All living things have a type of internal clock, called the circadian rhythm. This refers to the 24-hour cycle of activity and sleep, which is affected by the alternation of day and night, light and darkness.
The part of the brain called the hypothalamus is the one that manages the circadian rhythm by processing the information (as happens when the eye detects light) and creating sleep habits. The wake-sleep cycle gives the signal to go to bed. If you have sleep problems, a bedtime routine can help. Rest is essential to normal body processes. It is important to learn to avoid things that might affect sleep and try to take steps to improve it, to rest well.
– Regulation of the natural sleep-wake cycle – Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Production of melatonin is controlled by light exposure. To stimulate the production of melatonin at night, turn off the TV and computer, do not read information on lighting devices (such as an iPad), avoid bright lights and make sure you sleep in a dark room. To go to the bathroom at night, use a flashlight.
– Use a comfortable pillow and mattress – Make sure your mattress is comfortable and appropriate for you. Mattresses should be changed after 9-10 years of use. Pads will be more comfortable and attractive. Indicated is that the pillows and mattress to be treated against allergens.
– Take your last meal at least 2-3 hours before sleep – If you eat or drink too much you will not feel comfortable when you sleep. It is best to avoid a big meal before bedtime. Spicy foods can cause heartburn , which will lead to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. However, do not go to bed with an empty stomach or hungry. Eat lighter and smaller amounts of food. Try to limit your intake of fluids close to bedtime to prevent nocturne awakenings due to physiological needs. However, for some people, milk and herbal teas without caffeine, serve and help maintain a calming soothing bedtime routines.
– Creating an environment conducive to sleep – A dark, quiet, comfortable and cool room can help you fall asleep faster and rest better. Your sleep should not be interrupted by your partner that could snore, a too hot environment or dry air. Consider using blackout curtains, eye protection, earplugs, humidifiers, fans and other devices that could contribute to a restful sleep.
– Avoid drinking alcohol near bedtime – Although many people believe that alcohol has the same role as a sedative, it can actually interrupt the sleep, causing nighttime awakenings. Because alcohol, you’ll sleep less restful.
– Go to bed at the same time constantly – Choose a time of day when you feel tired, so you do not change your mind after you sit in bed and you realize that you are not sleepy enough. Try not to change this routine even on weekends, when it can be tempting to stay up late. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adapt to this change by gradually changing bedtime, such as 15 minutes (plus or minus, as appropriate) every day.
– Take a nap to compensate for lost sleep – If you need to recover a few hours of sleep, rather opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping until later the next day. This strategy allows you to adjust the rest without disturbing the natural rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle, which often can turn into insomnia and can make you feel very tired.
– Sleep smart during the day – A nap can be a good way for you to adjust your energy level. The strategy, however, can trigger insomnia in older people. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating sleep during the day. If you want to sleep less, sleep only early morning and do not sleep for more than 30 minutes.
– Wake up each day at the same time – If enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to go to bed an hour earlier. As with bedtime, try to wake up regularly, even on weekends.
– Relax – The hours before bedtime should be quiet. Read, listen to nice music in the background, take a warm bath, meditate or write in your journal. All these things will allow your body to relax after a hectic day and create the mood prior to sleep.
– Exercise on a regular basis – It is best to complete your physical activities at least a few hours before bedtime. In general, regular exercise will help you sleep easier and will contribute to better sleep.
However, exercising sporadically or shortly before going to bed will prevent you from sleeping. In addition, to increase the alert level, the body temperature increases during exercise and takes about 6 hours to drop. Therefore, it is necessary to exercise at least three hours before bedtime. Afternoon exercises can help you rest better at night.