Sleep deprivation is way more common than most people realize, yet it is easily avoidable. If you are one of the many people struggling to get a good night’s sleep, here are the 4 essential components you need to focus on.
A Sleep Schedule
The most important thing that you can do in order to ensure that you are always getting a good night’s sleep is to establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to sleep at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning will help to improve the quality of your sleep enormously. There is nothing wrong with having the occasional lie in if you have the day off, but if you are going to bed and getting up at random times every day, then your body doesn’t stand a chance of establishing a healthy sleep pattern.
Going from having no sleep schedule at all to maintaining a constant schedule is not easy. Most people will find it easier to make a gradual change in their sleeping habits instead of trying to implement a strict regime from the word go. However, once you have established a consistent sleeping routine, you will find it much easier to get to sleep every night, and you will find that the quality of your sleep improves as well.
A Suitable Sleeping Environment
Getting a good night’s sleep is very difficult if you don’t have a suitable sleeping environment. There are two things in particular that are the enemy of a good night’s sleep – light and sound. It doesn’t matter if you completely eliminate caffeine from your life and invest in the most comfortable bed imaginable; if your sleeping environment is polluted by excessive light and noise, then you are never going to be able to achieve deep and restful sleep.
It is also difficult to overstate the role of psychology in sleep. Keeping your room decluttered and free of any potential distractions such as tablets, smartphones, or laptops, will make it considerably easier for you to get to sleep, even if you don’t have those devices switched on.
In short, try to make your sleeping environment all about sleeping. Unless you absolutely have to use your bedroom for something other than sleeping, you should aim to turn it into a sleep sanctuary.
A Comfortable Bed
As well as ensuring that you have a suitable sleeping environment to sleep in, you also need to have a comfortable bed. You don’t have to go out and buy the most expensive mattress and sheets that you can find to get a good night’s sleep, but at the very least, you do need a mattress that is comfortable to lie on for several hours non-stop.
With Labor Day approaching, there are numerous sales taking place, and you have the ideal opportunity to find your dream mattress at a dream price. Buying a mattress during the Labor Day mattress sales enables you to get the best mattress available at the best possible price. Having the right mattress to sleep on could make all the difference to the quality of your sleep.
A Calm Mind
Let’s say that you have a well-established sleep schedule and the perfect sleep environment – what could possibly keep you from getting a good night’s sleep? The most common culprit is good old-fashioned stress. If your mind is racing and your heart rate is rising because you are anxious, then getting to sleep is going to be very difficult. Wherever possible, try not to calm your mind and resolve any pressing issues before you try to go to sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t exactly rocket science, but it is something that lots of us struggle with. The 4 things we have outlined above are the essential components of a good night’s sleep. If you want to sleep better, these are what you should focus on.
Losing weight is a process that can be challenging, especially because you don’t get the results overnight. You have to do it in a healthy way and consistently if you want results that will last. If you are trying to lose some weight, consider the following factors.
A Good Diet Plan
What you eat is one of the biggest contributors to your weight. Thus, start by evaluating your diet. What do you eat on a typical day? What about snacks and snacking habits? Are the foods you eat healthy? What changes can you make to your daily diet? Write down the changes you need to make. Write down menus for your breakfast, lunches and dinners. If you aren’t sure what a healthy meal looks like, you can follow the Harvard’s healthy eating plate, which recommends fruits and vegetables for half of the plate, whole grains and protein taking up a quarter of the plate each, healthy plant oils in moderation and water, tea or coffee. For your snacks, try to cut your intake of refined sugars, carbs and deep-fried foods. Finally, don’t forget to check the recommended calorie intake for your age and body weight. If you find it difficult to keep yourself on a healthy diet, there are plenty of meal-kit companies that make can make it easier on you! Check out some of the best weight loss meal delivery programs of 2020 to find one that fits your lifestyle and budget.
An Exercise Plan
Exercise is another factor in healthy weight loss. Through exercise you can boost your metabolism for weight loss. However, you should not overdo your workouts. Too much could leave your joints and muscles damaged. You need rest days to recover and also your daily workouts should be limited to an hour at most. Your workout plan should include the type of exercises you will be doing each day and the duration for each workout.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? For one, your cravings can intensify. This means that you will eat more the following day and this will hamper your weight loss goals. Two, if you stay up longer at night, your chances of snacking increase, and this can lead to weight gain. Three, the following day, you may wake up feeling less energetic and less motivated to do things. You may not be in a mood to go to the gym or fix a healthy meal. Remember, a healthy meal and exercise are two factors that contribute to weight loss.
So, don’t give up your sleep for anything. If there is anything keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, deal with it right away. Seek help if you are stressed out, and plan your day well so that you are not working when you should be resting. Get a new mattress if the one you have is causing you discomfort or pain at night. You can view some nice options here. Do whatever it takes to get that uninterrupted sleep. It’s good for weight loss and it can also boost your productivity, reduce your risk of accidents, and keep you more focused.
Water is good for your metabolism and it can create that feeling of fullness, thus reducing the amount of food you eat each day. And the good thing about water is that it has zero calories. However, stick to the recommended amount of water and don’t overdo it to avoid hyponatremia.
These are some of the key factors in healthy weight loss. You can plan your weight loss journey by yourself, or you can work with professionals. A nutritionist, for instance, can help in planning healthy menus for weight loss. A fitness trainer can help with your daily workouts. However, regardless of whether you work with a professional or by yourself, remember that the results will depend on your commitment.
During the Winter months, when the temperatures are freezing
and the snow is piling up, the desire to curl up by the fire with a good book,
a cup of hot chocolate, and some freshly baked cookies is only natural. But
when your desire to hibernate becomes all-consuming, and all you want to do is
stay indoors and sleep until Spring, it could be a sign of a problem.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes called the “Winter Blues” affects as many as 10 million Americans every year. What makes SAD different from other forms of depression is that the symptoms — which include social withdrawal, fatigue, sleep disturbances, sadness, irritability, weight changes, and an increased desire for starchy foods — is that it’s directly tied to a change in the seasons, and the symptoms resolve on their own when the days get longer. Most experts agree that it’s the reduced exposure to sunlight that causes SAD, as it disrupts the natural production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our natural sleep cycle. Other possible causes of SAD include reduced levels of serotonin, and a deficiency in vitamin D, which contributes to reduced serotonin levels.
Regardless of the cause, there’s no need to suffer through a
long Winter with depression. Although some people benefit from psychotherapy
and medication to help alleviate their symptoms, lifestyle changes with a focus
on exercise and a commitment to healthy sleep can reduce the symptoms of SAD.
The Exercise – Winter Blues Connection
Although there are several ways to treat the symptoms of the
Winter Blues, including light therapy, one of the most effective is exercise.
Even though you might feel like staying indoors for a Netflix marathon,
physical activity is vital to preventing many of the effects of sunlight.
Research indicates that 30-60 minutes of exercise each day can help manage
Exercise helps control seasonal depression for several reasons. For starters, research indicates that exercise can work as well as antidepressants for some people. This is due in part to the endorphins, so called “happy” chemicals that help you feel better during and after a workout. In addition to endorphins, though, working out also increases the production of growth factor proteins, which improve your brain function by increasing nerve cell growth and new connections, in particular in the hippocampus. This increased brain function can improve mood, reducing the feelings of depression.
Even without all of the benefits to the brain, though, staying
active during the colder months can help you avoid SAD in other ways.
Exercising outdoors, for instance, will expose you to beneficial sunlight —
even on a cloudy day — which can help spur vitamin D production and support
your natural circadian rhythms and allow you to maintain a normal sleep cycle.
Just getting outside for some fresh air can help you feel more energetic, and
working out with friends and family helps you maintain those important connections
that can boost your mood and get you through the long Winter.
Exercise, Sleep, and Depression
One of the most common symptoms of Winter depression is a
change in sleeping habits. While some people suffer from insomnia, it’s
actually more common to grapple with hypersomnia, or sleeping too much. This is
due in large part to the changes in light. Shorter days and less natural
sunlight disrupts melatonin production, throwing your sleep cycle out of
balance. Melatonin essentially triggers your body to sleep when it’s dark and
wake when it’s light, but when it’s dark for a larger part of the day, it’s
difficult to maintain this natural rhythm.
So how can you combat the changes to your sleep schedule that Winter can bring? One of the best options is exercise. Multiple studies have shown that exercise benefits people with insomnia, with the best exercises to help you sleep moderate-intensity aerobic workouts like walking. At the same time, exercise is beneficial to hypersomnia, as it can help increase the production of melatonin, especially when you exercise outdoors in the early morning. Regularly working out in the morning triggers your body to create melatonin in the evening, so you can maintain a normal sleep schedule.
Of course, when it’s cold in the morning, getting out of a warm and cozy bed to work out can feel like the last you want to do. It can be easier to do when you get plenty of sleep at night, but avoiding some of the other habits that can come with SAD will also help regulate your sleep. For example, stick to a healthy diet, rather than constantly indulging in the creamy, starchy comfort foods you crave, and be conscious of your calorie intake if you are less active than normal so you don’t gain weight, which can affect your mood.
And while outdoor exercise is ideal, have some alternative
options for indoor activities on days when the weather keeps you indoors. Do an
exercise video at home, try a yoga class, or head to the skating rink for a few
hours. Think about how you can exercise anywhere, and you’ll help improve your
mood and your sleep all the way through to Spring.
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