Health & Fitness

How to Achieve Improved Sleep

1. Consider Quality and Quantity:

Get the Right Kind of SleepThe quality of sleep that you get is crucial and perhaps even more important than the number of hours slept. The results of two studies done by Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, showed that measures of health, fitness, and sleepiness were more directly connected to the quality of sleep rather than the quantity of sleep.

With this in mind, the participants slept 7 hours a night on average. This is the same number of hours that the National Sleep Foundation recommends.

2. Stick to Your Sleep Schedule

It has been revealed that sleep regularity helps to enhance well-being more than trying to “catch up” by extending sleep time on ad-hoc nights. Put it into perspective: when you sleep in once a week as a solution to early mornings and unusually late nights, you don’t necessarily feel like you have gained the benefits of sleep. You will find that sleeping in and snoozing to your alarm can, in fact, lead to you feeling more exhausted and lethargic down the road. A solid sleep routine is an important aspect of the U.S. military’s basic training. “Lights out” at 9 p.m. is strictly practiced by ringing alarm at 5 a.m.

Co-author of The Havard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep, Lawrence Epstein, M.D., reveals in his book that one secret to getting quality sleep is being in sync with your internal clock. Thus, you should try going to bed and waking up at the same time daily, including the weekends. Make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible. Take a look at these Tempurpedic mattress reviews.

3. Remember to Excercise – It Promotes Quality Sleep

A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that individuals who cycle, run, swim, and engage in competitive sports tend to get better sleep and are more mentally active all through the day than the individuals who don’t. It might come as a surprise but working out has a direct connection with the quality of sleep and it maximizes the benefits of sleep for your body. In the poll, 83% of the participants who claimed to regularly engage in vigorous exercises experienced better sleep while, on the other hand, less than half of the non-exercisers did.

4. Take Naps to Recharge When Wiped

We as humans are monophasic sleepers, meaning that we tend to sleep once in a 24-hour period. But we once were biphasic. Ancient Romans, who were aware of the benefits of sleep, always took naps during the afternoons, which they referred to as a “Sexta” – where the Spanish word “siesta” is derived. Deeper historical studies have revealed the tendency of getting a first and second sleep in pre-industrial Britain.

In the current age, we resist our tiredness, however, it just might be more beneficial to give in and retire for a 20-minute to 2-hour nap, as this helps to revitalize our alertness, improve performance, and minimize errors and mishaps. As a matter of fact, a study conducted by NASA on astronauts and sleepy military pilots showed that a 40-minute nap enhanced their performance by 34% and alertness by 100%

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