If there’s one vital tip you can share to your children, what would it be? For many, it’s to get enough sleep and eat your vegetables. A restful sleep and a balanced diet can do more than just strengthen the immune system. It can also make you feel and perform at your best.
However, having a good quality slumber may not be possible for everyone, and for various reasons. According to the American Sleep Association, up to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, with insomnia being the most common condition. Additionally, the organization claims that about 35% of young and mature adults reported having short sleep duration or dozing off less than the recommended seven-hour shuteye.
After ruling out major sleep problems and chronic health issues, you can tweak some of your daily activities to have a more restful snooze. For instance, the time you take your last meal for the day, or the things that you do before you hit the bed, can help spell the difference between a deep slumber or a sleep-deprived evening.
The following tips are helpful in ensuring you get your much-deserved rest every single time.
1. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Comfort plays a huge part in ensuring that you get a sound sleep after hitting the bed. Ensure that your environment is conducive for sleeping. An ideal room is cool, dark, quiet, and calming.
- Keep Your Room Cold. According to experts, the ideal temperature—which experts recommend to be between 60 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 22.0 degrees Celsius)—makes one sleep faster and easier.
- Choose the Right Mattress. Bed mattresses can help you achieve a more restful slumber, too. This, however, depends on your preference and your sleeping position. Ideally, your mattress should be able to support your weight properly. Whether you want it firm or soft, choose an adequately sized mattress, as a cramped sleeping space can make you feel restless.
Apart from your mattress, your pillows, sheets, and blankets may impact your sleeping conditions, as well. Opt for pillows that allow proper neck and spine alignment to prevent neck pain. Maintaining cleanliness and washing your linens regularly are also keys to a more restful sleep, as it gives a warmer and cozier feeling needed to evoke a feeling of comfort.
- Control Light Emissions. The blue light emitted by electronic devices such as mobile phones, tables, and the television, can suppress melatonin production, disrupt your internal clock and make you sleep less hours. Additionally, use block out curtains to reduce ambient light from seeping into your bedroom.
2. Take a Melatonin Supplement
Also dubbed as the sleep hormone, melatonin has sleep-inducing effects and is naturally produced by your body. Science has allowed the creation of melatonin supplements that mimic the said hormone and its effects. One such popular sleep aid comes in the form of cannabidiol or CBD softgels.
Melatonin supplementation is common among persons suffering from insomnia, or those who just crossed several time zones and are suffering from jet lag. In these instances, melatonin supplements could help them get better quality sleep, and for longer periods.
3. Establish a Regular Sleeping Schedule
Setting a regular sleeping schedule can help you get some high-quality shuteye. Try your best to stick to this schedule even during the weekends or when you’re travelling. For those suffering from insomnia, getting up at the same time each day can help train your body to this regular activity.
A regular sleeping pattern may help normalize your circadian rhythm or your body’s internal clock. Your circadian rhythm is responsible for your body’s sleep-wake cycles. Other essential physiological processes such as brain wave patterns, hormone production, cell regeneration, among others, are linked to this cycle.
4. Don’t Do Anything Else in Bed Except Sleep
With a huge chunk of the workforce engaged in work-from-home schemes, there’s no doubt that many are tempted to do their daily grind in the comfort of their bedroom. This, unfortunately, is not an ideal setup, if you want to train your body into sleeping well.
Converting your bedroom into your workspace can subconsciously train your brain to think about work even in the middle of the night, when you should be sleeping. Avoid taking your work in the bedroom, as it can contribute to sleeplessness.
In the same vein, avoid eating and drinking shortly before sleeping as it could prevent you from sleeping soundly. Eating late can perk up your digestive system and keep you awake. Taking a lot of drinks before hitting the bed can also keep you up frequently at night, just to pee. Of all beverages, soda and alcohol affect the quality of your sleep the most.
5. Exercise Regularly
Depending on the time in which you perform your physical activities, regular exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep. Just make sure you don’t engage in physical exercises before bedtime, as it can stimulate your body and mind, which can then cause sleep disruption.
Experts recommend performing exercises at least three hours before tucking yourself in bed. Endorphins, one of the main hormones released after heavy activities, may act as analgesics and sedatives, but only if given enough time. Its immediate effect may keep some more alert and awake.
6. Engage in Smart Napping
It’s common for some with individuals with sleep disorders to suffer from daytime sleepiness. While taking naps may help you keep up with inadequate sleeping hours and rejuvenate your mind, that’s not always the case.
To regulate your circadian rhythm, napping for long hours during the day should be avoided. If you must sleep, taking short naps of up to 20 minutes in the afternoon can prevent you from sabotaging a restful sleep later in the evening.
Stop yourself from getting sleepy way before your bedtime by performing exercises or mild physical activities. Sleeping too early in the night can cause sleep disruption, forcing you to get up in the wee hours, with low chances of sleeping again.
7. Find Ways to Reduce Stress
Serious medical conditions aside, overthinking and stress are major contributors to sleep deprivation. That’s why it’s important to train yourself to postpone worrying, especially when you’re about to retire for the day. If you feel the need to go about your day or to plan for the next day, do it hours before sleeping and outside your bedroom.
If other thoughts are keeping you up, such as business and personal improvements, consider writing your ideas in paper, for a good night’s sleep.
Consider other means to avoid stress by engaging in various relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation may contribute to better sleep quality.
Another option would be to participate in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), where a sleep therapist creates a program for chronic insomnia sufferers to overcome their issues.
CBT aims to address the root cause(s) of sleep problems. It works by helping a sufferer first identify, and then modify, thoughts and behaviors that can help address their lack of sleep. Additionally, CBT can provide you with information about your sleep patterns, sleep changes, and set achievable goals in relation to this information.
The Bottom Line
A high-quality sleep is imperative in maintaining optimal health. Getting less than the ideal hours increases your risk of developing serious health conditions which can negatively impact your well-being. If you’re not suffering from major sleep disorders, consider integrating the tips discussed in this article into your sleeping habits and routine, and start having the best sleep ever.