“Health is paramount. No matter how busy you are, you have to take care of yourself.”
You probably heard that phrase many times. Chances are it never stuck to you.
Even with increasing dialogue on healthcare, people still have a hard time caring for their physical and mental well-being.
The root of the problem is, most commonly, sleep. If you don’t sleep well, you can’t function well during the day. Thus, your productivity drops, and your potential soon dissipates. Change your sleep patterns and you’ll change your life.
Research has long shown that insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, occurring in more than 40% of adults. While it is more common for insomnia to occur in women than men, men can also be affected by it.
If you have trouble falling asleep, wake up quite frequently during the night, wake up too early, or do not get enough quality sleep, chances are you are suffering from insomnia.
Do not freak out, there is a solution for everything. Today, we’ll discuss the role of melatonin in sleep regulation.
The Role Of Melatonin In Sleep Regulation
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that can fix your sleep patterns and thus, improve your life. Research has shown that melatonin has a positive impact on peoples’ and animals’ well-being. This hormone is produced by the pineal gland as soon as the night starts. During the nighttime, melatonin gradually increases, since the retina becomes slowly exposed to less light.
Our body clock is influenced by the amount of melatonin we store in our bodies at night. Since this hormone is a physiological regulator of the sleep-wake cycle, it can influence our ability to sleep or wake up. When our bodies store high levels of melatonin, we sleep well.
As soon as the melatonin levels decrease, we start waking up. If you are low on melatonin in your body, you are prone to insomnia. The goal is to maintain high levels of melatonin during the night and sufficient levels of melatonin throughout the day.
What Happens If You Don’t Sleep Well?
Insomnia or constant lack of sleep can have seriously damaging effects on your health. Your brain will stop functioning at full capacity, your hormones will deregulate, while your overall performance will drop. If you only get poor sleep, you might also be more prone to putting on weight. In other words, if you’re a student, you’ll consider getting writing help instead of figuring tasks out on your own. If you’re working, you’ll probably call in sick.
In contrast, a good night’s sleep can help you feel more productive and focused, exercise better, and become healthier. This is why it is necessary to develop the right sleeping habits. A good night’s sleep can make a real difference in your life.
How To Sleep Well And Develop Healthy Habits
Developing healthy sleeping habits is the first change you should make. Of course, ingesting melatonin supplements won’t hurt, but you can always set your body clock to adapt to your needs. Here are some of the things that you can do to make it work.
1. Increase Light Exposure
As I said, your body can regulate on its own. So, use your circadian rhythm as a tool. Exposure to natural light can help you stay awake and tell your brain when to sleep. This will help you keep up the energy during the day, and sleep well during the night (get quality, undisturbed sleep). Exposing yourself to daylight bright light can therefore improve your sleep patterns, especially if you’re experiencing poor sleep or insomnia.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure
As you’ve seen above, exposure to bright light is beneficial during the day. However, exposing yourself to blue light before bed has the opposite effect. It reduces your hormones (e.g. melatonin) and tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daylight.
Thus, exposure to smartphones, tablets, or TVs can be detrimental to your health right before sleep. To reduce nighttime light exposure, you can wear blue light glasses or install blue light blocker apps on your smartphone.
3. Keep Coffees For The morning
Caffeine is beneficial in the morning, as it can keep your focus up and your performance boosting. However, having a coffee late in the day is not beneficial at all. Caffeine excites your nervous system and stops it from relaxing. If you’re consuming caffeine less than 6 hours before bed, you might have serious trouble falling asleep. Instead of coffee, opt for tea.
4. Avoid Long Daytime Naps
While power naps can be beneficial, long daytime naps aren’t. If you’re signed up for that, you’re going to have a hard time falling asleep at night. Daytime sleep interferes with your sleep patterns. Studies have shown that after taking daytime naps, participants in a study felt less rested during the day. So, power naps, OK. Long daytime naps, NOT OKAY. Stop sleeping during the day or shorten your naps.
5. Set A Constant Rhythm
Shifting work doesn’t allow you to set a constant rhythm; this is why I struggled with getting sleep before switching jobs.
I learned that the body’s internal clock runs in loops. If you’re able to align it to sunrise and sunset, it’ll run naturally. This is when you’ll feel more rested. Thus, be consistent with your sleep and set a constant rhythm that your body can accommodate. Try to wake up at the same time, naturally, and go to bed at the same time every day.
6. Avoid Drinking Alcohol
To optimize your sleep, you need to get rid of that alcohol. Alcohol is said to have come from the Arabic term “Al-Kuhl,” which means “Body Eating Spirit.” Drinking alcohol will not only lower your vibration, but it’ll also make you feel tired. Alcohol can cause sleep apnea, disrupted sleep patterns, and snoring. Avoid alcohol before bed as it disrupts the active production of melanin.
7. Optimize Your Sleeping Area
The room’s temperature, exposure to light, furniture arrangements, etc., can influence your sleeping. This is why you’ll want to optimize your environment before settling in. Avoid exposure to external noise and eliminate external light.
8. Take Time To Relax
Developing a pre-sleeping routine can be beneficial for you. It will help you relax and unwind before going to bed. You can pick from many beneficial techniques available. Some of the most popular include massage therapy, listening to relaxing music, taking a hot bath, deep breathing, practicing visualization, stretching, practicing slow yoga, or meditating.
9. Exercise Regularly
Of course, let’s not forget about exercise. If you are unable to exercise daily, exercise at least three times per week. Working out can improve your sleep patterns and health overall. Practicing sports is known to have reduced anxiety and insomnia by 15-30%. Do not exercise late at night but during the day. This is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is key to becoming healthier. So, improve your sleep patterns by following the above tips. And get some melatonin supplements while at it. Good night!