A good night’s sleep is the key to feeling refreshed, having a clear mind, being productive and generally feeling better. We tend to feel lucky when waking up rested, because, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. It is the modern persons’s normality to sleep whenever they can squeeze a nap into their schedule, wake up early for different activities and stay up late, relaxing in front of a screen or going out to exciting places.
Sleep is not exactly something we prioritize. However, study after study shows that sleep deprivation is the underlying cause of numerous health issues as well as poor cognitive performance. It is imperative that you start practicing good sleep hygiene before it damages your health and brain’s performance.
Here are some natural ways that can aid in establishing a regular, healthy sleep rhythm. You should adapt these suggestions to your lifestyle and decide how you’re going to implement them in your routine. But, taking action is paramount if you want your body to truly recover and support the great things you are aiming for in your awake state.
Going to Bed and Waking up at the Same Hour, Every Day
Something probably all of us are guilty of is lingering a little bit longer in bed during the weekend. Especially after going out the night before, we consider sleeping in a well-deserved reward after a busy week at work.
But, if you want to implement a healthy sleep schedule, then this habit needs to disappear. And, as sad as it may seem at the beginning, waking up early on Saturdays and Sundays will prove to be worth it. Not only because of all the extra pampering and fun you can do in your free time, but also because you will feel rested for the rest of the day.
Exercise as Much as You Can, but Be Careful When You Do It
According to studies, exercise is a natural remedy for sleeping problems, such as insomnia. Sedentary people have to deal with numerous health issues derived from their lack of activity, and sleep is one of the body’s primary functions that suffer.
Be careful, though. While exercise is linked to good sleep, scheduling your workout too close to your sleeping time or making it too intense, then you might worsen your insomnia.
Get a Separate Bed for Your Pet, No Matter How Cuddly They Are
Sleeping with your pets or with your children can seriously affect the quality of your sleep, as a Mayo clinic study demonstrated. Unless co-sleeping is helping your baby during infancy, it is time to claim your space back and gradually get them used to sleeping in their beds. Similarly, cuddly pets are to be sent to their mattresses and beds and not share your sleeping space.
Buy a Quality Mattress
We always blame our schedules or the influence of late night screen time for our sleeping problems. But, more often than not, a very simple factor that is right under our nose (well, our whole bodies) could be the culprit: the mattress.
Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft or too hard, or that does not let your skin breathe enough and makes you sweaty all the time can seriously affect your sleep. Choose mattresses that support your spine and are made of natural materials to get the best possible sleep.
Choose Your Bed Sheets Carefully
Similarly to the problem mentioned above, your bed sheets can affect the quality of your sleep if they are causing rashes and other allergic reactions or if they don’t help your body regulate its temperature. Again, the best choices for your bed sheets are natural materials, such as linen, silk or cotton. Linen, for example, seems to be the most popular choice nowadays due to its sustainability and hypoallergenic properties, breathability, and gorgeous look.
Eat Well, and Your Sleep Will Get Better
You are probably getting a bit bored with the same advice you hear every time: eat well, exercise, sleep well. We hate to break it to you, but it is the best way to preserve your health and help your body fight illness, stress, and aging as best as it can. A varied and balanced diet does not have many rules, but you should make an effort and stick to it every day, week, and year.
If you want to turn a healthy diet into an easy to follow habit, then you should try to get creative in the kitchen. There are so many meal plans, recipes, and apps that can help you monitor your diet that you will surely find something that fits your tastes and body characteristics.
Put the Screens Aside before Bed
There is a big chance that you are reading this very article on your smartphone or tablet while laying on your bed at night, wondering why your sleep is so bad. Checking your phone at night or spending time in front of the TV right before falling asleep will disrupt your brain’s activity, making your sleep inefficient and leaving you tired in the morning.
Blue light from our gadgets affect our sleep, so it is best to put them aside for at least an hour before bed and grab a book instead. The very least you can do to help your circadian rhythms is to use an app that modifies the light intensity and color of your screen, as your bedtime gets closer.
Quit Smoking. Now!
Studies show that smokers are four times more likely to feel more unrested after sleep than non-smokers do. Smoking increases your stress hormones levels, affects your breathing and increases the chance of sleep apnea and other problems. Quitting smoking will have a dramatic positive effect on your entire health and quality of life, including sleep, so consider a program that is likely to help you most.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Getting all toasty might seem pleasant at night, especially during the cold seasons, but heating the room will make you sleep worse. The general rule for both adults and children is to have a lower temperature in the sleeping room than the rest of the house.
You will immediately feel the difference in the quality of sleep if you set your temperature to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel chilly, adjust your sleepwear until you adapt to the new temperature. Also, don’t forget to ventilate the room properly and keep the air humidity level in check (at 50-70%).
All these rules above may seem overwhelming at first, especially if you are stressed, and you lack time to make dramatic changes in your routine. Take it one step at a time and start with the steps that best fit you as an individual.
If problems persist, you might need to schedule an appointment with a doctor who is specialized in the science of sleep. But, no matter what, prioritizing sleep will show results in all other areas of your well being. Good luck!