5 Tips for a good quality sleep
Sleeping well has enormous benefits for our health. It’s not only about getting enough sleep but also of creating healthy habits to promote the best rest, aspects that have to do with preparing ourselves well to have a good night’s sleep. These new habits are not too difficult to incorporate into our routines either.
“We measure the quality of sleep in terms of three parameters: structure, process and results,” stresses Dr Vicente Mera, head of Internal Medicine at SHA Wellness Clinic.
The structure of sleep must be a perfect and harmonic alternation of non-REM sleep phases (four different phases) with REM sleep, which occurs half a dozen times during the night with a variable duration.
“However, the process can be altered by many disruptors which, in turn, can be corrected by many regulatory factors, both internal (hormones, neurotransmitters) and external (light, noise, exercise, etc.). However, what is important is the result, and we assess this in terms of quality of life: fatigue, concentration, memory, mood, premature ageing…“, says Dr Vicente Mera.
Knowing the sleep process and controlling overweight
To achieve optimal results, we must know the process of deep sleep (better if it is a professional who reports), as well as the structure of sleep, with tests easy to do at home that determine quite accurately and reproducibly, including sleep latency and awakening.
“There are general recommendations that work every time, such as losing weight. Overweight is the most frequent single cause that alters the structure and process of sleep. Obese people in general terms sleep much worse than those who take care of their weight,” warns the specialist of SHA Wellness Clinic.
Next, Dr Vicente Mera explains 5 handy tips before going to bed and thus promote a night of restful sleep:
1. Prepare for sleep, always before midnight, with some relaxing exercise such as breathing or meditation
Many times we take our problems to bed and turn over what was an exhausting day. This behaviour prevents us from falling asleep, and our brains will continue to toss and turn on our problems even in our sleep. In short: there is no rest possible.
Breathing and relaxation techniques can help us a lot when it comes to putting aside those worries and focusing on what matters, which is to achieve an inner peace that allows us to rest.
During meditation, we can concentrate our attention and eliminate all that confusing and negative flow of thoughts that have settled in our minds and lead us to stress. It is a process that can help us decisively to reach the desired physical and emotional well-being before sleeping.
2. Eat healthy, without excitement or alcohol, and early in the morning
Food is essential to our rest, and that includes eliminating stimulants. And also the schedules: it is not convenient to delay dinner too much, which should be finished before 9:00 p.m. and with enough time to make good digestion.
It is useful to have dinner early to be able to enter a deep sleep because the body temperature must go down and the digestion of the meals, and especially the copious ones, raises the thermogenesis, the capacity that our organism has to generate heat by the metabolic reactions.
3. Perform constant and moderate physical exercise, but never at nighttime
Numerous scientific studies have confirmed that physical exercise and the activation of our body are directly related to better night’s rest and, consequently, an improvement in well-being.
For sleep improvement, the most recommendable thing is to practice exercise in the early hours of the day: you provide energy so that you can perform during the whole day and when the night arrives you will have a better rest.
Nevertheless, to do exercise in the afternoon or the night can have counterproductive effects because you will generate endorphins, and you will cause an acceleration of the organism and the activation of the nervous system. To be before a state of stress and action will make complicated the process of necessary relaxation before sleeping.
4. Avoiding nightly activities in bed that distract from sleep
In these times, it is very common to go to sleep with the TV on, looking at social networks or reading that book that has so much hooked us.
Besides assimilating the famous “blue light” so harmful to sleep that all electronic device screens have, what we will be doing is activating our brain and filling it with new stimuli that will prevent us from relaxing.
5. Avoid nighttime disturbances
It is essential to prepare our “environment” for sleep, to provide the best possible environment to get the best rest and avoid distractions.
Elements such as noise, light, extreme temperatures, electronic devices, intense aromas or uncomfortable beds are elements that will make it difficult to fall asleep and enjoy the least amount of rest.