Sleep is pretty important. In fact, sleep is a vital factor for your overall health; and how well you sleep is more than important – it’s crucial for a productive lifestyle. Sure, you can go without sleep for a little while, but short-term effects wreak havoc on your memory and energy. Long-term effects can negatively influence your cardiovascular-health, increase the likelihood of you developing diabetes, and even cause a stroke.
Getting the required 7 to 9 hours of sleep that is recommended for adults is important, and your sleep quality during these hours can determine if you wake feeling refreshed or groggy and longing for a few more hours of sleep. Vital for sleep quality is how easily you get to sleep each night, and the following tips can help get you drifting off to the restorative rest you deserve.
1. Your Sleep Surface Matters
Your sleep surface influences your comfort, and many people are unaware of how their personal position preferences determine how well they sleep. Your sleep position affects your posture, and choosing the correct surface is important for a good night’s rest. Side-sleepers generally need a more plush fabric in order to help provide contouring to the hips and shoulders and keep their spine aligned. Back-sleepers and stomach-sleepers need a firmer surface to help hold up these areas for spinal support. Pick the wrong surface and you may increase the amount of pressure on your pressure points, causing you to toss and turn, and struggle to get comfortable each night.
When we sleep our body naturally drops in temperature. You can help influence this by using different ways to help you keep cool; either using products specific to your sleeping surface, or by turning down your thermostat. Taking advantage of fans or cooler night air can also be helpful in keeping a cooler room through the night. The ideal room temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees fahrenheit, and should help create a better environment to fall asleep faster in.
3. Get Rid of Electronics
As much as we may like to watch tv or scroll through social media before bed, these types of electronics emit blue light which mimics daylight. When your brain registers this light, it’s tricked into thinking that it should still be awake and active. Melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep, is also inhibited which keeps you from drifting off to sleep. Turn off your electronics at least an hour before heading off to bed to allow your natural sleep process to kick in and and let you get to sleep with ease.
4. Pass On Your Afternoon Cup of Coffee
Caffeine and sugar can stay in our systems for up to 6 hours. Since your body may still be processing it when you are trying to sleep, it might not be quite ready for rest. Caffeine also works to block the natural brain chemical associated with sleep, which may influence how well you rest. Everybody reacts differently to this stimulus of course, but a general rule of thumb is no coffee after lunch.
5. Hydrate and Dehumidify
Similar to the cooler sleep environment I mentioned above, is the support of your body’s own temperature regulation. Keeping yourself well hydrated is directly related to your body’s natural cooling process. Another way to manage this is to keep a dehumidifier running within your house or bedroom to help draw moisture out of the air. When your environment feels muggy your body is less able to cool off since humidity inhibits evaporation.
6. Create Habits to Wind Down
Get yourself into a rhythm leading up to your bedtime and try to follow it each night. Whether you watch a little television before taking care of your nightly bathroom routines, or you choose to lay in bed and read, following the same pattern will help your body prepare for your upcoming rest. Dimming lights and letting your body relax before committing to bed is also a good way to look forward to the night’s sleep.
7. Use Technology and Track Your Needs
Even though you shouldn’t be using your electronics, having an app that is connected to a device you wear (or is near to your bed to track your habits) can be an excellent way to pinpoint what may be interrupting your sleep. Things like snoring, restlessness, temperature, or ambient noise can all be a part of this experience for a better night’s rest.
Sleep is important. How well you sleep is even more important and is related to your overall health and happiness. Simple changes such as temperature control, cutting out afternoon caffeine breaks, and creating consistent nighttime habits can all help you get to sleep more quickly each night. Consider adding in a few of these tips for a deeper, more restful sleep. Who knows? You might be surprised to find a happier, more rested you!
Guest post by: The sleep judge