Between exam crunch time, assignment deadlines and juggling everything else in between, most would inevitably choose to sacrifice their sleep – where else would you have the time to do everything else, right? While we don’t advocate giving up a good night’s rest (try to get in at least eight hours of snooze time every night!), we’ve found some ways to improve the quality of your sleep so you can wake up feeling as refreshed as possible.
Cut back on screen time and other distractions
There are many studies talking about how the light from electronic devices can affect your sleep (more on that later), but making sure your bedroom is free of distractions is the first step to ensuring good quality of sleep. Using your phone as an alarm clock? Place it far away from your bed to avoid getting sucked in to the endless scrolling that is Instagram/social media. Similarly, shut off your laptop/tablet to reduce the temptation of binge-watching your favourite dramas – basically, make sure there’s nothing for you to do in bed other than sleep.
Filter your lights
Having trouble hitting the sack? Try reducing the amounts of blue light you expose yourself to in the late afternoon and evenings. Present in natural sunlight and emitted in large amounts from electronic devices, the bright lights from your various gadgets might be affecting your circadian rhythm (the body’s natural clock that tells your brain when it’s time to sleep) and tricking your mind into thinking that it’s still daytime. If it’s unrealistic to stop using your gadgets an hour or two before your bedtime, toggling into Night mode on your phones or dimming down your screens should help your brain adjust to your bedtime.
Control your food/drink intake
If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or heading to the kitchen for a midnight snack, avoid heading to bed on a full stomach or going to bed hungry to reduce the risk of sabotaging your own sleep with these avoidable bodily urges. This means controlling the snacks you eat during those intense mugging sessions too!
Build a good snooze environment
Studies show that humans spend close to 1/3 of their lives in bed, which only goes to show how important a comfortable sleeping environment is. Apart from making sure your bed is 100% comfortable, use heavy curtains to block external lights from filtering in, and keep the room temperature to one you’re comfortable with to ensure you don’t wake up mid-sleep ’cause it’s too warm/cold. If you share a room with a sibling/family member with different sleeping habits, communicate with them and find a compromise that’ll aid both of you in getting restful sleep.
Studies have shown that people with regular exercise tend to rest better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. If you’re too busy to commit to a full workout regime, try engaging in a 10-minute brisk walk to improve your sleep quality. With that being said, avoid rigorous exercise when it’s close to your bedtime as working out will speed up your metabolism and increase body temperature, which can interfere with your sleep. In contrast, light yoga or stretching exercises can serve to promote better sleep.
Reduce night time anxiety
The stress we feel on a day to day basis can make restful sleep difficult. Before heading to bed, it’s important to unwind and clear your mind – take a relaxing bath, soothe your overstimulated mind by reading a book, practice deep breathing, or even jot down your feelings (and what’s causing you that anxiety). Being in a relaxed state will help your mind prepare your body for a good rest ahead.
Eliminate jarring alarms
If you’re a serial snooze-button hitter, you’d be familiar with the grumpiness and lethargy that usually accompanies your mornings. This lack of energy (despite perhaps having had a full night of sleep) could be due to the fact that heading back to sleep after being jolted awake once, actually resets your sleep cycle – you’d most likely to be in a deeper, earlier phase of your sleep cycle the second time your alarm ring. Alternatively, having an alarm ring at the wrong time of your sleep cycle can also trigger similar effects. To counter this effect, try downloading sleep apps like Sleep Cycle, that analyse your sleep and wakes you up in the lightest sleep phase for an optimum and more refreshed start to the day!
What are some of your tips to getting good sleep? Share ’em with us in the comment section!