How can you define a good night sleep?Sleep is not all about closing eyes at night and waking up in the morning. It takes a lot of self discipline for one to have a good night sleep. Sleep should be restorative and for it to be of great benefit to you, one has to have 7-9 hours of sleep every night.Remember watching that series overnight, you then slept for two hours and woke up for work? Yes, getting a good night sleep has become really complicated as you would want to capture the last episode of Black Panther and deprive ourselves sleep. Let us look at what really defines good sleep.
How can you really tell if you are having a good night sleep? Especially for those working in shifts, their sleep is probably different from others. On average, every adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night.Here are ways to measure a good night sleep:
- You fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down.
- You sleep to a total of seven to nine hours in a 24- hour period.
- You wake up feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
- You feel alert and are able to be fully productive throughout the waking hours
- Your partner doesn’t notice sleep problems or abnormal behavior during your sleep for example snoring, breathlessness, restlessness or other nighttime behaviors.
- While in bed, your sleep is continuous and you don’t have periods with which you are awake and wished you were asleep.
Shift workers for example nurses, watchmen, doctors and other professions that require shifts, often have less than seven hours of sleep. This is because when they sleep during the day, they wake up earlier than seven hours of sleep because of the circadian system.
- This doesn’t mean they don’t need seven hours of sleep, it is because it hard falling a sleep during the day.
Strategies for a good night sleep
Here are some of the strategies that one can use to get a good night sleep:
Creating a comfort zone
A comfortable sleep environment is a very important factor when one wants a good night sleep. Check on the room temperature, if it is too warm or too cold, it can make it difficult for one to have a good night sleep.
Control your exposure to light
Melatonin hormone that is responsible for inducing sleep is affected by light. One’s body secretes more melatonin when it is dark and this makes you sleepy. There are ways with which you can influence your exposure to light:
- Spend more time outside during daylight.
- Let as much natural light into your home or workplace as possible
- Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime
- Say no to late night television
Exercise during the day
A person that exercises regularly often has a good night sleep and feels less sleepy during the day. Exercise speeds up one’s metabolism, elevates body temperature and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. This is not a problem if you are exercising in the morning or afternoon but at night, this could bring problems with sleep.
Choose what to eat and drink wisely
Drink and eat healthy. Eat foods that improve your sleep quality. Avoid foods that are rich in caffeine and also alcoholic drinks.
A good night sleep is restorative as stated above. Practice good sleep hygiene and you will have a smooth day without any mishap. Wind down and clear your head before going to bed to sleep. Residual stress and anxiety makes it hard for one to catch sleep.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
- Strategies for a goodnight sleep (January 2015)
- Statements about a good night sleep
- What measures a goodnight sleep? (July 2015)