With the busy lives that we lead today, it is getting difficult to even get the recommended 8 hours of sleep . For some of us, we feel fatigued even when we get the recommended 8 hours of sleep or more. So, we wonder how to get good quality sleep and feel energetic even with 6-8 hours of sleep. In this blog, we will discuss about how to improve the quality of our sleep and in turn our life.
Sleep is probably the most important thing for a human. A human can go without food for longer time than without sleep. We all know how fresh we feel when we sleep well.
How much should we really sleep?
The 8 hours of sleep that is recommended is only a guideline and it is subject to some changes based on your age, personality, daily regime, food and many other parameters.
I personally observed that on some days I get up feeling very active and complete even when I got the same amount of sleep that I usually get. This made me realize that it is not only the number of hours of sleep, but it is also about the quality of the sleep. The quality of the sleep depends on what your body is doing while you are asleep. Researchers say that too much sleep is as bad as too little sleep. So, when it comes to sleep it is not only about the number of hours of sleep.
We all have an inherent personal clock that helps each of us to be at our best. When doctors and researchers say that 8 hours is the recommended sleep time, what they are essentially saying is the inherent personal sleep pattern is somewhere around 8 hours for all types of people. So, a good way to figure out your sleep cycle is as below.
- Check on when do you have to get up in the morning and sleep 7.5 hours before that. The average person goes through five cycles of 90 minute REM sleep.
- If you are getting up just before your alarm, then you found a good time for yourself. If not, increase the time by 15 minutes and continue.
What should we eat to have a good quality sleep?
- If we have a very heavy meal just before going to bed, then your body spends more energy on digestion and less energy on a good REM sleep. So, it is always recommended to not have a very heavy dinner and immediately go to sleep. Having the meal early in the evening and sleeping after 4 hours helps you to get quality sleep in only 6 sleep hours.
- We all know that we should avoid alcohol, spicy foods, sugar and caffeine before sleep. While alcohol makes you feel dizzy, it actually interferes with you entering REM sleep.
- Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs: It is not about carbohydrates or proteins. It is about good carbs vs. bad carbs. Good carbs are those unprocessed natural carbohydrates that look like they came from earth. Bad carbohydrates are packaged and processed food. For more, refer this link.
- Start with a healthy breakfast filled with eggs, nuts, bananas, seeds and then some carbohydrates and proteins. Always have lean meat as much as possible instead of eating in heavy quantities.
- The best time to eat a heavy meal is in the afternoon. However, a heavy meal in the afternoon might make you feel sleepy in the office. It is not a bad idea to have a cup of coffee to keep yourself up in the afternoon. The only thing is sugars and caffeine are really bad in the night before sleep.
- Have Vitamin B, fresh vegetables, less spicy food, and low calorie but nutrient heavy foods such as fruits. Fatty foods and processed carbs only load you up, but they don’t really give you the nutrients and vitamins you need. And always hydrate yourself well before sleep. A glass of milk before night helps you sleep well because of the release of tryptophan.