Trust these tips from our health experts...
It's no secret that most of us would like to sleep better than we currently do. The statistics reflect the fact that we are finding it increasingly difficult to fall asleep. To make matters worse, the quality of the sleep we get has also deteriorated. You may have tried the military method or "cognitive shuffle", but do you also know the basic rules for healthy sleep?
Many of us feel that we should stay up by a certain time before going to sleep. The truth is, it's important to prioritize sleep. If you like going to bed early, so should you. "We expect to want to stay up late and feel like we don't have enough time," says Dr. Michael Grandner, director of sleep and health at the University of Arizona. When we stay up late, we feel like we can do more and achieve something. But the statistics show the opposite: "If we stay up late, our efficiency and productivity decrease. If we go to bed earlier, we can do the same amount of tasks in less time.
You've been in front of the screen all day and your stress levels are huge - it's no wonder it's difficult to fall asleep. The most important thing is that you give yourself enough time before bed to leave the day and everything that it entailed behind you. "Some people take half an hour, some more. That doesn't mean sitting on the couch and meditating for half an hour, but a combination of relaxation and distraction will get the best results," says Dr. Grandner. You can not only dim the light to signal to the body cells that it will soon be time to go to bed, but you can also do everything that actively decelerates the body and mind, be it through breathing exercises, stretching exercises, or simply fiddling about, to avoid any stimulation. It is also worth turning off your cell phone. "We have so much pressure in our lives and are constantly on the move - but we have to give ourselves time to relax."
Sleep experts agree that if you're trying to sleep and can't sleep - or wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep - it is important to get out of bed. "By lying awake in bed, you make the bed an uncomfortable place that you associate with worry, thinking, and rolling back and forth," explains Dr. Grandner. "Over time, the bed becomes more of a negative place than a place of relaxation. You should get your body and mind out of this situation.
In addition to having a dark, cool room (a lower temperature will help lower the body's core temperature, which will signal to the brain that it is time to go to bed), you should also make sure that your sleeping environment is optimal for a good night's sleep. "I believe that getting the best sleep depends on the materials you use to make your bed and what you wear to sleep," says Jessica Mason, Founder of Piglet. "Natural, breathable, and absorbent materials like linen and merino wool are great for regulating body temperature, which in turn helps us sleep better. Linen is a great material all year round because its long fibers circulate air through the fabric which makes it very breathable. It keeps you cool when you are hot and warm when you are cold."
Speaking of sleeping gowns ... do you sleep in clothes or naked? Studies suggest that if you choose the latter, you may sleep better than your more prudish counterparts. "Your body wants to stay cool when you fall asleep," says Dr. Frankie Spence. "Your body temperature drops a few degrees as your body induces and maintains sleep. Pajamas can keep you too warm, especially in warmer weather, which can disrupt the process of regulating temperature and affect the quality of your sleep." If you want to wear pajamas, you should choose fabrics that allow air to circulate naturally and do not interfere with the body's temperature control mechanisms, such as cotton.
"One of the most popular myths is that it takes eight hours to get a good night's sleep," says Dr. Grandner. "In reality, there is no difference between seven and eight hours, and sleep doesn't have to be perfect to be considered good." He advises getting seven to eight hours of sleep out of the entire 24 hours: most of it should be in the biological "night", but you can also catch up with naps during the day. If you feel tired and sleepless when you wake up, that's not always a bad thing. Most of the time it is more of a consequence of sluggishness that lasts only about ten minutes.
Avoid sedatives or melatonin in favor of dietary supplements that help relax the body and promote its health. Melatonin affects the circadian clock and is often taken incorrectly. "It doesn't fix sleep problems in general, nor does it specifically help with insomnia," says Dr. Grandner et al. Explains that many medications contain either weak sedatives that are over-promising or sedatives that make you feel groggy and "hungover" when you wake up. "Most people want to be more efficient and more alert during the day, but this path backfires and makes the problem they were trying to solve worse." Instead, he recommends dietary supplements that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and promote relaxation (e.g. adaptogens) in order to achieve healthy sleep.