Have you ever found yourself stressing over your sub-optimal sleep habits, but without a clue as to how to fix it? The quality of your sleep wields a great deal of influence over your body composition. If you’re looking to rectify your less-than-desirable trip to Snoozeville, then here are 10 ways for you to reacquaint yourself with the Sandman!
1. Incorporate more protein into breakfast
Consuming more protein for your first meal of the day can improve hormonal balance, which begets a more productive day. Research has also shown a positive correlation between eating protein-rich foods for breakfast and a more restful night of sleep. So, if you’ve been struggling to enjoy a good night’s rest, then consuming more food like eggs and nuts in the morning may help you in this respect!
2. Expose yourself to bright light in the morning
Light is the primary regulator of your internal clock, so getting exposure to bright light for at least 30 to 60 minutes every morning will help improve your circadian rhythm and sleeping pattern. So, instead of pulling the covers over your head upon waking, let the light in!
3. Socialise more during the day
According to research, our circadian rhythms are also influenced by our socialisation with other individuals during the day. Similar to how staying up late to party can affect our circadian clocks, a lack of socialisation during the day can adversely affect your body’s clock too. For a better sleeping pattern, you should endeavour to maximise interactions with others during the day while minimising social excitement at night.
4. Exercise and workout
To improve your circadian rhythm and hormone balance, you can try engaging in strength and interval training. Aside from improving your mood and decreasing stress levels, there is also scientific evidence which reveals that exercise can help with “resetting” your body’s sleep clock.
5. Don’t go overboard with your exercise
At the same time, too much exercise can result in excessive pain in the muscles and an undesired increase in hormones such as cortisol, all of which will inhibit sleep. To avoid this, try to keep workouts to an hour daily and ensure that your body is able to recover fully after each workout before embarking on the next one.
6. Watch your diet
While limiting the amount of carbohydrates that you consume is usually beneficial, having too little can also negatively affect thyroid function, since thyroid hormones are activated by glucose. Additionally, staving off fat will affect the amount of cholesterol in your body, thereby limiting the amount of steroid hormones produced. As usual, everything must be done in moderation to improve your sleeping pattern — too much or too little of either macronutrient could tip the scale unfavourably instead.
7. Have an eating schedule
Meal timing is a heavy influencer of sleeping patterns. This means that you should avoid skipping meals or having your meals at unregulated times of the day, as this can increase cortisol and influence other hormones meant to suppress appetite. Instead, draw up an eating schedule and stick to it.
8. Avoid late-night eating
Eating late at night can raise your insulin levels, which subsequently affects the hormones that would otherwise allow you to enjoy a good night’s rest. If you’re feeling hunger pangs at night, drink more water as a substitute instead.
9. Engage in good sleeping practices
Aside from following a sleep regimen where you sleep and wake up at the same time daily, you should also avoid exposure to blue light before going to bed and always sleep in the darkness. Many of us who are self-proclaimed sufferers of nyctophobia may find this a challenge, but if it means conquering bad sleeping patterns, then it’s definitely worth a shot!
10. Sleep in cool temperatures
Science has shown that engaging in activities in a cold environment during the day while sleeping in warm temperatures at night can negatively affect your sleeping pattern. Instead, make the conscious decision to turn off the air-conditioner during the day and reserve it for night-time use instead.
Conquering a bad sleeping pattern is particularly formidable, especially considering how hectic life can be these days. But with enough persistence and effort, improving the quality of your sleep can be done, perhaps even with your eyes closed in time to come!