5 Tips for an optimal nighttime sleep

When you’re laying in bed after a long and busy day, hoping for a good night’s rest, the trouble starts: you can’t get to sleep. After a few hours staring at the ceiling and overthinking your day, you wake up being more tired than before. Recognisable? That could very well be, because almost a quarter of the Dutch population experiences sleep deprivation. One night of bad sleep isn’t a total disaster, but the more you experience sleep deprivation, the more it takes a toll on both physical and mental health. And that is something we’re here to prevent. That’s why this blog will give you 5 tips for an optimal nighttime sleep.

1. Quantity: get enough rest

Plenty of sleep is important to restore your physical and mental energy. Another important factor is the time you give your brains to process all the impressions and impulses you’ve experienced that day. But what is ‘enough’ sleep? The amount of sleep you need differs per person and is also variable based on age. A newborn baby needs 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day, whereas adults suffice with 7 to 9 hours sleep per day. Checking the sufficient quantity of resting hours is simple: you have a healthy rhythm when you fall asleep easily at night, and wake up feeling rested the day after.

2. Quality: a good sleep

Besides the quantity of sleep, you’ll also need a qualitative sleep. The quality of sleep can be improved in several ways. First of all, make sure that your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet and you have a comfortable sleeping spot. Second, any screens such as tv’s, tablets and also smartphones should be forbidden in the bedroom. The light that emits from screens disrupts the production of the melatonin hormone. Lastly, the quality of sleep can be significantly improved when you have a standard rhythm and maintain this by sleeping at the same time, every night. You’ll automatically wake up around the same time too.

3. Food is important too

Eating the right amount of healthy foods is a basic principle of a healthy lifestyle, and also plays a definite part in the quality of your sleep. A few specific tips when it comes to food and sleep: don’t eat solid foods 2 to 3 hours before sleeping, do not drink coffee with caffeine at night, and lastly do not consume alcohol right before sleeping. Besides these specific tips about food and sleep quality, it is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout the day for proper energy maintenance.

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4. Upgrading your sleep with physical activity

By tiring your body with physical activity during the day, you’ll experience a better night’s rest. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, but preferably even more than that. By physical activity we mean a broad definition of exercise: like working out, but also going for a long walk or bike ride to work for example. When you’ve done sufficient activities you’ll experience a tired feeling in your body which will help you fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper. Either in turn helps with improving your quality of sleep and therefore life. Do mind the following: do not exercise right before sleeping. If you do so, your heart rate, body temperature and metabolism will increase significantly after working out, resulting in staring at the ceiling again. Rather exercise in the morning, afternoon or start of your evening.

5. Come down before going to bed

As logical as it may sound, a lot of people tend not to do this. They’re still on their phones and busy in their head planning their next day, right before heading to bed. Rather grab a moment of tranquility before hitting the sack. You could read a book, listen to quiet music or try doing some relaxation exercises such as sleep meditation. By doing so, you’ll give yourself enough time to relax and fall asleep faster and better.

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