A truly healthy body is a combination of the following: a well-balanced diet, the right types of exercises, and proper rest.
The first two are relatively straightforward. A balanced diet consists of the right proportions of food items with the right amounts of nutrients that the body needs. A variety of exercises can make sure you keep all the different parts of your body active and healthy in the process.
But it’s a little tricky when talking about rest. Rest is more than just sleep. And sleep is more than just the amount of time you spend in your bed with your eyes closed.
Sure, people count the hours they sleep because it is also very telling. The length of your sleep is indeed significant, but there’s more to it than that.
Sleep quality is also a weighty consideration when evaluating whether a person gets the right kind of rest when they need it. With poor sleep quality, even if you spend 10 hours sleeping, you’ll still feel tired when you wake up.
But you can do something to improve your sleep quality.
Light plays a role
The human body loves routine. It’s wired into an individual’s biology, after eons of evolution, that bright lights mean you should stay awake. This is a part of the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This system signals your brain, body, and hormones, telling them what to feel and when.
You can use this to your advantage when you want to achieve better sleep quality.
By exposing yourself to bright light (preferably sunlight) during the day, your circadian rhythm is kept healthy. People with insomnia who did thisexperienced improvements in sleep quality. It also significantly reduced the time it took for them to fall asleep at night.
This also affects activities in the night.
When you expose yourself to bright blue light during the evening, it messes up your body’s natural rhythm, tricking it into thinking that it’s still daytime and you should be up and about.
Under the hood, your circadian rhythm sends signals to reduce hormones like melatonin, which is responsible for making you relax and get into deeper levels of sleep.
And blue light is more common than you think. Essentially all electronic devices with screens like computers and smartphones emit huge amounts of blue light.
Thankfully, some apps block this light for most of these devices. Some smartphones even have this feature readily installed when you first turn it on. Use this at night and make sure you don’t expose yourself to unnecessarily bright (or blue) lights.
Some glasses block blue light. Some sleep experts even recommend not using these light-emitting devices up to an hour before actually going to sleep.
Caffeine is effective.
Yes, over time, the tolerance for caffeine can rise in people. But that still shouldn’t be a reason to consume coffee in the later parts of the day. The benefits of coffee during the day become its weaknesses at night.
Caffeine improves your focus and energy. This is why it’s recommended at the start of your day. When you drink it in the afternoon, it will stop your body from relaxing at night.
Naps can be counterproductive.
Taking incredibly long naps during the day can also confuse your natural rhythm, telling your body that you have already gotten enough rest. This leads to difficulty in sleeping at night.
Short, power naps are beneficial, but if you feel that you’re sleeping way too long during the day, it can be a problem.
Your bedroom is your haven.
The bedroom should be the most relaxing place in your home. It’s where all the magic happens. This means changes in the bedroom environment can affect the quality of one’s sleep.
The strong impact of light has been covered in the previous item. But aside from that, there are still other factors that affect sleep quality in the bedroom.
Noise is one of these factors. It doesn’t matter whether you are one of those people who can tolerate a lot of sounds while falling asleep. Your brain still processes these auditory activities and cause shallow sleep.
Temperature is an important consideration. The body cools down when preparing to sleep. Match this with the right temperature in your bedroom.
Comfort is also a factor that’s often overlooked. You need to have pillows, sheets, and a mattress that best suits your needs. You’ll know if this is an issue, especially when you experience strange pains after waking up.
To achieve a truly healthy body, you need a balanced diet, exercise, and good sleep. The last one is particularly tricky to achieve for many. Follow these pointers and see your sleep quality improve.