Are you having difficulty sleeping at night? You’re not alone. In fact, Singapore is one of the most sleep-deprived nation, according to a 2018 online poll conducted by Wakefield Research.



The lack of sleep can elevate your risk of serious health problems (e.g. hypertension, heart disease and stroke) in the long run. Read on to find out how you can improve your sleep quality.



1. Drink chamomile tea


Besides improving immunity and reducing inflammation, chamomile tea has been shown to enhance sleep quality. Apigenin, an antioxidant found in this tea, binds to specific brain receptors, which in turn decrease insomnia.



2. Stay away from caffeine late in the day


Avoid consuming foods that contain caffeine (including coffee, tea, chocolate and soda) in the later part of the day. Caffeine can result in one having trouble falling asleep and frequent awakenings throughout the night.



3. Refrain from drinking alcohol near bedtime


Although alcohol may induce sleep in the first couple of hours after consumption, it subsequently decreases rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, contributing to a poor-quality sleep.



4. Quit smoking


As nicotine is a stimulant, smokers generally have disrupted sleep, with more frequent awakenings.



5. Exercise regularly in the day


Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise can lengthen the sleep duration in patients with severe insomnia by 18%, decreasing the time to fall asleep and frequency of awakenings.



However, you are not recommended to exercise less than 3 hours prior to bedtime as exercise increases your alertness.



6. Cut down on your night time exposure to blue light


Blue light emitted from devices (e.g. phones and computers) cause your brain to interpret that it is daytime and lower the production of sleep-regulating melatonin. As such, you should avoid using your electronic devices before heading to bed, install an app to block blue light or wear spectacles with blue light protection.



7. Relieve stress


You should relax your mind and body before bedtime. You can meditate, have a warm shower, or listen to classical music. 


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