Sleep is a natural process, just like breathing. But as we breathe shallow, we also sleep shallow — if we do manage to get some sleep. Insomnia is a very frequent issue nowadays, when job tasks and family needs keep us awake. An adult should get at least eight hours of sleep each night in order to feel rested and be in a good mood. However, a third of all adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, and women are more prone to insomnia than men.
If science can tell us that much about sleep, it can also help us improve our sleeping patterns, so here are some useful tips, backed by sleep science. 1. De-clutter your house. Clutter makes you feel anxious, even if you don’t realize it. According to science, it also promotes insomnia. All the things that lie around your house, particularly in your bedroom, make you feel like you still have plenty of things to do. This need for work is quick to chase away your sleep, so make sure you clean your room and remove all the clutter.
2. Block the sun and the noise.
If you want to have a good night’s sleep, do block the light and the noise, especially if you are a woman. Women were found to have different circadian rhythms than men, so in their case, blocking the light and the noise is more important. You can use a sleep mask or curtains and sleep earplugs to improve your sleep and make sure you won’t be wide awake early in the morning. 3. Fix your relationship issues. It’s common knowledge that lack of sleep puts pressure on relationships because it makes you anxious and moody, but science found this is a two-way road. Relationship issues also affect how much sleep you get. If you are feeling anxiety or sadness from relationship stress, this is bound to reduce your quality of sleep. It makes sense, then, that couples with fewer sleep problems tend to report being happier. Sleep deprivation and relationship issues are therefore interconnected, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell which comes first. In other words, chances are, changing one’s sleep habits might improve relationship quality. If you want to sleep well, solve your love problems.
4. Embrace naps.
Before the industrial age people were sleeping during the day. But the rise of new work schedules made these naps impossible and is now making us all sleep-deprived zombies. Because most people are chronically sleep deprived, a nap during the day might be the only way to get enough rest. In fact, a 30-minute nap is more effective than a cup of coffee and has the added benefit of not messing with your nightly sleep pattern.
5. Eat more fiber. What you eat has a great influence on how you sleep. To make sure you will be sleeping for eight hours each night, get more fiber. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed individuals who eat more fiber-heavy foods, such as leafy greens, sleep better and deeper. At the same time, saturated fats and carbs promote insomnia, so avoid them if you already have trouble sleeping.
6. Try therapy. If you have severe sleeping issues, it may be time to call a professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy was shown to have a positive effect on patients who suffer from insomnia. One single session might be enough to help you sleep better. Another thing you can try is relaxation training, which helps you relax completely and can bring along a better sleep.