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Better Sleep- Six Scientifically Proven Tips

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Sleep is a natural action for all of us: all living creatures sleep, even fish.

If so, why do so many of us face sleep problems? Why can’t we fall asleep quickly? And more importantly, how can we, through changing simple habits, improve our sleep quality and gain better sleep?

Professor Matthew Walker, a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, presents six tips with a significant impact on the quality of our sleep that have been scientifically proven and are all worth adopting. His sleeping tips are healthy habits that each one of us can adopt to sleep well.


Before we expose the tips for good and uninterrupted sleep, it is essential to note that if you think you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or insomnia, these sleeping tips will not necessarily help you. In case of a diagnosed sleep apnea or insomnia, You will need first to treat the diagnosed sleep disorder before you can start improving the quality of your sleep. So, if you think you have a sleep disorder, the best tip is to speak with your doctor.


How could we try to improve both the quantity and the quality of our sleep?

Here are six scientifically grounded sleeping tips for better sleep by Professor Matthew Walker:

REGULARITY

Go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day. Regularity will anchor your sleep and improve both quantity and quality. The reason is that deep within your brain, you have a master 24-hour clock that expects regularity and works best under normal conditions. So try to go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. Your body clock will get used to the routine, and it will help convey to the brain the message: “We need to sleep now.”

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TEMPERATURE

Keep it cool.

It turns out that your brain and body need to drop their core temperature by about one degree Celsius or around 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit to fall asleep and then stay asleep. This is why you always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that is too cold than too warm. Therefore, the current recommendation is to aim for a bedroom temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit or a little over 18 degrees Celsius. It sounds cool, but cool it should be.

Your body’s temperature decreases during sleep and a cool but not cold room will help you settle into and maintain sleep throughout the night.

Darkness helps make you fall asleep
Darkness helps make you fall asleep.

DARKNESS

We are a dark-deprived society, and we need darkness specifically in the evening to trigger the release of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin helps regulate a healthy sleep schedule. In the last hour before bed, try to stay away from all of those computer screens, tablets, and phones. Dim down half the light in your house. You’d be surprised at how sleepy that can make you feel. Wearing an eye mask can also contribute to making you fall asleep. You can have blackout shades, which will help best regulate that critical sleep hormone of melatonin. Consider your bedroom a cave at night when you lie down to sleep. Cover windows with blinds or curtains to avoid streetlights or sunlight from entering your room.

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WALK IT OUT

The bed is for sleeping. Do not stay in bed awake for an extended period. If you have been trying to fall asleep and it’s been 25 minutes or so, or you’ve woken up, and you can’t get back to sleep after 25 minutes, the recommendation is, and that might sound weird, to get out of bed and go and do something different. The reason is that your brain is an incredibly associative device. The brain learns the association that the bed triggers wakefulness, and we need to break that association. So when you are getting out of bed, do something else and return to bed only when you are sleepy. In that way, gradually, your brain will relearn the association between your bed and consistent good sleep.

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MONITOR ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE

Caffeine is a type of drug that promotes alertness. Caffeine acts as an “adenosine receptor antagonist.” Adenosine is a substance in your body that promotes sleepiness. It blocks the adenosine receptor to keep you from feeling sleepy.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow down. In addition, alcohol has sedative effects that can activate feelings of relaxation and sleepiness, but alcohol consumption – especially in excess – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.

Try to stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and the evening and try not to bed drunk.

alcohol – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.
Alcohol – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.

WIND-DOWN ROUTINE

Many of us in the modern world think that sleep is like a light switch and expect to dive into bed at night, switch off the light, and immediately fall asleep. Unfortunately, sleep is not quite like that for most of us. It takes time for your brain to descend onto the firm bedrock of good sleep gradually. In the last 20 minutes or half an hour before bed, even the last hour, disengage from your computer and phone and try to do something relaxing such as reading, listening to calm music. Find out whatever works for you, and when you have found it, stick to that routine.

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Sleep is a life support system. Lack of sleep tremendously affects your life. Lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy and affects your memory, health, looks, and even ability to lose weight. So first, try Professor Matthew Walker’s excellent sleeping tips. Then, try to make those desired changes that lead to a massive improvement in sleep quality in particular and life in general.

Huge improvement in sleep quality
Huge improvement in sleep quality

 

 

 

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