8 tips for healthy sleep

03.02.2022 16:28

 

Lots of Daylight will do you good  

 

Our body has its own internal clock, that impacts our brain, hormonal balance, and our sleep-wake cycle. Natural daylight supports this, and this will also have an impact on energy levels and sleep quality. Sunlight is healthy! A study has shown that the time it takes to fall asleep was reduced by over 80% in people with insomnia if they had been exposed to bright sunlight during the day. [1] A good alternative – particularly in the winter months – are sun lamps and sun lightbulbs. It is also recommended to use dimmed or warm light, particularly in your bedroom 

 

Avoid Blue light in the evening 

 

It is normal to catch up on some emails or watch a film during the evenings. However, by doing this we expose our eyes to so-called blue light. Electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers or TV screens emit lots of this type of light. Blue light slows the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, the body uses to begin to relax and to help sleep. [2] Without this, our body will be missing the signal it needs to become tired. The easiest and most effective way to reduce blue light is to stop using your devices around 2 hours before bed. If you don’t want to give up your film evenings or your time on your phone, you can buy ‘blue light’ glasses or you can install ‘night light’ apps on your devices. Many smartphones and laptops also contain automatic blue light filters, or night/ black and white modes.  

 

No alcoholic or caffeine drinks in the evenings 

 

Alcohol does not only have a negative impact on our ability to concentrate and other body functions, but also a negative influence on our hormonal balance and slows the production of melatonin. [3] Caffeine should also only be consumed in small doses as it gets later on in the day. While its stimulation of the nervous system and the increased energy levels it provides is sought after during the day, at night this can make it more difficult to sleep.  Caffeine can remain in our bloodstream for up to 8 hours after consumption. If you drink high amounts of caffeine in the afternoon or evening, you run the risk of struggling to get to sleep or being kept awake throughout the night.  

 

Don’t take unregulated or long Naps during the day  

 

Sometimes, tiredness can overwhelm us – even in the middle of the day. Eyes get heavier and heavier, and concentration becomes almost impossible. A midday nap can work a like a charm here, and afterwards lead to increased concentration levels. [5] However, these also need to be controlled. Naps that are unregulated or too long, especially late in the afternoon, can mess with our internal clock, or lead to sleep disorders. The perfect length of a nap depends on the individual, but 10 to 30 minutes is often thought to be sufficient, as per many studies. [6] 

 

Setting Your Internal Clock 

 

In order to support our internal clock and a restful sleep, your sleep-wake cycle should be routine. [7] That means, that you should also wake up early on weekends. Contrary to the belief that a lie-in can make up for the sleep deficit that occurs from a work week, it can do the body more harm than good. If you go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time, then your body clock gets set automatically. Your body will adapt to this rhythm, so that falling asleep and getting up become easier. Sleep duration required often depends on the individual and is often more about the quality than the quantity.  

 

Don’t Eat Too Late

 

Going to bed on a full stomach can also inhibit the release of melatonin and lead to poorer quality of sleep overall as the body is busy digesting food. Eating at least three to four hours before going to bed or opting for a lighter diet is often recommended. [8] 

 

Create Evening Routines 

 

Evening routines help your body to ‘get ready’ to go to bed. Whether it’s relaxing yoga exercises, a warm shower or bath, a ‘tea ceremony’ or an evening reading hour, these can all be activities that can be used to help the body prepare. It is not as much a question of which technique is used, these choices are as individual as we are, but rather consciously taking the time to switch off.  

 

Take Melatonin 

 

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body, that is responsible for its natural daily rhythm. Light, as mentioned above, inhibits the production of melatonin, which is why the time of year can also influence our rhythm. In autumn and winter, the long periods of darkness cause melatonin production to be increased. Fatigue, sleep disturbances or even winter depression can be the result. For people with persistent sleep disorders or an imbalanced sleep-wake cycle, melatonin supplements are an effective way to help the body calm down and have a more intense sleep. [10] Older people also often have decreased melatonin production. Sleep duration decreases, and sleep slowly becomes more restless. Melatonin can also be useful when working shifts or travelling between different time zones, as it can reduce sleep disturbances or jet lag, and help our body return to a normal rhythm. [11] Melatonin is available in the form of capsules, or in our new spray format – so that you are well prepared when travelling!  

 

If you follow a few, or even all these tips, will see their sleep quality improve. However, it is true that this change will not happen overnight. You should give your body time to gradually get used to these changes.  

 

Sources
[1] https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1993.tb06179.x 
[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21552190/ 
[3] https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/77/3/780/2649845?redirectedFrom=fulltext 
[4] https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/10.5664/jcsm.3170 
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335868/ 
[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17053484/ 
[7] https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/85-93.htm 
[8] https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/105/8/2789/5855227 
[9] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1087079217300485?via%3Dihub 
[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18036082/ 
[11] https://www.medwave.cl/link.cgi/English/Updates/Epistemonikos/6344.act 

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