Get The Best Sleep Every Night

 

Sleep is as unique as you are. There are a number of factors than contribute to your quality of sleep and it is the combination of these factors that you need to work out.

 

Your body sleeps in a 90 minute cycle. Think of it as a wave, at the end of the 90 minutes you are coming out of a deep sleep and you are almost awake. If you do not wake your body will fall into a deeper and deeper sleep before it begins to wake up again. This happens for the entire time that you are asleep. If you can manage to wake at the end of a 90 minute cycle you will wake feeling refreshed and energised. If you wake in the middle of the cycle you will wake feeling tired and irritable. I'm sure you have had these experiences.

 

How Much

To improve your sleep pattern the first thing you have to do is give yourself the time to sleep. Aim for 6, 7.5 or 9 hours sleep. If you have missed out on sleep for whatever reason don't try to catch up by sleeping for the entire day. It can take a few days but try not to have more than 9 as you will oversleep and still feel tired. The body gets into routines and knows how to work best on a given amount of sleep if you go outside of this optimal range you will feel sluggish. In setting aside the time to sleep you have to take into account how long it takes you to get into bed and then how long before you fall asleep.

 

Exercise

Exercise and stress are linked in so far as exercise can help relieve stress. The release of endorphins (happy hormones) can make you feel better and stress less. The optimal time for you to exercise before bed is up to you. Some people sleep best if they exercise just before bed, an hour or 4 or more hours before bed. It is down to what you find out works best for you.

Worrying about waking up on time or about what you are going to do the next day are high on the list of reasons people do not get a good nights sleep. Set your alarm or set two and make sure that they are not within reach of your bed so you will have to move to turn them off and not just roll over.

 

Structure your morning

Take five minutes at some point in the evening to plan what you are going to do the following day, where do you have to be, how are you going to get there and when do you have to leave in order to arrive on time. The same goes for everything else, give yourself little deadlines that you have to achieve in order to get everything done that you want to get done in the day. You may find that there isn't enough time to do everything but knowing that before you go to sleep will allow you to stop worrying about it and importantly prevent you from stressing about not getting everything done the following day.

 

Nutrition

Nutrition and sleep is less about what you eat but when you eat. Eating within two to three hours of going to bed may mean you are spending your energy digesting food rather than recovering after your days work. The other problem you have to be aware of is that if you eat to early before bed you may not sleep well due to being hungry. Again this is a trial and error area that you need to figure out for yourself.

 

Hydration

Hydration like food is a balancing act. To much water and you will wake during the night and need to go to the toilet. To little and you may wake up feeling a little hungover, itchy eyes, dry mouth, stuffed nose. It is important that you drink water throughout the day and increase your consumption little by little. When your body gets used to having a plentiful supply of water your cells will be sufficiently hydrated to get you through the night.

 

External

External factors are usually out of your control. It could be neighbours, kids, partners etc. that do something to wake you up. If it is a one off occurrence then you will just have to get over it but if it is a partner snoring, noisy neighbours or kids then you can do something to prevent them from disrupting your sleep. Address the snoring as it could be as simples as a hydration issue, talk to your neighbours ( Garda). If your kids are babies then you will just have to live with a lack of sleep for a while but if they are older than that find out what it is and seek help if necessary. There is no point in you and your child losing sleep when there is always something you can do about it.

 

Most of what I have said here is to do with you. Spend time finding out what works for you, when you should eat, exercise, relax etc to give yourself the best possible chance of a good nights sleep. Use the sleep form to track what you are doing and you will see a pattern whereby you get a good nights sleep.

 

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