Lack of restful sleep is exceedingly common. In fact, between the constant over-stimulation and high levels of stress that come with living in the modern world, 1 in 3 adults gets less sleep than is needed for good health.
Research has proven time and time again that quality sleep is vital to a healthy lifestyle. According to the CDC, your risk of becoming obese, developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and mental illness, just to name a few, increases when you sleep less than seven hours a night.
With so much to worry about: finances, health, personal relationships, how do we achieve such a night’s sleep? This is something you no longer have to wonder, as this article will outline 10 ways to help you sleep better, and therefore, lead a healthier, happier life.
1. Break Away from Blue Light
Your cellphone is a wonderful source of information, a convenient way to contact your loved ones, and an endless spring of entertainment. However, your phone, as well as your computer and television, also emits blue light, harmless during the day, but detrimental to your sleep at night.
Use the hour or two before bed to engage in other relaxing activities, such as reading a book while drinking some decaffeinated tea, or treating yourself to a hot bath and soothing music.
2. Nighttime Routines are Your Friend
Speaking of nighttime activities, it is beneficial to create a pre-bedtime routine for yourself. Your body will become familiar with this routine, associating it with relaxation and sleep, therefore increasing your quality of sleep with little to no effort.
Introducing habits such as yoga, meditation, or other quiet practices into your routine will help even more, as these assist your body and mind in reducing stress and achieving relaxation.
3. Bedtimes are Beneficial
You would probably agree that weekends are the best part of the week. Your time off is yours to do with what you will, hopefully without the concerns of work-related responsibilities looming over your head. While you are enjoying this time, however, keep in mind that maintaining a sleep schedule is crucial.
So instead of staying up until 3 in the morning playing Fortnight, only to sleep through much of the following day, do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time you would on a weekday.
4. Keep Your Caffeine Consumption in Check
It’s no secret that caffeine is a stimulant. This easily obtained chemical may be useful for getting things done but should be avoided after a certain time, depending on what time you intend to go to sleep.
The most commonly cited time frame is four to six hours, meaning if you plan to be asleep by 10 pm, your last coffee or soda should be no later than 4 to 6 pm. The specific time comes down to you. If you stop drinking soda at 5 pm and still have trouble sleeping, try increasing the time between caffeine consumption and sleep.
5. Exercise Encourages Exhaustion
Exercising and sufficient stretching provides an abundance of benefits from a lower risk of chronic disease to improved mental health. Among the numerous advantages of exercise are an increase in energy during the day and better sleep at night.
Vigorous exercise is the most beneficial, but even going for a walk around the neighborhood in the evening can help to better your sleep.
6. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
One psychologist estimates that around 11% of adults are afraid of the dark, so if you fall in this percentage, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But sleeping with a light on, especially light from a television or computer, can drastically reduce your quality of sleep. If you can, slowly reduce the amount of light in your room over time, until you are able to sleep in as close to total darkness as possible.
7. Watch What You Eat
Chocolate is delicious, but did you know that the high-level of sugar contained in this popular treat can actually keep you up at night? Not just sugary snacks, either, heavy foods close to bedtime can also prevent you from falling asleep. While there’s nothing wrong with a light nighttime snack, stick to healthy, low or no sugar alternatives.
8. Temperature Can Tamper with Your Sleep
Waking up in a sweat is no fun. Although doing so from a nightmare every now and then is virtually unavoidable, overheating in the night due to a high thermostat temperature is an easier problem to fix.
The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If possible, keep your bedroom close to this range at night to help you in both falling and staying asleep.
9. Comfort is King
It may seem obvious, but if your bed or pillow are uncomfortable to you, they will be unable to provide you with the level of sleep you need. Especially if you have noticed your sleep has decreased over time, or the level of stiffness and discomfort you experience in the morning has increased, it might be time to get a new mattress.
That being said, don’t just assume that the most expensive mattress on the market the one that will solve your problem. Don’t be afraid to test mattresses in the store, and do your best to find what works for you in terms of firmness, size, and type.
10. Supplements for Restful Sleep
If you have given all of the above a concerted effort and nothing seems to work, sleep supplements can be helpful. Although you have most certainly heard a few sleeping pill horror stories, there are many natural choices available that don’t require you to consume substances you would rather avoid.
Melatonin, for example, is a chemical produced by your body to induce sleep and can be purchased in supplement form to boost the body’s natural output. Another option is CBD, a substance derived from cannabis or hemp, which comes in oils, supplements, even gummies, and can reduce stress on top of aiding in quality and quantity of sleep. You can read more if you’d like further information about CBD and its benefits, specifically those regarding sleep.
Sleep Well, Be Well
If you read this list and thought, “oh my, I’m doing absolutely everything wrong,” don’t stress. Lifestyle changes can be challenging, but taking it one step at a time will eventually lead to success and, before you know it, you’ll be sleeping better than ever before. After putting some or all of these tips into practice, restful sleep will be a breeze, allowing you to lead a healthier life.
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