One of the main steps to living a balanced and healthy life is getting enough rest and better sleep at night. How much sleep you get can affect your mood, how you treat others, and the overall outcome of your day. But it often goes forgotten that how well you sleep at night is caused by your daily lifestyle and routines. We have a few tips to change your habits to help you get the good night sleep you deserve.
It may seem childish to some, but make and keep a set sleep schedule, and always remember, consistency is key! The use of technology in our lives has helped us be able to stay awake into the early hours of the morning, which often leads to being unproductive the following day. Staring at the bright phone and television lights late at night are not good for us and can lead to difficulty falling asleep or even insomnia because it suppresses the melatonin and stimulates our minds. Our earliest of ancestors had no issue with staying up late because soon after the sun went down they went to sleep due to limited amounts of light and ultimately rose as soon as the sun came up. A regimen like this however is not conducive to most. But setting a time to go to bed and a time to wake up every day is good. Doing so will help you wake up rejuvenated and ready to start your day more so then getting the same hours of sleep at night, but at different times. There are some days though where we just can’t help staying awake and need a nap. If that is the case try to limit the amount of time you sleep to around 20-30 minutes and make sure you do it earlier in the afternoon.
Another way to increase the quality of your sleep is by increasing the melatonin hormone in your brain. Melatonin helps to regulate your sleep and wake cycles and is very much affected by light. You can take a supplement for a quick fix if you want more immediate results, but there are small lifestyle changes you can make to naturally increase the amount of melatonin your body makes on its own. When you first wake up, try to spend a couple minutes outside to get your eyes and body adjusted to the light. Then as much as you can spend time in the light during the day. Try driving to work without your sunglasses and open up all the windows in your office to increase the natural lighting in the work place. Another key step is to limit the amount of light you come into contact with at night. Make sure your room is completely dark when you go to sleep and in the time leading up to that make sure to dim your lights and don’t read on any backlit devices.
On top of creating a sleep time routine, try to come up with a relaxing bedtime routine so your body knows its time to get ready to go to sleep soon. As mentioned before consistency is a good way to trick your body into sleeping, so make your routine as relaxing as possible. A few changes to make are to begin by reserving the bedroom for sleeping. This is never a good place to do work or watch television. It can bring the stress of daily life into the bedroom. Also, keep your room a little cool. Finding that Goldilocks temperature may be hard, but once you find it, sleep should come easy. Also, try listening to books on tape or listening to soft music. Read a book or do the activity that relaxes you the most or take a warm bath and stretch to relax all of your muscles. Even just having a cup of decaffeinated tea can help mellow the senses. This should all help you wind down and get ready for bed.
Healthy lifestyles are also the most conducive to a good night’s rest. Eating right, exercising regularly and eliminating stress will all help you. A few simple tricks are to avoid caffeine and sugars after lunchtime; the affect of which can linger into bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol right before bedtime, while this may help you fall asleep faster it will reduce the quality of your sleep and may keep you from reaching a REM cycle. Avoid drinking too many liquids of any kind close to bedtime as these may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.
Most importantly you need a comfortable bed. Using a mattress topper or an adjustable bed may help. Use pillows to prop your head to avoid neck pain. Also, make sure to replace mattresses regularly to eliminate bed bugs. Everyone’s comfort preferences vary so find one that is suitable for you.
Now go on and work on those Z’s!
Andy Scolnick, President
Seventh Street Medical Supply