Sleeping well is one of the most important things for your health and well-being. Adequate sleep gives our body time to recover from the stress of the previous day, recharges the batteries, and helps us stay alert and focused throughout the day ahead. Maybe you are one of those people who find sleep quickly but still have difficulty getting a full night’s sleep (you turn, turn, wake, get up, etc.). Here are a few tips that can help you change certain habits to have a more regenerative sleep because it is not the duration that counts, but the quality!
1- Practicing physical exercise
Sleep rhythm is closely linked to physical exercise; any change in one will impact another’s level. If you work in a sedentary way, the lack of physical exercise can affect your sleep quality. The most recurring question is when the best time to be physically active is? The ideal is to have a sporting activity during the day, but many of us prefer to do sports at the end of the day, mainly because we work, and yes! If there is no contraindication to that, it is necessary to avoid having a sporting activity 3 hours before going to bed, especially if it is an exhilarating sport! For example, I tested Muay Thai classes at 9 pm, and clearly, I advise you against it! I never managed to fall asleep before midnight afterward.
2- Quit smoking
In addition to being harmful to our body and health, smoking is responsible for many sleep disorders. Far from promoting falling asleep, smoking will, on the contrary, keep the body in a state of waiting and lack, which will considerably disturb sleep. Even if some people feel that smoking one last cigarette allows you to relax and feel soothed before going to sleep, it is indeed a bad idea! Indeed, nicotine, an exciting substance, will accelerate the heart rate and increase blood pressure. So you will have understood that smoking and sleep do not mix!
3- Equipping yourself with quality equipment
If we consider sleeping 8 hours every night, we spend a third of our life in bed, which is reason enough to consider buying bedding worthy of the name! You do not sleep well? Maybe it’s partly because of your equipment. A study by the University Hospital of Montpellier (the leading establishment in this field) determined that new bedding would generate up to 53 minutes of additional restorative sleep! So, are you asking the right questions? Is my mattress too hard or too soft? Is it adapted to my morphology or not? Isn’t it too old knowing that it is recommended to change it about every ten years? It will then be essential to call in a specialist and not cut back on its quality.
The choice of the pillow is also essential for the quality of sleep. Several criteria are to be taken into account on this point, notably concerning the range (natural vs. synthetic filling, a bit like down jackets), shape, and firmness. Your cushion’s softness or hardness depends above all on your preferences and the position in which you like to sleep. In case of back pain, it may be necessary to change your habits.
4- Preparing your room for sleep
The bedroom is undoubtedly the essential room in our home for various reasons. Therefore, it is essential to conceive of it as a place conducive to relaxation and sleep. Thus, it should be used exclusively for sleeping so that your body gets used to a transition between the time of any other activity (television, computer, telephone, eating, etc.) and sleep. As you have understood, everything that is stressful or occupies our mind must be banished, except sex and leisure reading.
5- Balanced dinner
We all know the maxim “Avoid eating too fast, too sweet, too salty”; it applies in part to sleep. Ideally, you should eat at least three hours before going to sleep because it is better to have started your digestion at that time; the full stomach activity considerably disturbs sleep. However, beware, on the other hand, a too empty stomach has the same effect; there is a happy medium to be found on this point!
6- Sleeping at regular hours
This is probably the most important strategy you can put in place to increase your sleep quality: being in tune with your body’s natural rhythm. Keeping the same bedtime and wake-up times every day of the week helps your body’s natural clock optimize your sleep quality. Make a test to determine your optimal bedtime: choose a schedule at which you usually feel tired so that you do not have trouble falling asleep; usually your body will wake up naturally when it has received enough sleep. If you need an alarm to wake you up, you should go to bed earlier!
7- Getting enough sleep
According to the barometer of Public Health France (SPF), the average sleep time in France (including weekends) is 19 minutes less than the ideal time (an average of 7h14 of daily sleep). Even if 7 hours of sleep is the minimum recommended by the health authorities, 8 hours of sleep would seem to be the most suitable sleep time. It is essential to keep in mind that not getting enough sleep does not necessarily mean not getting enough sleep because each person is different. We are all unequal when it comes to sleep needs. As a general rule, the ideal time is the one that gives us an optimal state of alertness.
8- Sleeping in the dark
According to Dr. Lisa Charles, a sleep specialist, “Light is the perfect excuse for your brain to stay awake. So any light source in our room passes through our eyelids and retina, sending a signal to the part of our brain controlling sleep that it is not time yet. Basically, the darker the room, the deeper we sleep. It is also important not to sleep in a too hot room. The temperature should be between 18 degrees and 19 degrees, which will help regulate the body temperature and bring it closer to its natural cycle (the body temperature is lower in the evening and higher in the morning). This will promote falling asleep.