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How to Get the Perfect Night’s Sleep

Having a bad night’s sleep can be both physically and emotionally draining and we all know what that feels like! Studies have shown that sleep deprivation costs significant work productivity, as it is impossible to stay alert, focus on tasks, make good decisions, and maintain a positive mood when operating on little or poor quality sleep.

We are all constantly scrambling around in an attempt to meet the demands of the modern world, and in the process our sleep is usually the first thing to be sacrificed. The truth is we need to start making changes to our sleep pattern otherwise we will wind up with chronic fatigue and an unhealthy attitude…and that’s certainly not going to impress the boss (or anyone else for that matter).

How much sleep is enough I hear you cry… Well an average healthy adult needs around 8 hours sleep a day, but this can differ slightly from person to person. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not just about how much sleep you get, but the quality of that sleep as well.

What’s the Secret?

So you wanna know the secret to getting the perfect night’s sleep? The truth is there really isn’t some great kept secret, it’s all about experimenting and finding out what works best for you. We are all unique after all, so what might work for one person may not necessarily work for the next. With that being said, there are some proven strategies you can play around with and if you make the effort, you’ll be sound asleep in no time at all!

Regular Schedule

Most people are completely out of sync with their body’s natural sleep-wake-cycle, without even knowing it. Getting this circadian rhythm back to a healthy functioning is essential and most importantly the first step to correcting any sleep problems you may have been experiencing. Keeping regular times for going to sleep and waking up each day will help you to feel more energized and refreshed. It’s all about consistency!

Boost Melatonin Production

Melatonin is one of our body’s naturally occurring hormones that helps to regulate and control our sleep-wake-cycle. As melatonin is controlled by light exposure, it is naturally supposed to secrete more during the evening time, thus making you sleepy. Many aspects of modern life affect our melatonin production, such as too little light exposure during the daytime and too much exposure during the night.

Increase Light Exposure During the Daytime

  • Avoid wearing sunglasses for excess periods of time.
  • Let as much light into your home or workspace as possible.
  • Get out in the sunlight more!
  • If necessary use a light therapy box.

Decrease Light Exposure During the Night Time

  • Turn off your computer or TV.
  • Use low watt bulbs.
  • Don’t use backlit devices for reading.
  • Keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
  • Use a flashlight when going to the toilet during the night.

Exercise

Exercise has so many health benefits, including a good night’s sleep. Even as little as 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you to reap the benefits, and this can include talking a brisk walk, a spot of gardening, or even housework . Whatever exercise activity you decide is right for you just ensure you carry it out in the morning or afternoon rather than the evening, as vigorous exercise leading up to bed time can actually worsen sleep.

Fancy a Snack…

Although the general rule is to avoid big meals right before bedtime, studies are now showing evidence that a little snack can actually help you rest easy. When you team carbohydrates with tryptophan containing foods, it helps to calm brain activity and promote better quality sleep. Some of the best foods to snack out on before bed include;

  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola
  • Whole Grain Cereal
  • Whole Wheat Bread

Cut It Out!

What you put into your body can play a huge role in how well you sleep. Alcohol and caffeine are two of the worst offenders for affecting our sleep quality, which is why we need to avoid them at all costs. Some people are under the impression that a quick nightcap before bed can actually help you sleep, and while it may help send you off to sleep faster, it will most likely cause you to wake up later in the evening. Caffeine on the other hand can be problematic for sleep up to twelve hours after drinking it, so that means no more lattes and mochas after lunchtime!

Another offender that people don’t tend to know about is smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant, which is disruptive for sleep, and smokers can also suffer from withdrawal symptoms during the night. If you want to enhance your sleep just cut it out! You’ll feel a lot better for it.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Keeping yourself awake due to worrying about things that are out of your control is extremely detrimental to your sleep and overall health. It may sound cliché, but even counting sheep is more productive than worrying! Residual stress, anger, and worry may also be preventing you from sleeping too, which is why it is essential you learn how to positively manage your thoughts.

Some excellent relaxation techniques which will help promote calmness and positivity include;

  • Slow deep breathing.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Visualization of a peaceful and restful place.

Written by admin

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