Sleep is what makes your body stronger and more prepared to get through the rest of the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to fall ill. Lack of sleep can also have a negative impact on your mental health.
The fact that lack of sleep is bad for your health is something we already know. Most of us associate good sleep with increasing the number of sleeping hours. This is not necessarily what we need to do. What we need to do is to sleep better than we did before. A good night’s sleep is when you feel fresh and ready for the next day.
Quality Sleep And How To Get It
We can learn how to improve the quality of your sleep so that you can sleep less and get enough sleep despite that. Getting 8 hours of sleep is more of a guideline rather than a rule. This is why you will find people who sleep for 4 hours and still manage to function properly and those who get just 5-6 hours of sleep every night and suffer. You should aim to be deep asleep between 2 AM to 4 AM as this is the time when your body really needs the sleep.
Ideally, you should fall asleep during the hours between 8 PM and 12 AM. This is the time when your body’s natural clock acknowledges that it needs to sleep. Your body is more accustomed to waking up once the sun rises which is why it is easier to wake up at 6 AM or 6:30 AM when the sunlight pours into your bedroom window room rather than 5 AM when there is no natural sunlight. So, for those 8 full hours of sleep, you should be asleep by 10 PM and wake up at 6 AM.
How To Adjust Your Sleep Cycles
- Let’s say you are looking to wake up earlier than you normally do. You don’t have to do a lot to adjust yourself. If you are used to waking up at 7 AM and need to start waking up at 6 AM in order to get to work on time, you can set an alarm for 6:45 AM and wake up at that time for 2-3 days. After this, you can adjust the alarm clock for 6:30 AM and wake up then. Similarly, work your way with these 15-minute increments until you start waking up at 6 AM. If you need to make the change faster, you can do the same in 20 or 30-minute increments.
- If you are trying to go to bed early and find that you are unable to do this after getting back late from work, you could try to switch up your routine and slow down your nights for a peaceful bedtime. After you get free from work, let’s say at 9:30 PM, wind down and do whatever you like doing for the next half an hour - say, replying to emails/messages, reading a book, watching TV, talking to your loved ones, etc. If you haven’t eaten your dinner yet, have it immediately. You should ideally have your dinner much earlier so try having a light dinner in the office before you leave. If you feel hungry after getting back, have a nice sprout salad with tomatoes and cucumber or some hot dal with ghee. After this, at 10 PM you could do a simple skin care routine by washing your face and applying a generous amount of moisturiser, under-eye and lip balm. Then, wind down by either listening to music, reading a book or spending some alone time with your spouse. By 11 PM you should be asleep and up by 5 AM or whenever you need to wake up for work again.
- Your morning routines should also be relaxing like the nighttime routine mentioned in the previous point but at the same time, the routine should also be refreshing. You can start by drinking a glass of warm lemon water mixed with a tsp of raw honey. Take your time and sip it slowly. Preferably, seat yourself near a window or in the balcony while you sip this. You could also drink green tea if you prefer that over lemon water. Both of them help cleanse your digestive system as well as to relax you and freshen you up. You can then proceed to do a few stretches and start your day.
- Make it a habit to exercise either in the mornings or the early afternoon times. This will help you sleep better at night. You will fall asleep faster and are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night. Avoid exercising late in the evening however as this is known to actually disrupt your sleep.
- Drink enough water throughout the day. This will ensure that your body stays hydrated. You should drink 2 glasses of water an hour or two before going to bed. Any later would cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to pee. Drink water first thing when you wake up to rehydrate your body.