When someone asks me what my favourite way to spend my free time is, I immediately pipe up – ‘SLEEP!’
There’s something about a good night’s sleep that has the power to transform my mood, up my energy levels and better my outlook on the day. I’m fresh, emotionally ready and physically prepared to tackle the challenges that could come my way. There are times when I catch myself in a bad mood, and I stop to evaluate the ‘why’. Most often, my bad mood is caused by one of two things – hunger or lack of sleep.
I know I’m not the only one who’s a sucker for a good night’s sleep. Good sleep does wonders for our overall well-being and productivity. This statement is science-backed – sleeping for 60 to 90 minutes more each night can make us happier and healthier. Still, many of us struggle to get a restful night’s sleep, leaving us feeling groggy and unproductive during the day.
The good news is that establishing a few healthy morning and daytime habits can greatly improve our sleep duration and enhance our sleep quality.
The Importance of Good Sleep
Why is good sleep of such importance? Simply put restful sleep not only rejuvenates our body but also enhances cognitive functions, memory consolidation, and emotional well-being. Sleep that lacks in quality and quantity can lead to increased stress levels, decreased productivity, and even impact our physical, mental and emotional health.
The 5 Benefits of Restful Sleep
When we prioritize sleep and adopt healthy habits, we unlock numerous benefits. Restful sleep boosts our immune system, improves mood, sharpens focus, and enhances creativity. It also promotes physical recovery, helping us maintain a healthy weight while reducing the risk of chronic diseases. By investing in quality sleep, we set the foundation for a healthy routine and a happier life.
Here are the remarkable advantages of prioritizing good quality sleep, explained.
1. Enhanced Cognitive Function
Healthy sleep routines improve concentration, memory retention, and problem-solving abilities. They allow our brains to consolidate information gathered throughout the day. This leads to better learning, information retention, and overall cognitive performance. Expect better focus and performance at work with a restful night’s sleep.
2. Emotional Well-Being
Getting enough sleep plays a crucial role in regulating emotions and promoting mental health. A good night’s sleep helps stabilize mood, reduces irritability, and enhances resilience. You will be better prepared to tackle daily challenges head-on, with none of the crankiness.
3. Stronger Immune System
Sleep and immune function are intricately linked. When you sleep well, your immune system functions optimally, protecting you against illnesses and infections. Consistent, quality sleep helps boost the production of immune cells, helping your body to fight off pathogens effectively.
4. Improved Physical Recovery
Restorative sleep is essential for physical recovery and repair. During deep sleep, your body releases growth hormones, repairs damaged tissues and restores energy levels. This promotes muscle growth, speeds up post-workout recovery, and enhances overall athletic performance. It’s no wonder that, after a good quality sleep, we wake up feeling like we can conquer the world.
5. Weight Management
Quality sleep is closely connected with maintaining a healthy weight. Sufficient sleep helps regulate leptin and ghrelin, which are appetite-controlling hormones. It also reduces cravings, aiding in weight management. Moreover, a well-rested body is more likely to engage in physical activities, further supporting weight loss goals.
Morning Habits and Tips for Better Sleep
Now that we know the importance of healthy sleep routines and the benefits of good quality and restful sleep, let’s address an important question – ‘What are the best morning habits for better sleep?’
We can always say that popping a melatonin pill will have you saying goodbye to your sleep-time woes, but that’s not always the right way.
Here are some key morning and daytime habits that can help you sleep better at night.
1. Rise With the Sun
‘Early to bed, early to rise’ was not coined on a whim. It was based on people’s tried-and-tested routines to seek answers to the ever-important query –
Which habits can help me sleep well at night?
Waking up with the sun sets the stage for the rest of the day. You get to experience the calm of a quiet morning before the hustle and bustle of the day takes over. Use this time and space to set your intentions for the day.
You can also get a head-start to prep for the rest of your busy day, in this time that’s just yours. Exposing yourself to natural light in the morning helps regulate your internal clock, promoting better sleep at night.
2. Stay Hydrated
Start your day with a tall glass of water. Staying hydrated supports your body’s natural functions, including sleep regulation. Aim to drink plenty of water – at least 8 large glasses – throughout the day to optimize your sleep quality.
3. Exercise Regularly
Engaging in physical activity during the day can greatly improve sleep quality. Incorporate exercise into your morning routine to reap the benefits of better sleep at night. Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga, or a workout session, find an activity that suits your goal, preference and schedule.
4. Limit Caffeine Intake
While a cup of coffee in the morning can be a delightful pick-me-up, excessive caffeine consumption can disrupt your sleep cycle. It is recommended to avoid caffeine after 10 a.m. Be mindful of your caffeine intake and consider switching to herbal tea or decaffeinated options later in the day.
5. Maintain a Consistent Schedule
We are creatures of habit, functioning best on the orders of our internal clock. Establishing a regular sleep schedule helps regulate this internal clock. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to reinforce your natural sleep-wake cycle.
6. Create a Relaxing Environment
Bedtime habits are just as important as daytime ones for better sleep quality. Set the stage for a good night’s sleep by creating a calm and comfortable sleep environment. Make sure that your bedroom is well-ventilated, dark, and distraction-free. Invest in a supportive mattress and pillows to optimize your sleep posture.
7. Minimize Screen Time
In today’s age of constant screen exposure, minimizing screen time is crucial to avoid its ill effects. Electronic devices emit blue light that can interfere with our sleep quality. Avoid using screens, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, before bedtime. Swap screens for relaxing activities like reading a printed book or practising meditation.
8. Wind Down With a Bedtime Routine
Incorporate certain bedtime habits for better sleep by establishing a relaxing bedtime routine. Your body gets the signal that it’s time to unwind. Taking a relaxing warm shower, listening to soothing lyrics or affirmations, and practising breathing exercises can calm the body and mind, and aid in relaxing you after a long day.
Tips on How to Fall Asleep Faster
If falling asleep quickly is a challenge for you, try to incorporate these additional tips into your routine:
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation or meditation before bedtime to calm your mind and relax your body.
- Use aromatherapy with soothing scents like lavender or chamomile to promote relaxation.
- Try incorporating a white noise machine or earplugs. I chose to listen to some ASMR to help me fall asleep faster.
In our hectic lives, the importance of good sleep cannot be ignored. These habits and tips for better sleep can significantly improve your sleep quality. You will soon find yourself feeling refreshed and energized.
Remember, consistency is key when establishing healthy sleep routines. Embrace these habits as part of your daily lifestyle, and you’ll be amazed at the positive impact they have on your overall well-being. Enjoy the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and embark on each day feeling great.