10 tips for healthy sleep
How to get a good night’s sleep
The quality of your sleep is very important and it directly affects the quality of your waking life. No other activity delivers so many benefits, especially with so little effort!
Getting enough quality sleep and getting it at the right time helps you to function well throughout the day. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make an enormous difference to the quality of your nightly sleep.
To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, start by assessing your own individual needs and habits. Then, start working towards getting that “magic number” so you can reap the benefits of sleep.
10 tips for a good night’s sleep
The following tips will help you fall asleep faster and optimize your sleep so you can be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.
Establish a regular sleep/wake schedule – Setting a regular bedtime schedule, even at weekends, helps to regulate your body clock – your circadian rhythm. This is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late at weekends can disrupt your body clock's sleep–wake rhythm. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in small daily increments.
Be physically active – Try to exercise regularly. You do not have to join a gym or take part in vigorous exercise. As little as thirty minutes of daily activity, like walking, will help you sleep more deeply at night.
Create a sleep conducive bedroom – The bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary, which helps you to feel comfortable and, fall asleep easily. Make sure the temperature of the bedroom is comfortable for you and that the bedroom is well ventilated. Also, make sure external lights are blocked off by installing blackout curtains or blinds; darkness induces sleep. Ideally, your bedroom should also be free from any noise.
Make sure your bed is comfortable – A good mattress and pillows will make a world of difference. Invest in a good quality mattress that supports your body and comfortable pillows that support your head and neck. After all, you are spending one third of your life sleeping; treat yourself!
Wind down before bedtime – Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode. An hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep do a calming and relaxing activity such as soaking in a hot bath, listening to soothing music or reading a book.
Avoid bright lights – Avoid watching TV or using a laptop, smartphone or tablet in bed. The type of light emitted by such devices may signal the brain that it is time to be awake.
Avoid caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant and its effect can last up to eight hours. Consider cutting caffeine four to six hours before bed.
Avoid nicotine – Try not to smoke near bedtime (or if you awake in the night). Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant that disrupt sleep. Also, smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.
Avoid alcohol before bed –Whilst alcohol might make you fall asleep faster, it reduces your sleep quality. Try to avoid drinking alcohol close to bedtime.
Avoid heavy meals before bed –Try to have your dinner two to three hours before bedtime and be aware of what food you are eating. Fatty foods take a lot of time to digest and might keep you awake. Also eating large or spicy meals before bedtime can interrupt your sleep, as they can cause heartburn and indigestion.
If you are still experiencing problems falling asleep or having a good night sleep after trying following the tips listed above, you might have a sleep disorder that requires professional treatment. Do not hesitate to speak to your doctor.
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