With the quarantine completely upsetting our daily routine, we must find ways to stay on track and practise healthy living habits. At this point, I think everyone has realized that despite everything, our health is our utmost priority. And do not worry, it is still not too late to make changes. The going is slow, but you will always get there if you put in the effort. After going through several health blogs and research papers, and even trying out some tips and tricks to attain a good sleep schedule, I have come to a conclusive argument.
There is no master trick to attaining a proper sleep schedule. Different styles suit different people, and no one-trick can magically cure your wrecked sleep patterns. Even something as simple as a sleep schedule can be challenging to maintain in this era of the rat race. So we have compiled a list of various tips and tricks that different doctors, bloggers and specialists have sworn by and have either affirmed them or debunked them.
Monitor your daily habits.
A lot about your sleep habits is a direct result of the daily habits you have. When do you wake up? What is your routine? Does it have enough exercise in it? What is the diet you are maintaining? Do you take frequent naps? Do you drink coffee regularly? All these factors play a significant role in when you go to sleep at night, how much time it takes you to fall asleep, and what you are doing wrong.
We went digging around this theory, and it is right. A lot of your morning activities can have a deciding role to play in your sleep cycles. For example, if you drink lots of coffee, the caffeine is enough to keep you overtly active and then a massive crash at the end, leaving your body worn out and exhausted. Taking many naps in the afternoon right after lunch affects digestion and pushes back your sleeping time to later in the night.
If you don’t sleep in 20 minutes, get out of bed.
Sometimes your sleep can betray you. It could be that extra cup of coffee you didn’t mean to have in the evening. Or those three naps you took in the afternoon because you were bored. Whatever the reason is, often, when your body doesn’t have a fixed timing set for sleep, it tends to forget to sleep during the times it has to. You need to trick your body into sleeping at this time.
This theory is both correct and wrong. Yes, if you haven’t been able to sleep for 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and do some activity which can tire you. However, you cannot do this all the time. The first day you are trying to set a sleep timing, tire yourself out. Even if you sleep late, don’t fret. Wake up before nine am the next day and do your routine. Take a maximum of two cups of coffee throughout the day and do not sleep at all. Your body will be exhausted by the end of the day, and you’ll be out like a light.
Also read: How to spend time at home during Quarantine
Create an ambience that caters to you.
The above is a verified theory and a good one at that. Usually, your body does want to sleep, but the surrounding conditions don’t allow you to. So you must create an ambience that caters to your need to fall asleep. Usually, a bedroom that is comfortable enough to fall asleep in has the following aspects. One, it is cold. A temperature of about 18 to 20 degrees centigrade is perfect for inducing to sleep—next, no heavy curtains.
Heavy curtains have a very ominous feel to them, keeping your heartbeat on the rise at times. Opt for light-coloured curtains, but hang a bed sheet on the railing to not let light get in. Trust me, it works. Choose a pillow that you’re most comfortable with, that your neck can’t protest. Choose a soft bedsheet that doesn’t warm you up too much and make sure your mattress doesn’t have any lumps in it that can poke you in the back while sleeping.
Other elements of the bedroom, while not directly related to sleep, can help to create a more calming and relaxing environment. When renovating, UK retailer Carpet Warehouse recommend using muted colour tones on bedroom walls, tuning down the usage of electronics (or removing them entirely from the bedroom if possible), and opting for a super soft, saxony pile carpet that your feet can sink into.
Establish a soothing routine before you sleep.
Our body is very good at tantrums. You need to trick it into enjoying something not enjoyable. One of them being a healthy sleep pattern. So to fool your mind into falling asleep, you can use the oldest tricks of the trade – associating it with an activity before. If you spend a few days, following a reasonably mundane but soothing routine right before you go and fall asleep, soon whenever you begin this routine, your body prepares to sleep. So even if you haven’t slept properly or have slept too much, mimicking this activity can induce sleep in the person.
After some research, we can conclude that this is conditional. It depends entirely on the brain’s response to the activity. If the exercise invigorates you, like washing your face or watching a video or playing a game, it will not help you in falling asleep. Instead, you spend some time reading something or performing a skincare routine on your face. Another suggestion is to play some tranquil and soft music, either lo-fi hip hop or nature sounds. But remember to turn it off when you’re close to falling asleep.
Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Exercising releases endorphins, feel-good hormones in the body which leaves our mood for the better. And if done with a sufficient margin for your last meal of the day and then sleep, it can tire you out enough to crash into bed immediately.
It is important that along with having an active exercise regime, you also have a healthy diet. Exercise in a way that makes you sweat, that is, perform more cardio than weight lifting. The point is to grow tired in every muscle of your body so that they seek adequate rest. As for the healthy diet, raw vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers are very good. Strictly avoid heavy foods, they just make you sluggish and sleepy and tired but not sleepy.
Let us know if you followed any of these suggestions and what effects it showed on you in the comments below. Stick in there, it takes a habit 21 days to completely manifest, and you have all the time in the world right now.