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Saleha Irfan, Senior Sub-Editor/Reporter
To function well during the day, it is important that we get a proper night’s sleep. Sleep experts have outlined some of these helpful habits for an uninterrupted rest.
1. Keep it dark
This one seems like a no-brainer. Darkness is key to regulating our biological clocks which is why we feel sleepy when the sun goes down. It is also why, if we wake up in the middle of the night, we go back to sleep almost immediately. For best results, use blackout curtains in the room, or switch to softer light before bedtime. If you feel disturbed even by a sliver of light, consider using an eye mask.
2. Keep digital devices away
With all of us practically glued to our screens all day long, this one might be a bit more difficult to follow. There’s no use denying that most of us tend to reach for our phones if we wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. It is then best to keep digital devices or clocks more than an arm’s length away so that you aren’t tempted to look at them. Also, stay away from checking and calculating how much time you have left to sleep. Just relax and try not to engage your brain. It also helps if you avoid the screens’ blue light altogether an hour or two before your bedtime.
3. Keep it cool
Lowering the thermostat at night to between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, according to the National Sleep Foundation can improve your sleep. Our bodies’ are regulated not just by light but also temperature, which is why a warm bedtime bath also helps. A hot bath brings blood to our skin’s surface, radiating out inner heat and causing our core temperature to fall.
4. Keep it quiet
Most people have no trouble falling asleep amidst loud sounds as long as those noises are consistent. Have you ever noticed that if you fall asleep while watching the news, you immediately wake up if someone switches the TV off? However, if you’re bothered by noises in the night, try a white noise machine or app. Humidifiers and fans also can be helpful.
5. Limit the disruptive foods
Caffeinated beverages, rich or spicy foods, and even sugar, blocks the release of a hormone called adenosine, which is what normally makes us feel tired and sleepy. If you are aiming for a 10pm bedtime, it is imperative to cut out caffeine by 2pm at the latest. Spicy foods trigger indigestion which also make it difficult to fall asleep or cause us to wake up in the middle of the night.
6. Avoid exercise before bedtime
According to research, exercising on a regular basis helps to get better quality rest, with more time spent in deep sleep. But exercising right before bedtime can have an adverse effect, since the release of endorphins can keep you awake. Avoid workouts within two hours of going to bed.
7. Follow a bedtime routine
Before bed, doing the same calming things — in the same way and at the same time — tells our brains that it’s time to sleep. Just like children, adults respond well to the basics: bath, book, bed.
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