1. Bask in the Sunlight
Your body is like a well-oiled machine. Your circadian rhythm is the clock that keeps all of the different systems in working order. More specifically, it lets your body know when it’s time to start winding down for bed. The circadian rhythm was incredibly effective centuries ago, but the more we spend indoors and in front of screens the less efficient it becomes.
The good news is that you can help reprogram and boost your circadian rhythm with a little bit of sunshine. The ultraviolet light we experience outdoors stimulates the body’s production of vitamin D. This powerful nutrient helps the body in many different ways. For example, it’s known to alleviate depression and lower blood pressure levels. It also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which helps greatly improve sleep quality.
Of course, not everyone can spend an hour or two in the sunlight every day. Investing in a simulated sun lamp is a viable alternative. You can place one or two of these lamps inside your home and the light they produce will help stimulate vitamin D production.
2. Don’t Bask in the Blue Light
Sunlight isn’t the only type of light that can have unusual effects on the body. And, unfortunately, not all types of light are beneficial to your health or your circadian rhythm. The artificial light produced by phones, tablets, and computers is a great example of this. Nighttime exposure to this type of “blue light” will ultimately hurt your sleep schedule and quality.
The problem with artificial light is that some systems in the body cannot tell the difference. The brain believes it is still daytime and lowers your production of melatonin. Melatonin is an important chemical that helps you unwind and go to sleep each night. Without it, you can begin to experience symptoms of insomnia and other related sleep disorders.
3. Avoid the Late Night Coffee
It’s understood that caffeine can have numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation and at the right times. It provides a boost to energy, focus, and performance. However, this “miracle drug” can become quite problematic if you’re consuming it later in the day. It prevents the brain from producing necessary chemicals that promote quality sleep.
You can do some simple math to determine the best “cut-off time” for coffee, soda, and other products that contain caffeine. On average, the stimulating effect of caffeine will last up to 6 hours. If you want to avoid it affecting your sleep schedule, then your cut-off time should be at least 6 hours before the time you normally go to bed. If you’re a night owl who goes to sleep at midnight, then the cut-off time would be 6 pm.
4. Limit Beverage Consumption Before Trying to Sleep
More than 10 million people in the United States are diagnosed with Nocturia and it’s estimated that it affects at least 40 million more people who are not diagnosed. Nocturia is a condition where patients need to wake up and frequently urinate during the night. It’s considered one of the most problematic bladder conditions and also one of the most common.
If you drink plenty of liquids in the 1 to 2-hour period before going to sleep, then you’re likely to experience symptoms very similar to nocturia. Experts advise hydrating up to 2 hours before sleep and then eliminating fluids until the next day. It’s also helpful to make one last trip to the bathroom before bedtime. With these steps combined, you are less likely to wake up to urinate during the night, thus providing you with a full, uninterrupted rest period.
5. Limit Sugars and Booze
Caffeine isn’t the only addictive substance that can severely impact your sleep quality. Sugar and alcohol are both problematic substances that can form addictions and ruin your chances for a good night’s sleep. Alcohol, in particular, is linked to conditions like insomnia, sleep apnea, and other similar conditions that affect sleep quality.
Sugar isn’t quite as harmful as alcohol, but it can still have a negative impact on your sleep quality. Studies have shown that people who consume high-sugar diets are more likely to have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep. Eating too much sugar caused blood glucose levels to rise, which causes a spike in energy levels that make it difficult to fall asleep. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some sugar or alcohol during the day but moderation is essential.
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