Few things affect our daily well-being and health as much as sleep. At the same time, almost everyone suffers from sleep problems at some point in their lives. But do not despair – even though sleep still hides many mysteries, some steps can be taken to improve the chances of better sleep. Here are five tips for better sleep.
A walk on the lunch break can play an important role in your night's sleep. Daylight is a key factor in regulating sleep habits. Sleep researcher Matthew Walker advocates being out in the sun for at least 3O minutes every day in his book Why we sleep - The new science of Sleep and Dreams. It is also possible to get a similar light exposure by turning on strong lamplight in the morning.
Regular sleeping habits have been shown to have significant benefits on sleep. According to the World Sleep Society, studies have demonstrated that stable bedtimes are connected and affect sleep quality, mood, and performance. A good tip for succeeding with regular sleep times is to not only set an alarm clock in the morning but also a "go to bed" alarm on your phone.
Give yourself time to unwind before going to sleep. Create a night routine stripped of activities and dedicate time for relaxation – perhaps in the form of reading a book, listening to podcasts or music. Lying under a weighted duvet or weighted blanket on the sofa is a great way to relax and unwind, as the pressure from the excessive weight has been described as a soft embrace. Try to avoid different types of screen activity in the last hour before bedtime. This is because it is easy to be attracted to activities that risk increasing brain activity, leading us to wind up instead of down.
A bedroom should primarily invite to sleep. Therefore, it may be good to avoid devices that signal activity, such as computers, desks, and cell phones. The bedroom should be calm, cool, quiet and without unnecessary distractions. A comfortable bed, duvet and pillow in suitable materials that accommodate your needs can also help in order to create an environment for better sleep.
Sleep researcher Christian Benedict suggests in Vetenskapens Värld, aired by the Swedish public service television company (SVT) that if you are awake and feel anxiety and worry when lying in bed, you should get up and leave the bedroom and do something that makes you calm and sleepy. Maybe go to a dimly lighted living room and listen to a podcast or music to distract and guide your thoughts away from what keeps you awake.
When you then feel sleepy again, it's time to return to the bedroom for another try. The brain is associative and can quickly learn that the bed is the starting point for negative thoughts and worries, which can be avoided by getting up.
Do you want more tips?
Read the World Sleep Society's ten steps for healthier sleep for adults, developed to improve sleep and health.
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