Written by: Cassie Bondie
The quality of your sleep directly correlates with your physical and mental health. Your sleep habits carry the potential to have a big impact on your quality of life. Sound sleep can result in increased energy, an improved immune system, and even a better mood during the day. Keep reading if you are interested in developing better sleep habits and improving your lifestyle!
- Get enough sleep
Making sure you get plenty of rest is essential to experiencing the benefits of healthy sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night in order to function at their best. Getting a sufficient amount of rest will help you stay energized throughout the entirety of the day, and this will make you more productive. Adequate sleep will even improve your mood and give you a more optimistic outlook on the day ahead. If you have a difficult time waking up in the morning or find yourself feeling drowsy in the afternoon, you may not be getting enough sleep. Even if you have a very busy schedule, it is important to get an appropriate amount of rest. Insufficient rest can negatively impact your ability to think critically, problem solve, and use your motor skills. Lack of sleep can also interfere with concentration, learning, and creativity. A mere six hours of sleep may seem like enough, but even one hour less than the suggested minimum can result in a big difference. Adding one extra hour of rest to your nightly schedule will likely help you operate more efficiently and think more positively.
- Stick to your sleep schedule
In general, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day, including weekends. Sleeping in a bit later on weekends is a well-deserved treat you may enjoy, but try to keep your schedule fairly similar each day to ensure your sleep cycle remains in tact. Of course, sometimes changes are inevitable, especially if you are traveling. It can take over a week to adjust to a new time zone. If you sleep in late on the weekends, this can give you a feeling similar to jet-lag during the rest of the week. When you must miss out on sleep time during the week, try to make up for this with a daytime nap rather than sleeping in on the weekend. A brief nap is less likely to interfere with your sleep cycle. Try to limit the nap to about twenty minutes to prevent staying up late at night.
- Soak in natural sunlight and avoid blue-light
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Your brain releases more melatonin when it is dark, which helps you fall asleep. When it is light, your brain releases less of this hormone to make you more alert. Natural light on your face will help you wake up in the morning. Exposing yourself to the sun, even through a window, when you have your breakfast and morning coffee will help you feel more energized. If you work indoors, try to get a desk that is near a window to improve your mood and increase your productivity.
Exposing yourself to light that is not natural for prolonged periods of time can harm your eyes. The blue-light created by computers, televisions, and tablets can interfere with your sleep. Instead of watching TV or using your tablet right before bed, you can try reading a book or listening to music to avoid this unnatural light.
- Exercise during the day
Following a workout routine can increase the amount of time you enjoy the deeply restorative stages of sleep. Even light exercise for just a few minutes a day will improve your sleep quality. You may not notice a difference in the quality of your sleep immediately. It is important to be patient and focus on sticking to the routine. Try to exercise in the morning or afternoon. If you are very active too close to bedtime, it can interfere with your rest. Simple stretches before bed, however, can help you relax before going to sleep.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink
If you are having difficulty falling asleep at night, it could be related to your diet. Before bed, try to avoid caffeinated drinks and foods that contain a great deal of sugar. Caffeine and sugar can make it very difficult for you to fall asleep. If you enjoy these, try to consume them earlier in the day. Stay away from eating spicy food in the evening if it tends to give you heartburn. Drinking too many fluids close to bedtime should be avoided as well.
Although there are some foods you may want to avoid, there are also many foods that can help you sleep better. The magnesium found in almonds and bananas promotes muscle relaxation, making these highly beneficial bedtime snacks. Oatmeal also contains magnesium in addition to plenty of potassium. Both of these contribute to healthy sleep. Many fish are rich in vitamin B6, which promotes the creation of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps you sleep well. Halibut, salmon, and tuna are particularly rich in melatonin-inducing vitamin B6. Miso soup is also a great option for increasing melatonin production.
- Manage your stress productively
Focusing on sources of stress like work or school directly before bed can keep you awake at night. It is also important to avoid stressful conversations late at night. Learning how to deal with stress in a productive way can aid you in sleeping better at night. One way to do this is by utilizing a planner. Earlier in the day, write your thoughts into a planner and organize the upcoming days. This can get a lot off of your mind and prepare you for the days ahead. Being prepared will help you feel confident and enable you to be able to relax later in the evening. Try to focus on something positive before going to bed. Read on for tips for relaxing before bedtime.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine
Create a routine for the evening that helps calm your mind. You can wind down by listening to soft music or reading a book. Stretching is a beneficial activity to engage in before bed since it can help prevent stiffness. Taking a warm bath is another enjoyable way to prepare for bed. Sleep-inducing scents like chamomile, sandalwood, and lavender are excellent choices.
- Turn off your phone before bed
It is important to avoid stress right before bed. Thinking about stressful situations can make it difficult for you to relax and fall asleep. Since phones contain so much information about our lives, they can be a source of stress. The blue-light from your phone can also make it more difficult to sleep. Detaching yourself from your phone at night is a great way to avoid worrying about your calendar or relationships on social media right before going to bed. If you do choose to distance yourself from your phone at night, you can still keep the alarm on and turn the volume down for notifications.
- Use your alarm wisely
A common piece of advice is to turn off the snooze function on your alarm. The short moments of sleep you get between waking up to hit snooze are not beneficial. If needed, you can put your alarm somewhere far away so you must get out of bed to turn it off. Of course, make sure the alarm is close enough to hear! Many people have an alarm set for when to wake up, but it is also a great idea to set an alarm for when it is time to go to sleep. Setting an alarm at night will help you stick to your sleep schedule. Going to bed at the same time each night is a healthy sleep habit that will keep your body operating efficiently.
- Create a relaxing sleeping environment
A relaxing space for rest is necessary for quality sleep. Although a quiet space is preferred by many people, some sleepers are not comfortable without any sound. Getting a noise machine might be a good idea if you are one such person. These machines play relaxing recordings from places like forests and oceans. A machine like this can also be helpful if there is disruptive noise coming into your bedroom from outside.
Temperature is another important factor to consider. We carry blankets and duvet covers in many different weights. It is a good idea to invest in both a lightweight option for summer and a heavier option for the winter months. Many people enjoy the feel of a cool pillow, and we offer many pillows enhanced with cooling gel to help you achieve this feeling.
If you find yourself waking up with a sore back or neck, you may want to try experimenting with a different mattress or pillow. Adding a foam topper can also help create the right level of comfort for you. Back, side, and stomach sleepers all have different needs when it comes to comfort and support. You can use our simple Comfort Scale as a guide to help you create the best sleeping environment for your needs.
When it comes to sleeping better, we are always here to help!