Dos and don'ts for a good night's sleep
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Amrut Mangaraj, INFS Faculty
Dos and don'ts for a good night's sleep
One of the critical factors to feel good is sleep! It helps our body and mind to recover from everyday stress. Moreover, our metabolic processes, such as cleaning up toxic proteins in the brain, are done with the help of a good night's sleep. In addition, during particular stages of sleep, our brain converts significant short-term memories to long-term memories. Thus, it results in improved cognition and mental capability.
Many health issues come with a lack of sleep. It increases inflammation and reduces focus, fat loss, and insulin signalling. The production of testosterone hormone naturally has also been linked to deeper sleep. Recently, studies also point to a lack of sleep leading to water retention.
So, not an easy task, but getting enough sleep is vital! It helps in increasing the sexual, mental and day-to-day behaviour of humans. It also makes some hormones active. Therefore, making sleep an essential aspect is important while maintaining a healthy body. So let's dig out ways to improve our sleep quality.
What can hamper sleep?
Light helps in regulating the human biological clock through melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that signals our body to sleep for a particular period. On the other hand, blue light, which the sun emits, disrupts our sleep quality. Tv sets, computers and smartphones are contributors to blue light. To fall asleep, one must avoid bright blue lights within 2 hours of bedtime to fall asleep. Blue light filters in smartphones can reduce the effect. Making the room dark is also an ideal way to help sleep better. If not, try using a sleep mask.
Elevation of body temperature is a direct cause of insomnia. A cooling atmosphere helps in falling asleep much faster. Although too much cold can still hamper, a proper temperature which is not so warm can help in a good night's sleep. Therefore if the bedroom is cool enough to lower the core body temperature, one can fall asleep faster and enter a more profound stage of the sleep cycle.
Caffeine, found in coffee and energy drinks, is safe and has benefits. However, it is a significant barrier to the sleep process.
Caffeine blocks different adenosine receptors in the brain, with some varying effects. This effect can reduce the quality of sleep. However, even though one tends to feel sleepy, caffeine consumption 3 to 4 hours before bedtime can increase alertness. Furthermore, caffeine increases certain hormones that help mood enhancement and stimulate brain activity. Therefore, lessening the caffeine intake at least 6 hours before bedtime is an excellent idea to help you sleep well.
How can you sleep better?
While one must avoid the above points, adapting a few sleep-inducing techniques is essential.
- Make a consistent sleep schedule
Our body is a giant clock which counts every second. Most of our body's physiological processes follow a strict 24-hour schedule. This frame adapts as to when one sleeps each day. Further, based on the impacts of light and temperature discussed above, sleep timing is critical (as the sun rises and sets at a particular time).
The 24-hour schedule is the circadian rhythm, and not following a consistent plan may impair sleep quality. On the other hand, going to bed at approximately the same time can help improve sleep quality and reduce the time one takes to fall asleep.
Therefore, a bedtime routine is necessary for signalling the body that its time to sleep. Some methods that can help build a circadian rhythm are brushing the teeth daily at a fixed time. In addition. one can just get involved in meditation by spending time reading or listening to music.
- Physical activity
Exercising has a definitive effect on sleep. The more intense the exercise, the better is sleep quality. Although well-run studies do not have a perfect answer to this, they don't necessarily point to a specific population.
Exercising can be challenging for people who have not been active for quite some time. Therefore simply increasing daily activities like walking or household work can imply more energy output.
Many exercises like yoga, training in martial arts, and swimming can be an alternative to regular gym activities. These have more potential to improve sleep quality, mood and overall health.
Everyone is different; while some showed that overtraining might hamper sleep, most cases showed a positive outcome. However, one must necessarily avoid exercising near bedtime as it can make the regular circadian rhythm gets disrupted.
The overall picture!
Sleep is an essential part of many lively activities. Increasing testosterone naturally, having a good mood and tackling libido issues in the long term is critical in day-to-day life. Therefore to optimise sleep, one must avoid things that disrupt it and make sure the diet contains good vitamins and micronutrients. Finally, if the sleep issue still exists, one needs to console a doctor on the same.
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