Sleeping is a fundamental aspect and practice in our lives, which allows us to live healthy, rest, stay energetic, perform at our best in our day to day and maintain a positive state of mind.
However, there are many people who suffer from sleep problems, such as insomnia (the most frequent sleep disorder), recurrent awakenings or non-restful sleep. But … how to sleep soundly? In this article, we will see different sleep hygiene guidelines that can help you rest better.
How to sleep soundly: 9 key ideas
Sleep soundly, probably what we all want. There are people who are very easy for it, and others who are not (it also depends a lot on the time we are living in); This is a problem because of the consequences of not getting enough rest to wear down both the health and the psychological skills that we use every day.
Sleep hygiene is a concept that encompasses all those measures aimed at making it easier for us to fall asleep and sleep better at night (more deeply and in a restorative way).
So how do you sleep soundly? Here you will find several very useful sleep hygiene guidelines. As you will see, they are focused above all on better falling asleep naturally, which is related to deeper and more restful rest.
Exercise is one of the measures that are part of sleep hygiene techniques. Practicing exercise improves health, and it can also help you sleep more soundly. A key idea in this regard is to practice an exercise routine every day in the middle of the afternoon.
Exercises can vary from person to person (in terms of intensity, difficulty, and types of exercises), depending on their physical condition and age. The important thing here is to establish a daily exercise routine that tires our body and that facilitates a more restful sleep at night.
Surely it has happened to you, the fact of spending a lot of time “doing nothing” (in sports), and feeling inactive, without being fit. And in these times, surely it has cost you more sleep (especially if you already had sleep problems). Instead, when we activate, our rest improves.
On the other hand, note at this point that exercise can not be very close to bedtime (better than before 20:00), and that it should not be excessively intense (because an overactivation would make it difficult for you to sleep and be able to relax. ).
Many people who have insomnia, or who do not rest well, tend to get up repeatedly at night; either because they are sleepless and do not want to be in bed, or because (and this is much more frequent) they have to go to the bathroom.
That is why, the second key idea about how to sleep soundly that we propose is to avoid the consumption of liquids, at least two hours before going to bed. This will help you not feel like going to the bathroom and will prevent you from getting up at night.
3. Avoid hearty dinners
Another key idea about how to sleep soundly is directly related to food, especially dinner.
If we eat very heavy (copious) and high calorie and fat meals, it is likely that our digestive system has more difficulty digesting all this food, which in turn can make you feel discomfort at night and you clear yourself. In this sense, we suggest that you opt for light dinners (for example, a salad with grilled fish), which will facilitate your digestion and can help you sleep better.
4. Avoid consuming caffeine
Caffeine is a substance that belongs to the group of xanthines, which wakes us up and activates us. Consuming it during the first half of the day does not have to cause us problems at night, but after approximately 18:00 in the afternoon, we recommend that you do not consume this substance.
On the other hand, there are people who notice the effects of caffeine more (and that these last longer), so if this is your case, the idea is that you do not take this substance, or that you try to reduce its consumption to the maximum. And, in case you take it, better in the morning.
The effect of caffeine (which is also found in other drinks beyond coffee, such as some energy drinks) is antagonistic to the effect we need when we want to relax and fall asleep, so stopping it can help you sleep better (and more deeply).
Another tip on how to sleep soundly is to stop consuming alcohol (or reduce your consumption to the maximum), since this substance is also closely related to the appearance of disturbances during sleep (difficulty falling asleep, fragmented and non-restorative sleep, etc.).
In the end, let’s think that everything we give to our body, which is “artificial”, will alter our natural functioning, which directly affects our quality of sleep.
6. Relax before going to sleep (techniques)
If your body is relaxed just before going to sleep, sleep latency (the time it takes you to fall asleep) is more likely to decrease, and your sleep is more deep and restful.
Logically, you can sleep relaxed and wake up during the night, or do it and not sleep well (there are people and circumstances of all kinds), but promoting relaxation when you go to bed, along with other factors, can really help you sleep better. In this sense, there are several techniques that can help you relax :
Take a warm bath before going to bed (it will relax your muscles if they are sore).
Put on relaxing music.
Practice gentle yoga.
Practice diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing.
This strategy, which is also part of the basic measures of sleep hygiene, consists of promoting that our brain uses only the bed to sleep, through using it only for this use (that is, avoiding eating in it, watching movies in them, work, do homework, etc.).
This key idea about how to sleep soundly will help you do just that, to sleep better since your brain will more quickly associate bed with sleep and a state of relaxation. It is a mechanism based on classical conditioning (association of environmental stimuli and physiological responses).
8. Keep your room ventilated and with adequate temperature
It is a reality, the fact that heat can inhibit sleep. That is why it is recommended that you always keep the room ventilated, cool and with an adequate temperature. You must feel comfortable and calm in it so that your body relaxes and associates these environmental conditions with sleep. Thus, all this configures another measure that can facilitate a good rest.
Finally, another guideline on how to sleep soundly has to do with controlling your thoughts. Many people, when they go to bed, tend to systematically review everything they have done during the day or everything they have to do tomorrow.
They may also be thinking about past, present and future worries, or other types of thoughts that only generate anxiety and discomfort, and that makes it very difficult to fall asleep (which, in turn, can also harm a deep and restful sleep, although not always).
In these cases, we must learn to control our mind (arduous task!), Through the practice of the following technique: simply let your thoughts flow, do not repress them but do not stop or turn them around.
Here you can also apply, in a complementary way, breathing techniques and visualization of pleasant images, to help you connect the focus on something else and relax.
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