Sleep, like breathing, is a biological rhythm that is actively generated by the brain. Your habits contribute to setting the rhythm that regulates your sleep.
You can shape your habits to include behaviors that promote your sleep. If a never-ending train of thoughts and emotions is keeping you up at night, you can work on reducing this hyperactive state. This will help you fall asleep faster and reduce nocturnal awakenings.
Behaviors of impact
There are behaviors that help resetting your sleep rhythm. Start building sleep- friendly behaviors by focusing on these habits:
- Schedule: Our body’s need for sleep is impacted by when we wake up and go to bed. By keeping a consistent schedule, our body learns to recognize times to be active and times to be sleepy.
- Naps: The impact of naps varies on an individual basis. For some of us naps can help, but for others they don’t. If napping is desired, try to keep your naps shorter than 20 minutes. Short naps are great for reducing sleepiness and improving cognitive function, as they enhance learning and memory formation. The best time to take a nap is generally 7 hours after waking up. This is when most people reach their afternoon low point and experience a dip in energy. However, if you struggle to fall asleep at night, try to take naps before 2 pm. This is essential to avoid interferences with your overall sleep regulation.
- Exercise: Physical activity is not only good for the body, it can help us sleep better too. However, the time at which we exercise may have an impact on our sleep. If you like to work out in the evening, make sure to take some time to unwind between high physical activity and the time we go to bed. If you prefer exercising in the morning, you’ll get some extra energy to wake up but may experience a small energy dip later in the day.
- Hydration: Water is essential for our bodies and we need it at night too. Since we do not get notifications about our hydration levels, finding ways to help ourselves get enough water can be very helpful. Using our own water bottle is a simple trick to keep track of the water we drink.
- Nicotine: Nicotine is a stimulant which makes our brain alert. Going for a walk in the evening or chewing gum to substitute nicotine can lead to better sleep.
- Alcohol: Even though alcohol can make us feel sleepy, it interferes with our sleep quality at night. Mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages are a tasty substitute and are sleep-friendly.
- Caffeine: Consumption of caffeine does not only make us more alert, but also leads to slight dehydration. If you are a coffee lover, you can try drinking coffee before lunch and experimenting with alternative beverages in the afternoon.
- Clock: Removing visible clocks from your bedroom setting, can help us focus on our internal sleepiness.
- Devices: Our devices are fun as hell, however blue lights are a wake-up trigger for our brains and can interfere with our sleepiness. Going for non-visual content like podcasts or music in the evenings is a pro-tip.
- Bath: Baths are awesome and they can help us wind down. Trying a hot bath 2-3 hours before you want to go to bed is a must.