4 Keys to Improve Your Quality of Sleep
Having a high quality of sleep is a fundamental aspect of staying healthy. When we sleep, our bodies are resting and our minds can take on another day with energy.
Much is known about the effects that can manifest when we don’t sleep enough or when our sleep is poor quality. These include difficulties concentrating, reduced reaction times, and even apathetic moods.
Having high-quality sleep means that it’s first necessary to have adequate sleep hygiene. A study by the Sleep Foundation explains that sleep hygiene is made up of the behaviors and habits that are carried out before sleeping. These habits greatly influence your rest.
Therefore, if you work on improving this aspect of your sleep routine, your sleep and health will benefit. Applied to athletics, quality sleep has positive repercussions on performance. That’s why here, we’ll offer you some simple keys to help you improve your quality of sleep.
Step away from electronic devices before sleeping
The light that’s emitted from electronic devices such as cellphones, TVs, and tablets makes it difficult for your brain to become “sleepy”. This means, of course, lower quality sleep. This is due to the fact that the light from these devices stimulates the part of the brain known as the Suprachiasmatic nucleus.
When this receptor is activated by the light, it’s prohibited from secreting melatonin, the sleep hormone. For us to reach a “sleepy” state, we need high levels of this hormone.
To sleep, the best thing is total darkness. We should try to not use electronic devices at least half-hour before bedtime. In addition, disconnecting from the virtual world is also beneficial for clearing our minds and releasing us from additional worries.
Healthier diets can improve the quality of your sleep
Having a healthy, balanced diet is incredibly important for your quality of sleep. Diet and sleep are closely related: not only what you eat, but also how much and at what times.
Foods with high levels of tryptophan can help us to sleep better since this molecule is a precursor to melatonin. Examples of foods with this molecule are dried fruits, milk, and poultry.
In terms of quantity, it’s ideal to have light dinners that still leave us satiated. Be careful with extremes: it’s just as bad to have a dinner that’s too heavy as it is to go to bed without eating. Finally, remember that you need to leave enough time for proper digestion between dinner and bedtime.
Clear your mind from negative thoughts
One of the biggest obstacles for sleep quality is to have thoughts running around in your head. Day-to-day worries and uncertainty about the future are big obstacles to the relaxation that’s needed to sleep well.
To deal with this, relaxation techniques are extremely effective. Not only do they induce a physical state of tranquility and wellbeing, but they also direct concentration to the breath, which makes it impossible to think about your worries. Directing your attention to your breath can be a great distraction to help you forget about negative thoughts.
Establish a sleep routine
Sleep quality is very sensitive to habits and routines. Our bodies become easily accustomed to specific hours of laying down and waking up. A routine permits the body to prepare itself to end or begin the day.
Establishing sleep routines means trying to establish set schedules of when you go to bed and what time you wake up the next day. In the case of when to wake up, it’s easier, because our work schedules force us to put it into practice. However, having a set bedtime and making ourselves stick to it is more difficult. This requires consistency and discipline.
Of course, a routine has to have a certain amount of flexibility. It’s really difficult to go to bed every single day at the exact same time, so it’s better to establish margins or intervals for yourself rather than an extremely specific, immovable time.
For your health, you can’t overlook the quality of your sleep
Sleep is an inseparable part of life for humans. It’s necessary to maintain our good health and to keep us mentally and psychologically strong. In addition, it’s not just about rest. While we sleep, our brains consolidate everything that we’ve learned throughout the day and our memories are strengthened.
The key to better quality sleep is establishing healthy habits. These go beyond just sleeping, and include other aspects such as diet and our environment.
Corbella, M. J. G. (2007). La alimentación y el sueño: estrategias nutricionales para evitar el insomnio. Offarm: farmacia y sociedad, 26(2), 77-84.
Sierra, J. C., Jiménez-Navarro, C., y Martín-Ortiz, J. D. (2002). Calidad del sueño en estudiantes universitarios: importancia de la higiene del sueño. Salud mental, 25(6), 35-43.