Sleep Better With Runtastic Pt. 5: Fall Asleep Easier And Wake Up Refreshed
You go to bed at night, get comfortable, pull the sheets up to your chin and then… nothing. You’re wide awake, staring into the darkness. Despite counting imaginary sheep, sleep seems far away. Does that sound familiar? What about this? Your alarm clock jolts you out of your dreams, you press snooze at least five times, then drag yourself to the kitchen where you turn on the coffee machine with one eye open. But, why does this happen and what can we do to fight against this looking-glass world?
The consequences of sleep deprivation on our body are not to be underestimated–a weakened immune system, increased blood pressure which can lead to cardiovascular diseases, or psychological stress including disorientation are just a few examples.
Fatigue is part of life, yet it doesn’t always occur when we would prefer to feel tired. We have done some research on what makes us tired or awake, and when, as well as how to best combat morning fatigue and revived spirits come bed time. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to wake up refreshed the next morning?
* Let’s go: sports & exercise
Physical activity is often proclaimed THE recipe for good sleep. However, that’s not 100% true, as it really depends on the time of day. Working out during the day does usually cater for good quality sleep. If we are active late in the evening, on the other hand, we’re usually still too active and wide awake to fall asleep. If you can’t fit your workouts into your daily routine before the evening, try out calmer exercise variations like yoga or walking.
* A sip of…: alcohol
Right after having a glass of wine or beer in the evening, we do become more tired. However, that doesn’t mean it improves our sleep. While alcohol might help us fall asleep faster, it actually reduces our sleep quality. This leads to interrupted sleep during the night or early morning hours.
* O2: fresh air
If the body receives too little oxygen (O2), we feel tired. Quickly ventilate the room or spend a few minutes outside to dispel fatigue in the morning or during the day. Plus, oxygen works both ways: fresh air also helps with sleeping. Fifteen minutes of airing out the room before you hit the sack will improve your sleep quality.
* The enlightenment: day light
The fact that our predecessors mostly got up at dawn and went to sleep at dusk is not a coincidence. Our bodies are geared by the sunlight, following the so-called circadian rhythm. This is why we fall asleep easier in a dark room. For the same reason, getting up seems easier with light. So, let there be light! Special alarm clocks with daylight simulators imitating sunrise help real sleepyheads rise and shine.
* Tic, toc: the right timing
Especially when it comes to waking up, perfect timing is crucial. If you struggle at the start of your day, this might be due to your alarm clock jolting you out of a deep sleep phase. Smart alarms are designed to remedy this–their intelligent alarm feature wakes you in a light sleep phase within a certain wake-up window (a customizable time frame chosen by you).
* Hot or cold: temperature
Also the right temperature can make a difference. Cool surroundings (ideally between 60 to 65°F / 16 to 18°C) ease us into dream land. That’s where the ventilating comes into play. The same works in the morning: open the windown for a short air exchange and your tiredness will be blown away. Our tip for all those who just can’t bring themselves to crawl out from under their duvet during winter time: Place some fluffy socks and a warm, comfy sweater or robe next to your bed and wrap yourself in cozyness upon stepping out of your bed.
…and what about counting sheep?
Having sheep jump over the fence can, but does not necessarily aid in falling asleep. In some cases, this technique can even provoke the opposite–when you lose count. Some people might get angry, thereby stirring up their thought processes again. Counting sheep is exhausting. Instead, think about something nice, like memories of a beautiful, relaxing vacation, and you’ll fall asleep much faster 🙂
Obviously, other factors like stress or even the weather influence our sleep and perception of tiredness. If stress and sorrows, no matter if work-related or of private nature, keep you up at night, try these relaxation techniques or browse our useful sleeping tips. Because restful nights are still the best remedy for fatigue.