We spend at least one third of our life sleeping. Sleep rejuvenates our body and mind. Having a good night's sleep is critical to health. But as necessary it is most people in this century can not sleep well.
Here I am going to share 10 scientifically proven secrets to deep sleep.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule:
People hate to live on a timely but but it is essential for productivity at work. The same applies for the human body too. We have an internal clock that tells the body when to wake up and sleep, and it does not like to be constantly reset. When there was no electricity and blazing lights it was easy for our ancestors to stick to a sleep schedule but for us we have to make it a routine. A regular sleep schedule saves you from heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and even cancer.
How to set up a sleep schedule? Many have tried without success, including me. What I learned is that you have to train yourself, like you train your dog, through a set of patterns to tell your body that it is time to sleep. Some examples are listening to music before bed or taking a hot shower. If you keep this pattern for at least a week your body will learn and program itself (better than a Nest thermostat) to your sleep schedule.
2. Avoid lights
Lights stop the production of melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleep. Light tricks our brain into thinking that it is time to wake up, so a person sleeping with lights on is less likely to sleep anytime soon. It is not just bright lights, even small amounts of light can affect sleep. To avoid lights make it a habit to switch off all lights before you go to bed. Avoid even nightlights if possible. Keep a small torch in case you have the habit of waking up during night. During daytime try to get some sunshine, people working in offices are very less exposed to sunlight, so their brain will not be able to differentiate that between your nightlight. The result? you stay awake.
3. Avoid gadgets
It goes without saying that it is mobile phones and tablets that keep people stay late. Checking your email before bed is a bad idea, both that it is backlit and keeps your mind occupied. The type of light from most electronic devices is a close relative to sunlight and so keeps your brain awake. In case it is important that you check your laptop or mobile on bed try to lower its brightness as much as possible.
4. Avoid noise
Noise or sudden and loud sounds disturbs even. Even if you manage to go to sleep these unwanted sounds easily interrupt deep sleep. So what is the best solution? Use ear plugs! But I should say it is not the best option because some sounds can enhance sleep. 'White' and 'pink' sounds promote restful sleep. White sounds are a muted blend of sounds of different frequencies whereas 'pink sound' is a combination of sounds of consistent frequencies. But if you can not prevent other noises then using earplugs are the best option.
5. Sleep in a cooler place
High temperature tends to keep our metabolic processes more active whereas a cooler temperature (cooler than your daytime) keep them to a minimum. At lower temperatures the brain produces a hormone called melatonin which helps sleep. Wearing minimum clothes and choosing natural fabrics increases air circulation and lowers body temperature and help you fall sleep faster.
6. Keep night exercises to minimum
It is best if you do not go to gym a few hours before bed time. Exercises keep your heart rate and other metabolic activities high so you will have trouble going to sleep. Taking a hot bath before bedtime can relax your body and help it to slow down.
7. Cut down on alcohol
Does not alcohol help us to sleep faster and better? Think again. Alcohol affects our brain and nervous system; we will feel relaxed and sleepy but it will affect the defect state of sleep. So if you plan to drink, do that a few hours before your bedtime. And make sure you drink lots of water.
8. Cut down on smoking too
Unlike in the case of alcohol nicotine is a stimulant; it helps you to stay awake, just like caffeine. Quit smoking, that's the best for you, or make sure you keep a lot of hours between your last puff and sleep time.
9. Eat carbohydrates rich food
Carbohydrates foods improve sleep. While it is not good to eat a heavy meal close to your sleep time you can always eat a snack. And avoid protein rich foods from your snack list, they will keep you awake.
10. Keep a relaxed mind
Our emotions are reflected on our body too. If you are tensed or worried our body will have a hard time relaxing. The best way to avoid worries is to keep your gadgets and work away from bedroom.
I trained myself to follow each of the secrets listed above and they give me deep sleep and refreshed mornings. Practice it for at least seven days and see the miracles happen.