There are few things as important to your health as getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is when the brain and body rejuvenate. While you lay there, things are being repaired down to a cellular level.
Despite the importance of adequate sleep, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes one in three adults fail to get the recommended number of hours each night. There are countless things that keep people up, but everyone can benefit from the sleeping tips below.
Mattress That Meets Your Needs
Good sleep starts with the surface you lie on. Mattresses are far from one-size-fits-all. The only way to know what feels best is to take a trip to the mattress store and actually feel the options.
Spend time sitting and lying all the way down on the mattresses. Make a note of how much support each one provides. This often comes down to what type of mattress you’re on. The most common mattress types include:
· Memory foam
Size is also a factor, but firmness and support are the keys to getting to sleep and waking up refreshed.
Get on a Sleep Schedule
Our bodies have a way of adjusting to a schedule. If you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same times every day your body is going to automatically start preparing itself for sleep. On the other side of the coin, erratic sleep schedules can through your brain and body off, which makes getting to sleep harder.
Figure out sleep and wake times work best for your daily schedule. Once you start implementing the schedule take it slow. Adjust the time you go to bed by no more than an hour each day. Eventually, your circadian rhythm will adjust making it easier to stay on your sleep schedule.
Get Natural Lighting During the Day
Light exposure has a huge impact on sleep long before you go to bed. During the day natural light can keep you awake and alert so that sleeping is easier at night. Bright natural light in the morning also makes it easier to wake up.
Limit Screens at Night
Once the sun goes down, light can then become a hindrance. Many sleep specialists encourage people to put their computers and phones away well before it’s time for bed. Light reduces melatonin production, a hormone that aids in sleep. Light exposure from screens an hour or two before bed is enough to alter melatonin and throw off your circadian rhythm.
Use Natural Sleep Aids
Prescription sleep medications can be a slippery slope. They help people get to sleep, but dependency can become an issue. Natural sleep aids can work just as well and don’t require a prescription.
Exercise and sleep are closely connected. It’s so influential exercise can help improve chronic insomnia. But you don’t have to exercise yourself to the point of exhaustion. One study cited by the Sleep Foundation found that a single session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise was enough to help people get to sleep faster.
Drop the Temperature
One theory of why exercise is able to induce sleep is related to body temperature. During exercise body temperature increases slightly. Post workout the body temperature begins dropping again. Lower temperatures are known to aid sleep.
If you aren’t able to fit a workout into your schedule you can still adjust the room temperature. Experts suggest that you keep the temperature between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adjust Your Eating
Daytime and nighttime eating can both have an affect on eating. Some foods can keep you awake while others put you asleep. When food and beverages are consumed also makes a difference.
In general, eating a big meal late at night isn’t a good idea since your body will be busy digesting the food. Caffeine should also be avoided up to 10 hours before bedtime. Spicy foods are another thing that can keep you up at night.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot you can do to improve your sleep. It often comes down to the choices you make during the day. Following the proven practices above is a good place to start if you’re having difficult getting a good night’s sleep.