Achieving enough quality sleep is the plague of our modern world. Failure to get sufficient sleep or to sleep well can dramatically and severely impact your waking hours. Luckily your better night’s sleep is within your grasp with just a few changes you can put into place, today.
1. Go to bed on time
The first step to going to bed on time is understanding what on time is for you. Think about how many hours of sleep you typically get when you wake feeling refreshed and generally don’t think about how tired you are. Now, decide when you need to get up and work backwards to determine when you need to be sleeping and when you need to start your bedtime routine. Set an alarm when it’s time to begin winding down for bed. This is one of the most important dates you can make with yourself. Be there.
2. Relax before bed
This seems obvious, but avoid activities that elevate your heart rate in the hour or two before bed, especially physical activity. Instead think quiet activities such as reading, a shower, or other activities you find calming. Avoid working before bed and don’t do work in your bed or in your bedroom.
3. Avoid screens
As a caveat to #2, avoid looking at computer screens or mobile devices before bed. The blue lights emitted by LED screens suppress melatonin levels, actually inhibiting sleep, especially for young adults. This includes TV too. Rediscover your love of reading.
4. Tuck in new linens
Whether you simply wash the ones you have or you find a new set, sleep on clean bed sheets. It is amazing the difference you will feel when you snuggle into a freshly washed bed. Also, if you find your sheets scratchy, slippery, hot, or otherwise irritating, change them! While this might seem like an investment, in relation to what you might spend on a shirt or particular outfit, your sheets are truly a bargain for the use you get out of them. Likewise, be sure your pillow offers you the correct level of support and that you wash it regularly.
5. Your mattress
Oftentimes, old or uncomfortable mattresses are the culprit for those who wake up with pain or discomfort and can even inhibit your ability to counter other health stresses. If a new mattress is outside your budget, consider a memory foam bed topper to extend the life of your mattress and dramatically improve your comfort while sleeping.
6. What are you breathing?
One of the best things you can do for your health is to ensure you are breathing clean air. For most of us running AC or central heating, you need to be certain you have a clean air filter installed. Set a reminder on your calendar to remind you of monthly changes and consider having air filters delivered right to your door so you never run out. Genius!
7. Mood lighting
Most people sleep best in darker conditions. Be sure outside lights aren’t illuminating your bedroom and that the room is as dark as possible. To set you up for sleep, try dimming the lights and turning off overhead lights during your bedtime routine. Lower lighting triggers chemical reactions in your body that help promote sleep.
8. Noise cancellation
Clearly, outside noises can disrupt sleep, but they can also increase blood pressure and heart rate, placing unnecessary stress on your cardiovascular system. Do what you can to block out or avoid noises while you sleep. Talk to your neighbor about a barking dog or anticipate an early garbage pickup when you calculate your ideal bedtime. Blackout curtains eliminate light but can also help dampen unwanted noises.
9. Best friends
Pets, although an important part of our families, can be devastating to our sleep. There is nothing like getting batted in the face for a hug at 2 a.m. or attempting to roll over with several pounds of pet heaped on your legs. Consider moving pets to a designated bed in your room, or better yet, in another room. Share your love with Fido when you wake refreshed and energized for the day.
10. Cool and comfy
The temperature of your bedroom can have dramatic impact on your sleep. Be sure the room is cool and comfortable – you should be an ideal temperature when you are undercovers. Experiment with different blankets and combinations of layers to help you manage your temperature through the night. Remember, you’ll sleep better on the slightly cooler side, rather than slightly warmer.
Your sleep isn’t a luxury and it isn’t pampering. It is a necessity to life. Value it and go and get it!