The secret to getting a good night of sleep

Sleeping is not only a favorite activity for most people; it is also an activity that is very important for your health. We all have had nights where we had trouble falling asleep and the next day we just felt exhausted and lifeless. And when you stand in front of the mirror you only see the bags under your eyes and notice your pale skin. If you are unlucky you might even notice acne coming up and you will not feel like eating right and exercising that day.

Most adults need about 7–9 hours of sleep a day. For people who do a lot of sports the amount of sleep needed per night is often a bit higher than for the average person. How much you exactly need differs from person to person and you can only find out your optimal amount of sleep by experimenting. Getting enough sleep helps your mental and physical well-being in several ways: your performance will increase, your mood will improve, and you will become healthier.

Without enough sleep you will not be able to think clearly, react quickly, or create memories. During your sleep your brain will process all information it has received during the day and will be functioning optimally again when you wake up. Many students prefer to spend the day for an important exam staying up to study, but with hindsight you often notice that those extra hours were mostly wasted as you had to read every passage in a book several times to actually grasp it or because you made some mistakes during the exam that could have easily been avoided if your mind was less foggy.

The effect of sleep on your mood is something that most people have experienced first-hand. You are likely to be grumpier and react in a different tone than normal when somebody irritates you. People who chronically lack sleep are also more likely to become depressed.

Sleep also has a direct effect on your health. When you sleep your body produces hormones that help you rebuild muscle tissue and help your immune system fight various infections. A lack of sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions. There are also indirect effects on your health where people who lack sleep are more likely to become overweight or obese, develop diabetes, and prefer eating foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates.

All together it is therefore important to get enough sleep on a regular basis. Below are several points that will help you to get a good quality sleep without wasting too much time trying to fall asleep:

Keep a regular sleep schedule

This might sound like some work but it is not; it just means that you go to bed around the same time every day and you wake up around the same time every day. By doing this your body will get used to the rhythm of sleeping and waking up and after a few weeks you will fall asleep as soon as you lie down in bed and you wake up before your alarm goes off. The more consistent you are with this schedule the easier it will be. So even in the weekends you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time as you do during the week.

Avoid your mobile phone, television, and computer before going to bed

This might sounds like a punishment to most people but frankly your state of mind should be relaxed when you go to bed. By reading on your phone, or staring at a screen that emits light your brain will be activated and you will feel less tired. If you want to read then read a book or newspaper the old-fashioned way, or listen to some music to relax before going to bed.

Get comfortable and relax

Make sure your bed is comfortable enough, your room is dark and quiet, and your air conditioner is working properly so you are in a cool environment. To really relax you might also want to avoid stress as much as possible during the day, although that can sometimes be difficult with the traffic in Bangkok.

Limit naps late on the day

When you do miss some sleep during the night it is a good idea to catch up on that sleep with a nap. Sleep for maybe an hour somewhere during the day but try to not do it in the late afternoon as this might interfere with your regular sleep schedule. A nap will often benefit you much more if you do it the day right after you missed sleep and if you do it during the day: so do not sleep in late as this will interfere with your sleep schedule.

In case you still have trouble sleeping after following all these tips you should consider visiting a doctor for advice as it might be due to medicine use or a medical condition.

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