Get Better Sleep for a Stronger Mind
Just like a building needs a solid foundation to keep it from crumbling, a healthy person needs sleep. Quality slumber gives you the energy you need to exercise and stay fit, while long nights of insomnia lead to fatigue and weight gain as you struggle to find the wherewithal to head to the gym or go for a run. Moreover, the damaging effects spread to your psyche. Studies suggest that insomnia makes it difficult for your mind to process negative emotions, and that leads to stress, anxiety and even depression.
Luckily, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle and even your bedroom to end this nightly struggle. Here are some suggestions that may help you drift off into dreamland every evening for the good of your mind as well as your body.
Change Your Mattress
The very platform for your nightly slumber has a lifespan of roughly eight years, and if you insist on keeping it longer, you put your health and the quality of your sleep at risk. Dust mites and other allergens find a home in the fabric, which can harm your breathing and exacerbate allergies.
Paint the Walls a Soothing Shade
Color has a profound effect on mood and vice-versa; that’s why red is often associated with anger and yellow with happiness. What you want is a shade that calms your mind, such as light blues or earth tones. Stay away from anything bright that stimulates your senses, which could keep you up at night.
Make Changes to Your Diet
For starters, cut out the sugar and caffeine in the evening and afternoon, as you don’t want to be amped up when you’re supposed to be relaxing. Next, address when you eat your meals, which should be relatively small, nutritious, and evenly spaced throughout the day. A big dinner is a definite “no,” as overindulging just before bed leads to indigestion and a rumbling tummy come bedtime.
Get Some Exercise
This will help in a number of ways, all of which have sound backing in scientific research. Physical activity has been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety, which makes it much easier to unwind at the end of the day. And when you do drift off, you’ll stay in deep sleep much longer, and enjoy all of the health benefits that entails.
Try Meditation or Yoga
Either one can be used to reduce stress and calm your mind after a hard day at work. Both yoga and meditation incorporate mindfulness. A practice which clears your mind as you accept whatever is worrying you and let it pass, according to an article in Mindful Pause. It’s much easier to sleep without errant thoughts rattling around in your skull.
Banish Electronic Devices
When you stare at the screen of your smartphone or laptop, it sends a steady stream of blue light into your eyes that disrupts the release of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep, according to Scientific American. Leave these devices outside your bedroom to avoid any temptation to check in on the latest social media posts late at night.
Stick Your Nose in a Book
It may take just a few minutes for the words on the page to go blurry as you begin to drift off. That’s because reading is a highly-relaxing activity that helps to separate your daytime activities from a night of peaceful rest. A word of caution though, stay away from any material that’s frightening or agitating.
Create an Evening Routine
In addition to meditation and reading, consider a hot shower and a warm mug of herbal tea to help you unwind. Whatever you do, make it a regular routine in order to signal to your body that bedtime is approaching and it’s time to sleep.
You can make some of these changes right now. Fix a healthy snack, go out for a walk or start reading. That could be your first step toward a regular sleep cycle, a healthier body and a stronger mind.