Sleep times vary among individuals due to multiple factors. Quality sleep, however, is of utmost essential to maintain a sound body and mind. Lack of sleep affects our mental health, heart, weight, and immune system. A healthy sleep pattern is needed to ensure we conduct our day-to-day affairs with full vigour. Shared below are five steps to improve sleep patterns.
1. Scheduling our sleep
One must maintain consistency about sleep and waking times. Usually, seven to eight hours of sleep per night is enough. Working professionals often use their weekends for parties and dinner or movie dates. They remain awake till late at night and wake up late the next morning. It negatively affects the body’s circadian rhythm or internal sleep-wake cycle.
2. Having dinner early
It is advisable to have dinner at least two hours before bedtime. Partially digested food might get regurgitated up the esophagus if one lies down shortly after having a meal. It is better to have lighter meals at night to prevent discomforts like heartburn.
3. Listening to soft music
Individuals can take up activities that put them into a restful state to induce sleep. One may listen to soft, rhythmic music. Classical tunes, especially Raga Nelambari in Indian classical music, can help one fall asleep. One can also listen to binaural beats, or two tones at slightly differing frequencies, which can relax the mind and prepare the brain for sleep.
4. Taking a bath
A warm bath before bedtime helps us sleep better. It initially raises our body temperature, which gets cooled once we finish our bath. This cooling process activates melatonin, a hormone released by the pineal gland, which promotes sleep. It is also why we feel drowsy during winter because of raised melatonin levels.
5. Using dim lights
Other than cold temperatures, Melatonin production rises in darkness. Hence it is advisable to replace bright lights with dim ones for at least an hour before bed to help our bodies prepare for sleep. Staring at the television or mobile phones is not recommended.