Good sleep is one of the foundations of good health. It keeps you alert, improves learning, and helps manage stress. The physical benefits are enormous too; your immune system does a better job of fighting disease, blood sugar levels go down, and there’s a lower risk of obesity.
As much as we’d love to enjoy great sleep every night, it can sometimes be elusive. In fact, back in 2013, Americans were found to be sleeping an average of 6.8 hours a night compared to 9 hours in 1910. That’s a huge drop considering just how important getting better sleep is. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and a poor sleeping environment can contribute to keeping you awake at night. Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom. Adopting better sleeping habits can turn things around.
Going to bed with your phone or laptop is a bad idea. The glare from the screen slows your body’s melatonin production, which is a hormone that tells the brain it’s time to sleep. According to research done by Central Queensland University, people take a longer time to fall asleep when they use their phones for over an hour after turning off their bedroom lights. They also slept between midnight and half past and slept in an hour longer the next morning. On the other hand, those who weren’t on their phones after dark had two hours of extra sleep.
Rather than checking social media and emails in the run-up to bedtime, do so an hour before going to sleep. Use the time to wind down by reading a book or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing.
A bedroom should be the most relaxing room in the house. It should calm and de-stress you so that falling asleep is easier. There are a few ways to make yours the ultimate sleeping environment. You can dim the lights to encourage melatonin production and lead your body towards sleep. Also, you can set the thermostat to between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit to lower your core body temperature which helps you to fall asleep.
You should make sure that your bed is as comfortable as it can be. In fact, the perfect mattress for you can make a big difference in how well you sleep. It should provide the support your body needs and provide comfort so that you sleep through the night.
A mattress like Nuvanna is what you should look for because it meets all these requirements. It features a multi-layered construction that cools your body, reduces motion transfer, and supports your spine. It uses a cooling gel layer on top that disperses body heat and a middle motion-control layer so you won’t be disturbed by your partner’s movement. Its bottom layer supports different body parts and aligns the spine. Created by an industry expert with two decades of experience, Nuvanna makes sure you enjoy restful, uninterrupted sleep each night.
Exercise is known to lower stress and anxiety which could keep you up at night. However, it also triggers a spike in body temperature. If you exercise late in the day, this spike could prevent you from falling asleep since sleep comes more easily when the core temperature drops. What you can do the exercise in the morning or early afternoon to give your body enough time to cool down by bedtime.
There’s no point in trying to sleep when you’re not sleepy. Forcing yourself will only leave you frustrated. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something that relaxes you. You could write in your journal, listen to an audiobook, draw, knit or play a musical instrument. These are low-impact activities that are calming and can help you fall asleep.
Sleeping and waking at different hours can disrupt your body’s internal clock. It affects the quality of your sleep which can make you feel tired and sleepy the next day. Try to build a consistent bedtime routine where you sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
Eating too late at night can affect your sleep in a bad way. A survey conducted among 400 university students showed that 18 percent believed food led to disturbing dreams. Eating too much dairy and spicy foods also contributed to confusing dreams. Researchers believe that this could be due to gastrointestinal discomfort caused by late night snacking. What you should do is keep a gap or about three hours between dinner and sleep.
A few drinks can make you drowsy, and it’s easy to think that a nightcap will help you sleep. The problem is that while it does make you fall asleep, it also ruins sleep quality. It blocks rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the restorative part of the sleep cycle. It can also aggravate breathing problems as it completely relaxes the body and the muscles of the throat. It can also cause you to visit the bathroom more frequently at night. Alcohol is a diuretic, and so it increases production of urine.
We know caffeine is a stimulant which is why many of us consume it when we have to stay up late. But if you need better sleep, don’t have any after 3 pm as it takes half of the caffeine you consume 4-6 hours to leave your body. It isn’t just coffee you should cut out either; foods like chocolate, ice cream, hot cocoa, and pudding all contain caffeine and can keep you up.
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A power nap can be just the thing to boost your energy and keep you alert especially if you’re having a busy day. Just be sure to take it in the day and not the evening as a late nap can interfere with nighttime sleep and will keep you awake. Try to nap at around 2 or 3 pm, and for no longer than 30 minutes otherwise, you’ll feel groggy.
Not many of us realize just how much tight clothing can affect our sleep. It can overheat us and make us feel uncomfortable. It can also constrict circulation. Wear loose-fitting clothes instead and choose fabrics that are breathable so that you don’t get too hot. You’ll feel a lot more relaxed and will be able to sleep better.
It isn’t too late to reverse the trend of poor sleep. By incorporating healthy sleeping habits in your life, you can enjoy uninterrupted slumber and reap its many benefits. Make an effort to wind down before bed, have a relaxing sleeping environment, and cut out habits that keep you awake at night. Over time, you’ll see a significant improvement in your sleep quality.