A good night’s sleep has a direct effect on your physical and mental health. It also has a direct impact on your creativity and ability to complete your day-to-day tasks. According to Age UK, 31% of the UK population between the ages of 13 and 64 years struggle to get quality sleep.
But Why Is Quality Sleep So Important?
When we sleep, our bodies work extra hard to try and restore the energy it lost the previous day through physical exertion. Additionally, it also attempts to strengthen our minds and return them to relative calm.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to lack of productivity, car crashes, moodiness, and irritability. Thanks to the availability of information on the importance of sleep, many people have started changing their sleeping habits. Individuals are slowly realizing that they need quality rather than quantity.
Researchers have found out that quality sleep leads to improved attention spans, weight control, and enhanced cognitive performance. It also helps improve creativity, memory recall, and reduces inflammation. Lack of sleep can generally hurt your body and mental health.
Some of the problems associated with lack of sleep include; diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic sleep deprivation. Heart attacks are likely to follow within no time. People who have quality sleep are also less susceptible to anxiety and depression.
How to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Better Sleep
There exist various behavioral and physical changes that can significantly enhance your chances of enjoying a good night’s sleep. These include but are not limited to:
- Make Your Bed Comfortable
If you are used to waking up feeling numb, stiff, and/ or tired, consider replacing your mattress and pillows. Ideally, a good mattress should last for around ten years. But when it develops holes, starts sagging or getting ripped, this is an indication that it has to be replaced immediately.
You need a mattress that meshes with your body. It should also treat your hips and shoulders in the same manner. It is a way of ensuring that the body is correctly aligned from head to toe. Casper, one of the most popular bed-in-a-box companies, also happens to be one of the most marketable mattress brands.
The brand is backed by notable investors who include Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. The Casper mattress has four layers of premium foam thus ensuring a perfect balance between comfort and support. Upon placing an order, the bed is delivered to your residence within four days.
After delivery, you have a total of 100 days to try it out, and if it is not the right fit return it to the sellers. Casper uses the latest technologies to constantly enhance their brands, as well as guarantee continued customer satisfaction.
- Engage in Physical Exercise in The Course of the Day
Regular exercise is said to help eliminate the symptoms associated with sleep apnea and insomnia. It also helps increase the total amount of time that you get to spend in deep restorative sleep.
Exercising elevates your body’s temperature, boosts your metabolism rate, and stimulates the release of cortisol—the stress hormones. Therefore, try working out at least three hours before going to bed.
Although engaging in vigorous exercises can result in additional benefits when it comes to enhancing your sleep quality, light exercises such as walking for about 10 minutes a day should also not be overlooked. However, note that it may take a few months before you start to realize the effects of these exercises. Hence, be patient and come up with an exercise regimen which you can adhere to.
- Keep Your Room Dark and Quiet
Just like natural light, artificial light could be what is preventing you from sleeping. Turn off any light that may be present in your room before sleeping. If possible, get some heavy curtains and blinds that block out all light from the outside. If you carry your cellphone to your bedroom, flip it over so that you do not get distracted every time it lights up.
Keeping your room quiet also helps you sleep better. While the noise itself could be preventing you from sleeping, the inconsistency of the silence or the sound could be extremely disruptive. If the noises are beyond your control, a sound machine or earplugs can come in handy in helping you drown it.
- Clean Your Room by Getting Rid of All the Clutter
You should associate your bedroom exclusively with sleep. Avoid making it your office, playroom, gym, or a place to watch television. Using it for other purposes only causes your brain to associate it with what you do therein. For instance, if you use it as an office, you are bound to be anxious about work when you should be sleeping. Your bedroom needs to be a restful place. Try and get rid of anything that makes your bedroom feel cramped and congested.
- Nap Earlier in The Day or Do Not Nap at All
Napping helps to improve your mood and reduces your fatigue. On the other hand, it can also interfere with your sleeping patterns. It is more so at night; particularly if you already suffer from insomnia. Excessive daytime sleeping could be as a result of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or depression.
If you must nap, make it brief. Limit it to about 30 minutes at most. Set the scene by making the room dark and quiet, as you do not have a lot of time allotted for the nap. It is the easiest way to ensure that you will fall asleep as soon as possible. Make sure you nap not later than 5:00 pm. If you have trouble sleeping during the night, consider taking a walk instead of napping.
- Be Smart About Your Evening Meals
Your daytime meals tend to have a very profound effect on your sleeping patterns. Try taking your dinner early in the evening. Avoid fatty, sugary, heavy, spiced or acidic foods as they could cause stomach issues and heartburns. Additionally, avoid taking alcoholic drinks right before you go to bed. Although they can help you relax, they can also interfere with your sleeping pattern once their effects start to wear off.
Taking caffeine also increases your chances of experiencing disrupted sleep patterns. Medical experts recommend that individuals stick to a daily intake of about 200 mg. Stick to decaffeinated drinks or water late in the evenings. While you should take enough water to keep you hydrated throughout the night, avoid taking too much. It may cause you to wake up at night to go to the bedroom
- Get Rid of All the Electronics Present in Your Bedroom
Avoid using your phone in the bedroom, playing video games, or watching television. Electronics only entice you to stay up later than you intend to. Engaging in interactive activities also keeps your brain alert, thus minimizing your chances of falling asleep faster.
- Practice Performing Relaxation Techniques
Worry, stress, and anger from the day’s activities can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Create an easy transition before falling asleep by engaging in relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation. You can perform these activities at an hour or 30 minutes before sleep time. Other activities you can try include taking a bath or reading a book.
Avoid activities that are likely to stimulate the brain such as working or engaging in emotional discussions. Aromatherapy also relaxes your mind and helps in inducing sleep. Through continued use, your brain is likely to pick this as a cue that it’s time for you to go to bed. Vanilla and lavender are great relaxation scents.
- Create A Sleep Routine and Stick to It
Sleep restriction is one of the most effective behavioral approaches used in treating sleep problems. Come up with a sleeping schedule that will see you sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This is not only necessary during the weekdays, but is also critical during the weekends. This does not imply that you should wake up at the same time on Saturday as you do during the week. But desist from extending your sleeping time by an hour or two. Avoid late-night partying as well. Observing a constant sleep schedule will help regulate your ‘internal clock’ or the circadian rhythm.
While some of the above tips are easy to implement, others are hard to include in your daily routine. Sticking to most if not all of them will increase your chances of getting quality sleep. However, not all sleeping issues are easily treatable. Some could signify severe sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome. Should you still experience sleeping difficulties in spite of following a healthy sleep regimen, consider consulting a sleep specialist or your physician.