How your waking hours are spent depend on the quality of your sleep more than you probably realize. Its true that we do spend a lot of our lives in bed and that is on average 1/3 of the day.

But here’s the thing.

Do you feel like truly resting during these hours?

Do you feel refreshed and energized when we wake up?

It would be very easy to say yes to both questions. The answer is, of course, subjective like all most health related topics.

But you may find yourself in a stage of life where the sleep you get just doesn’t seem to do enough for you. You feel lethargic and irritable in the morning and this carries on through the day more often than you would like to admit.

So what’s the best way to improve the sleep you’re getting?

How can you get more of it to improve your health and well being in the long run?

Well, lucky you, here’s a simple guide to everything you need to know about sleep, how it affects your life and what sort of changes you can make to your lifestyle that will change your sleep patterns.

What you need to know to get the best sleep.

Here’s the thing with and major lifestyle change – if you truly want to see great results you’ve got to start off with experimenting and finding out what suits you best. Finding an optimal pattern of lifestyle is key since health benefits and lifestyles are never a one size fits all solution. Try different things and see what gives you the most optimal kind of sleep for best results in terms of mental agility and productivity.

1. Figure out a sleep schedule

FInding your sleeping schedule - Get Alarm Clock

Every human being is born with a circadian rhythm. This is the body’s internal clock and your living hours are regulated as per this internal timekeeping mechanism. The only way to figure out your body’s natural time of resting is to experiment with it. After a few nights you may get a hang of the number of hours and times of the night you need rest.

Once you’ve figured out how your body needs sleep, put it to use with a well defined schedule. Sleep daily on the same time and wake up at the same time as well. Get the number of hours you need and if that’s not possible try to get an afternoon nap in between to cover up for it.

Now a lot of factors may have thrown your body clock off schedule in the past and these may not be easily rectified. If you suffer from insomnia for example be smart about napping and try to avoid it for a full night’s sleep. If you have been feeling lethargic for most of the day try to get some more exercise to keep you awake for more hours.

At the end of the day being able to wake up without an alarm clock and not feeling lethargic means you are right on track and have figured out the most ideal sleep balance for yourself. This may, however, take a few days or weeks to get right.

2. Naturally regulate the sleep wake cycle best for you

The key aspect for better sleep-wake schedules is light exposure. Your body secretes a natural hormone known as melatonin which regulates how sleepy you feel. This hormone depends primarily on light and is thus supposed to be released naturally when its darker. You should feel wide awake in the morning, little bit sleepy in the evening and completely drowsy by night time. So, regulating your exposure to sunlight or other sources of light is the essential ingredient to a good night’s sleep.

If you work in a closed office type environment with barely any exposure to natural sunlight then this may be affecting your sleep pattern. Similarly if you’re in exposure to artificial lights in the night such as a laptop or tv screen then your sleep will be disturbed as well. Try to decrease such exposures to make sure your eyes are well rested and you get better sleep at night.

So here’s how you make sure this happens. Get sun exposure during the day. So take off your sunglasses and go outside as much as you can during the day. At night use a flashlight to go to the toilet, don’t put any of the bright bulbs on, make the room you sleep in extra dark and stay away from iPads, monitors or tv screens right before bed.

The difference light exposure makes to the way you sleep is dramatic.

3. Create a relaxing atmosphere

In the bedroom you must create an ambiance that invites you to rest and relax completely. Keep the lights in the bedroom dim and avoid resting there for most of the day. Your bed should mean only one of two things to your body – sleep or sex. When you stay away from the bed all other times of the day your body will instantly recognize the feeling of the bed as time for rest or romance (Maybe both).

Pay attention to how the room looks and feels too. Keep it clean and fragrant and very inviting for best results. Choose a confortable bed. That said, you need to be very careful with selecting a great mattress and a good pillow for your head. Keep the noise down and light some scented candles.

4. Live healthy

Living healthy is essential for the way you sleep and the way you live your life in general. Try your best to eat the right sort of food and pay attention to what’s good for you. Get at least the minimum amount of exercise daily so that your body is well exhausted before bed time at night. You will be surprised by how much going to the gym, swimming or regular jogs make you sleep better at night.

Another aspect you must pay attention to is the amount of stress and mental anxiety you experience in your day to day life. Try to cut out the factors that are stressing you too much and practice methods for relaxation and calmness. Reduce your workload if you think it may help or practise yoga to cut down on stress related symptoms. Take a deep breath and focus on relaxing more than actually falling asleep when you hit the bed at night so that you can slowly drift off into a deep and rejuvenating sleep.

Important Note: Another thing that you need to pay attention is nutrition. Eating healthy with the necessary vitamin intake every day is a very important factor if you want to get a better sleep. Try no to neglect it.

5. If all else fails, seek an expert

If you’ve tried everything and still feel like your sleep isn’t satisfactory then it might be a good idea to seek an expert to help you recover. There are rare chances that the sleep doesn’t seem to suffice in your case because of medical reasons after all. A doctor may be able to identify the cause of your sleep deprivation and suggest remedies or medication to combat the issue effectively. Don’t hesitate to request a consultation from a doctor if your sleep is unsatisfying. We all know that prevention is better than cure.

A rejuvenation and deep slumber will change the way you junk and feel throughout the day. You’ll feel more emotionally balanced, relaxed and mentally fit by improving the quality of this essential natural process.

Make the effort to change now since the results can be absolutely life changing.

What are your secrets getting a better sleep?

Image Courtesy: monkeybusinessimages/