Dermatologists and estheticians say that the secret to staying healthy, young and beautiful lies in getting regular and quality shut-eye. A good night’s sleep can also cure a lot of ailments, including moodiness and skull-splitting headaches.
But especially in the current situation, with a virus on the loose, many of us are finding it hard to drift off into sleep while some of us are trying to overcompensate for all those lost hours. Research shows that children aged 6-13 years should be getting nine to 11 hours of sleep at night, while teens aged 14-17 need eight to 10 hours. Meanwhile, adults aged 18-64 require only about seven to nine hours and the elderly (65 plus) can get by on seven to eight hours of sleep.
So if your sleep schedule is all over the place and insomnia is not being kind to your body, here are 15 tips and tricks from assistant professor Gamze Şenbursa on how to fall sleep easier and stay asleep throughout the night.
-Use your bed for sleep and sleep only. Don’t sleep on other pieces of furniture.
-Exercising throughout the day and physically tiring your body out will help you fall asleep faster and into a deeper, more relaxing sleep.
-But do not engage in strenuous exercise for long periods of time too close to bedtime. Finish working out at least two hours before bed.
-Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is around 18-20 degrees Celsius (64-68 Fahrenheit), which is the ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep. When in doubt, make sure that your room is on the chillier side.
-Change your pillows every 18 months or so and wash them every six months. Pillow protectors may protect them up to an extent and provide a barrier against sweat and other contaminants, but mold and dust mites will still be present in your pillows.
-Your pillow must provide adequate head and neck support and help keep your spine aligned. As comfy as the position is, do not sleep on your side with your shoulder underneath your pillow.
-If you are easily affected by your surroundings, such as light and noise, use an eye mask and some good, quality, soft earplugs.
-Change your mattress every seven years. Orthopedic is the way to go over super soft, hard or springy mattresses.
-If you would like to add a plant to your bedroom decor, adopt a cylindrical snake plant (Dracaena angolensis). This plant stocks up on carbon dioxide all night while emitting fresh oxygen.
-The human mind likes routine, so stick to it. Go to your bedroom at the same time every day. Try waking up at the same hours too, including on holidays and weekends.
-Cut out stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and nicotine at least four hours before bed.
-Though at first, it seems like alcohol makes you more drowsy, it will only make you wake up more frequently in the night and disrupt your sleep. It may also suddenly leave you wide awake.
-Do some spine-stretching exercises before bed. Give yourself a bear hug, do some neck circles, elongate your limbs in child's pose and rest your legs up against a wall.
-Try pressing on some acupuncture pressure points. A good few spots are on the outer sides of your inner wrists right under the pinky finger, the inner leg just above the ankle and the indentation/depression in the middle of the ball of your foot close to the arch.
-Exert light to deep pressure for about 40-60 seconds to see if it helps you relax.
-If all else fails, try a cup of tea – chamomile or passionflower are the most preferred.
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