There are many ways to keep your mind sharp, but one of the most effective is to maximize the beneficial effects of sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important changes that you can make in your lifestyle, and increasing the quality of your sleep can help you to increase your mental alertness, reduce negativity and combat lethargy. How do you go about improving your sleep regime? Here are seven handy tips for better sleep.
Check the bedroom temperature
According to the experts at the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees. During the day, your body temperature will rise and fall, and this pattern has some links to your sleep cycle. If you are tired, then your temperature falls, and then it rises again in the morning. This means that the air in your bedroom can have an effect on the quality of your sleep, and if it is too hot, then your natural body temperature will be affected, leading to an unsettled night and restless sleep.
To find the right temperature to maximize your sleep quality, it is a good idea to experiment with different levels, and take steps to adjust the temperature in your room. For those who prefer to sleep cool, it’s worth doing your research to find the best mattress for cool sleeping, which can be particularly important during the summer or in warm climates.
Block out light
Every one of us has an in-built clock called the circadian rhythm. This programs us to instinctively feel that we should be awake if it’s light and going to bed when it’s dark. In fact, darkness causes your body to release melatonin, which in turn increases sleepiness. To ensure that your melatonin level remains under control and to preserve your body’s circadian rhythm, avoid bright light an hour before you go to bed. Turn off ceiling lights, don’t watch television before bed, and put your mobile devices on nighttime mode.
Reading before bed is often a habit that we have as children but grow out of when we become adults. However, one of the great advantages of reading before bed is that by entering a fictional world, we can clear our minds, which in turn promotes restful sleep.
Skip the afternoon nap
You may be tempted to catch up on lost sleep during the day, but this is likely to be counter-productive, particularly if you opt for an afternoon nap. Daytime naps can disrupt your regular sleep schedule, leading to interrupted sleep. If a nap during the afternoon is essential, then it is a good idea to use one of the many mobile apps available that can time your sleep and ensure that you don’t nap for longer than 20 minutes. Up to this point, you won’t enter deep sleep and there will be minimal disruption to your regular sleep schedule.
Stick to a schedule
It is often said that people who have sleep difficulties should set a strict schedule, under which they go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This may feel restrictive at first, so one way to introduce a better schedule is to set a regular time for waking up and to try to stick to it, whether it is a weekend or a weekday. Doing this can help you to slowly introduce an earlier time to go to bed and create a schedule that maximizes your sleep time.
If you are trying to improve the quality of your sleep, then taking more exercise can have a major impact, making it easier to fall asleep and making your sleep more refreshing. Even by taking just 150 minutes of exercise every week, you can enjoy the benefits of improved sleep quality, though it is important not to exercise too late in the day as you will need time to wind down after an exercise session before you go to bed.
Steer clear of alcohol and heavy meals
When you eat a large meal or drink alcohol, the result can be indigestion, and this may make it harder for you to fall asleep, breaking up your sleep cycle. If you are struggling to sleep, then try to plan how your meals are arranged and eat at least a couple of hours ahead of your bedtime. It is also important to keep late meals light and limit alcohol to boost sleep quality.
There is no doubt that getting a good night’s sleep can help to improve the sharpness of your mind, and by trying out these ideas, you may find that your sleep quality and your mental acuity increase significantly.