Seven tips for better sleep

We all know the signs of poor sleep – feeling tired, grouchy, unsociable, low energy, poor focus and concentration, physical pains, and etc. Sleep is so important to our general well-being, we can’t function at our best when we experience poor sleep. Yet it is also the one area of our lives that we are most easily prone to take for granted. Whilst we become highly proficient at taking care of our physical health, we tend to struggle to know what to do when our sleep is affected. Indeed, what can we do?

Sleep follows a natural cycle, and each of us sleeps differently to others. Our bodies’ circadian rhythm determines both the quantity and depth of sleep we get. It has been preset to follow a dip-and-rise cycle that facilitates normal functioning. As such, each of us requires different amount of sleep and it is helpful for us to be aware of how much sleep our body actually needs. Eight hours of sleep is not for everyone, with normal quantities of sleep ranging between six and ten hours.

One aspect of sleep we commonly confuse with sleep quantity is our sleep quality. Whilst sleep quantity is naturally preset and follows a natural cycle, sleep quality depends on our mental and physical habits, or known as the “sleep hygiene”. Though it is impossible to get and no one has “perfect sleep”, we can always improve our overall sleep quality by learning and following a helpful sleep hygiene pattern. It may sound like a lot of work but it doesn’t have to be. After all, we are aiming for better sleep by learning good sleep hygiene. When we sleep better, we also function and feel better.

The followings are seven tips for better sleep:

  1. Keep regular sleep schedule (e.g. set regular bed time, wake up at the same time everyday)
  2. Have relaxing sleep environment (e.g. keep noise level down, make sure your bed is comfortable)
  3. Manage anxiety and stress (if too much thoughts are running through your head that prevent you from falling asleep, try practicing deep breathing technique and muscle relaxation)
  4. Eat healthy diet and get regular exercise
  5. Create bedtime rituals (e.g. taking a warm bath or reading a book before going to bed)
  6. Limit daytime naps as they may interfere with night time sleep
  7. Know when to consult a doctor (consider visiting a doctor if you have persistent problem of daytime sleepiness, fatigue, loud snoring with pauses in breathing, or frequent morning headaches, etc).