of sleep and best ways to get quality sleep
The world moves fast and so does our life. In our quest of reaching new heights and achieving new milestones, we are constantly overlooking a crucial element of life; sleep. We are not getting enough of it. Arguably the most important component of our overall wellbeing, not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health.
Why sleep is essential
While sacrificing sleep to squeeze in a few extra minutes of Netflix may seem like a good idea in hindsight, it really should be the other way around. Sleep regulates our cognitive functions like learning and memory retention. This means, the more sleep we get, the sharper we are and the clearer we think. It also helps calm the nerves which can positively impact conditions such as depression, anxiety, and irritability, which can all boost your performance in work, school and life. It is known to have a similar impact on our mental health, like meditation or yoga. Although not as potent, sleep does help us achieve lower stress levels while promoting peace of mind. It also helps our body recover from illnesses and injuries, which makes it vital for regulating our physical health. Furthermore, various studies have shown that lack of sleep is directly related to weight gain and diabetes type 2.
All of the above should be sufficient enough to give you an idea of why sleep has so much significance in our lives. You shouldn't even need any more convincing. But how do you make sure that you get enough sleep? To help improve your sleep patterns and cycles, here are a few strategies that you can try out.
Get out during the day
Getting sufficient light is key to keep your natural and biological clock ticking. That's right, our circadian cycle plays a crucial role in our sleep cycle as it dictates when the body feels sleepy or awake and sunlight helps regulate that. Even if you can't get out make sure you're near a window for at least 10 minutes basking in the sunlight. It can help you fall asleep quicker and help fix your sleep cycle in general.
Create a comfortable environment in your room
Studies show that a cooler temperature can help promote sleep. Given how hot Bangladeshi summers can get, turning on the AC or opening the windows prior to your bedtime can greatly boost your room's temperature and make it easier for you to fall asleep quick. Also, the implementation of nightlights can also help set the mood right. Furthermore, you can also use your devices to play calming sounds. There is a delightful selection of those to choose from on YouTube.
Eat in a timely manner
A bad habit all of us have more or less developed at this point in our lives is that we refuse to eat in a timely manner. On top of that, most of us are also avid snackers, both of which contribute to the demise of our sleep. See, metabolism can interfere with the quality of rest, so the earlier you eat before bedtime, the more time you will give your body to break down food properly, which will lead to uninterrupted sleep.
We absolutely need to set a curfew for caffeine, even if we can't avoid it completely. Being a stimulant, it is only natural that our body feels more alert and active after the consumption of caffeine. There needs to be a time limit in the day (preferably after lunch) after which we need to stop having caffeine. Otherwise, we can kiss the thought of falling asleep goodbye. Try opting for decaf or switching to other drinks such as green tea before bed.
Avoid blue lights before bed
Remember the circadian cycle that we mentioned earlier? Well, blue lights can cause disruption to that. The biggest sources of blue lights in our lives are our phones, tablets, laptops, TV etc. Blue lights are notorious for restraining the body's production of melatonin, the very hormone that makes us relaxed before bedtime. Now, obviously it is impossible to not use our devices before and during bed time (even though that would be the ideal scenario) as for some of us, it is the only time we get to catch up on stuff. The best course of action will be to utilise the night light feature in your devices to decrease the impact of blue lights.