Don’t want to get up on the wrong side of the bed? When it comes to slumber, most of us don’t get enough of it. Some of us even go without a good night’s rest in this 24-hour global society. However, sleep is essential. Good sleep is linked to lower body weights, enhanced mental and physical health, robust immune systems, and lower risk of chronic diseases. We explore what makes us fall asleep, from weighted blankets to following the circadian rhythm – all methods backed by research from the Global Wellness Institute.
Make a Bedtime Ritual
Turning off your brain so you can relax is more challenging when you are stressed or anxious. A bedtime ritual will help put you at ease and help you to fall asleep better. Little daily habits, such as limiting caffeine or nicotine intake at least six hours before sleep, makes a huge difference. If you can, install circadian lighting in your home, where the light is brighter when it is time to wake up and dimmer when it is time to rest. Consider installing sleep apps that provide jet-lag minimizing solutions and get a phone that limits blue light. Finally, be strict about limiting screen time and be sure to turn off your phone at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
A Weighted Blanket Helps Cure Insomnia
A weighted blanket typically weighs 2kg onwards and is shown to support relaxation, lessen anxiety and promote sleep. In a 2020 study from Swedish researchers, 42% of those that slept with an 18kg blanket scored low on the Insomnia Severity Index, compared with 3.6% of the control group. The weighted blankets helped decrease daytime sleepiness, leading to fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mental health issues.
Take 7,000 Steps a Day
Walking more in the day is related to better sleep at night, according to a 2019 study from Brandeis University. The study showed that middle-aged men and women who took about 7,000 steps a day experienced significantly better sleep quality across various measures. The results were consistent. In essence, the more steps people took, the higher their self-rated quality sleep was during the study.
Avoid Low Fibre, High-Fat and High Sugar Foods
Toss the junk food! It’s not only bad for your waistline, it further affects your sleep. Columbia University did a study in 2016 that showed that consuming low-fibre, high-fat and sugary foods leads to waking up at night. It also reduces “slow-wave sleep” time, the crucial restorative phase. Not only that, sleep deprivation consequently leads to terrible diet choices that cause obesity and diabetes. It then becomes this vicious cycle because unhealthy food also interferes with sleep.
Commit to being Fit
Exercise is preventive medicine for most health issues, including sleep. A 2012 clinical trial by the National Taiwan University showed that 10-16 week aerobic or high-intensity resistance exercise training programs resulted in significantly better global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores. Middle-aged participants of the clinical trials who usually have sleep problems reported reduced sleep latency and medication use.