One of the fastest and most efficient ways to make 2020 better, and to make sure you can keep those new year’s resolutions, is to sleep better. You can literally sleep yourself to a more successful and happier decade!
Sleep impacts all facets of our lives but unfortunately research across the world is showing that we don't sleep that well. Four in ten people aren’t getting enough sleep and one in five sleep poorly most nights. This makes sleep problems the second most common health issue after pain.
Though some people might require medical assistance to sleep better for many there are a number of easy ways we can sleep better and live better 2020.
how to sleep better 2020
food & drink
What we eat and drink can have a real impact on our sleep, find out what food will put you to sleep and what foods that will keep you tossing and turning at night.
- Enjoy some snooze food for a deeper and more restful sleep
Food that contain or stimulate the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep, are known to promote a better sleep. This includes olives, barley, tomatoes, walnuts, milk and cherries that are rich in melatonin. Another sleep aid is tryptophan, an essential amino acid that acts as a natural mood regulator and is the precursor to melatonin. Tryptophan is found in for example turkey, wild-caught fish and nuts like cashews and almonds. Bananas are another natural sleeping pill —not only do they contain tryptophan but also magnesium, a muscle and nerve relaxant which can help ensure that we don’t wake up with cramp or muscle pain.
- Stay clear of sleep killers
Some food and drinks can make it difficult to sleep, caffeine and alcohol are part of that list. If you still want to enjoy a glass of wine or coffee best to do it a few hours before going to bed. For the best sleep possible we should give our metabolism a break during the night which means that we should avoid food that is difficult to digest like for example high-fat or protein-rich foods, such as deep fried foods and red meat, just before going to bed. Strong spices make sleeping through more difficult as well.
- Find your food/drink balance
You don’t want to go to bed either too full or too hungry as this will make falling asleep difficult. If you get hungry during the night try to eat a small, light snack. Drinking too much before going to sleep can lead to disruptive middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.
By exercising regularly we can fall asleep faster and enjoy a better sleep quality. It can take a few weeks for the full effect to be shown but don’t despair, studies show that exercising can increase total sleep time by up to 1.25 hours, so hang in there!
- Move. Sleep. Repeat—Make movement a habit
Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week can improve sleep quality by 65%. That might seem like a lot but try to get some low-intensity exercise on a daily basis, as little as 10 minutes of walking can make a big difference to the quality of our sleep.
- Move outside
By doing sports outside we get the dual effect of extra exposure to light. This helps our bodies vitamin D production which supports our health and immune system. It also helps us to keep our sleep-wake cycle on track so you sleep sounder at night.
- Time it right
You should do sports 4-6 hours before going to bed as intense exercise raise our core body temperature by up to 2°C making it difficult to fall asleep.
Stress is another sleep killer, the more we stress the less we sleep. And the more tired we are the more vulnerable we are to stress. We can beat the stress-sleep cycle by fighting the stress at the core as well as by creating a haven of calm in our bedroom.
- Beat the job stress
There is a clear correlation between stress at work and sleep disorders. People who don’t feel supported by their co-workers are twice as likely to suffer from sleeping disorders (35% versus 18%). The more stressed we are at work, the less we sleep. Improving a stressful work situation is hence key to sleep better and to live better.
- Make your bedroom a haven of peace
Leave your laptop, mobile phone and worries at the bedroom door. Try to switch off work earlier and clear your mind, you might even set an alarm for when you should get ready for bed time. If you can’t quiet your mind try to write a to-do list and set it aside for the next day. By keeping a pen and paper by the bedside we can also write down any new thoughts that appear and we don’t have to activate our brains trying to remember them.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation
If you find you can’t sleep due to stress, try progressive muscle relaxation. Work through your body from your toes to the tip of your head, tensing each of your muscles as tightly as you can and then relaxing them completely.
By creating sleep friendly habits we can make a real difference to our duration and quality of sleep:
- Turn off to turn in
Switch off all electronic gadgets at least one hour before bed. A mere 2 hours of daily exposure to the blue light from electronic displays reduces our production of melatonin (the chemical that helps control our body's internal clock) with about 22%. Recent studies have also shown that the electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s) created by our smart phones can reduce our sleep quality, in particular our slow wave sleep. Many of us keep our phone by the bed, consider keeping it somewhere else or turn it off/ put it on flight mode.
- Establish a sleep schedule
Try to stick to the same sleep schedule every day—by going to bed and waking up at the same time also during weekends, holidays and business trips we train our bodies and minds to start to relax. This is one of the key elements to being able to fall asleep and to stay asleep night by night.
- Find your bedtime ritual
Start to wind down by creating a bedtime ritual which signals to our bodies that it is time to relax. This can include listening to relaxing music, reading a book and dimming the lights. Taking a warm bath or shower also helps. The warm water stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps us feel calmer and more relaxed. It will also make our body temperature first rise and then fall rapidly which will help to make us sleepy.
- Keep the best temperature for sleep
A nationwide poll in Germany found that 38% of women and 44% of men named being too hot or too cold as the most common disturbing factor for good sleep. This is backed up by science, when we sleep we are more sensitive to temperature shifts and changes impact in particular our deep sleep negatively. By wearing temperature regulation and moisture wicking pajamas we can keep the ideal sleeping sleeping temperature for a deeper and longer sleep.
- Declutter and decorate for sleep
Remove unnecessary distractions and invest in some good curtains to block out the light. Don’t forget less obvious sources of light such as electronic devices on standby mode. Quite the noise with ear plugs or an electronic device that makes white noise if need be.
- Cool it
Our homes are up to 5°C warmer than 50 years ago as a result of better central heating and home insulation. This can be comfortable during the day but can lower our sleep quality during the night, if we can’t release excess heat. Breathing in cold air helps to reduce our core temperature, which in turn helps us to fall asleep and stay asleep, so crank down that thermostat.
- Stop counting sheep
If you want to stop counting sheep try merino wool pajamas. Researchers from Australia have found that by sleeping in merino pyjamas instead of cotton gives we can sleep up to 15 minutes’ more. Merino wool like other high-tech natural fibres are great at temperature regulation and moisture management which helps us to stay in the ideal climatic comfort zone all night.
Our sleep needs and sleep challenges changes throughout our lives. What remains the same is the essential need for sleep. When we sleep our immune system performs preventive maintenance that is key for our health, wellbeing and longevity.
- Get enough sleep at the right time
Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Our sleep rhythm changes over time. The older we get the earlier we feel ready to fall asleep and wake up. For the best sleep we should be in tune with our body’s natural clock. If need be take a 10 to 30 minutes nap mid-afternoon for an extra boost.
- Beat the night sweats
Sweating is a normal part of our bodies thermoregulation process but night sweats can lead to a restless sleep. Our body on average contains 60% water and we have 4 million sweat glands to be able to regulate heat and temperature increases. Every day we lose up to 2.5 liters of fluid and every night we sweat the equivalence of one cup. If we are wearing the wrong materials the result can be an uncomfortable wetness on our skin and cold and drenched sleepwear. The solution? Wearing temperature and moisture wicking pajamas, keeping the bedroom cool and having a glass of ice water close to the bed can help.
19. How to sleep better while pregnant
Over ¾ of women sleep worse during pregnancy and new moms and pregnant women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than any other group of women. There are measures you can take to sleep better also when expecting though! Many women find sleeping on the left side better as this keeps the uterus off our liver, combat overheating and night sweats pregnancy or as a new mum by keeping the bed room temperature low and by wearing temperature regulating maternity pajamas. If leg cramps wake you up, try pressing your feet hard against the wall or try standing on one leg. Read more about how to sleep better while pregnant.
20. Menopause and sleep
75% of women sleep worse during menopause and our total sleep decreases with up to 40 minutes per night. The most common menopause sleep problems are hot flashes at night as well as breathing problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia. If you are suffering from hot flashes a lower room temperature, keeping cooling aids nearby and using the best menopause pajamas can help you to sleep better. Read more about night sweats menopause and sleep.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER WITH DAGSMEJAN
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Are you sometimes hot and cold at night? Then the balance collection is your ideal match helping you to keep the best temperature for sleep all night. With patented sleep technology NATTWELL™ fabric is 6x more breathable than cotton and 4x better at moisture management. With the help of this natural high-tech fabric you don’t need to worry about night sweats or hot flashes at night.
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