Sleep is an essential, yet often overlooked, component of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep allows the body to repair, recharge and restore, and directly impacts a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. A good night’s sleep improves brain function, concentration and productivity, energy and mood, and helps decrease a person’s risk of developing health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Here are six tips to help achieve a better night’s sleep.
SET A SLEEP SCHEDULE
Humans are creatures of habit, so setting a time to go to bed and wake up helps our bodies automate the sleep process. A set sleep schedule significantly improves a person’s quality of sleep by making it easier for us to get to sleep and stay asleep.
REDUCE SCREEN TIME
The human body follows a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. This means when the sun rises in the morning our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol that helps us wake up and feel alert. When the sun sets, our bodies produce another hormone called melatonin that makes us feel more tired and weary.
The blue light rays produced by electronic devices such as smart phones, computers and tablets suppress the production of the sleepy hormone, melatonin. By reducing screen time, especially in the evenings and before bed, it can help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of our sleep.
MAKE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES
Diet and exercise can directly affect a person’s quality of sleep. Food fuels the body so it’s important to keep in mind what we are eating and limiting foods that make it more difficult to fall asleep such as caffeine. Exercising for 30 minutes, three to five days a week allows the body to release positive and calming endorphins, which helps us to fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
LIMIT LOUNGING AND NAPPING
As nice as napping can be, it can interrupt the body’s normal rhythm. A nap every now and then isn’t going to create any issues but napping on a regular basis can be very damaging to a consistent sleep schedule. If you need to nap, a short 30 minute sleep is recommended. This can be enough to reinvigorate the body for the rest of the day without significantly impacting sleep schedules on a long-term basis.
Stressors cause the body to produce hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones negatively impact sleep by raising the heart rate and increasing alertness, making it difficult for us to fall, and stay, asleep. Lowering levels of stress especially in the evenings before bed can significantly improve a person’s sleep quality. Meditation is a useful exercise to assist this, helping to relax the body and mind, and clear your thoughts.
INVEST IN A GREAT MATTRESS
A good mattress can reduce pain, allow good spinal alignment, decrease tossing and turning, reduce allergy symptoms and ultimately boost your mental health and overall wellbeing.
Investing in the right mattress is the most important step in ensuring a good night’s sleep. A 100% natural latex mattress is highly recommended as it is constructed from durable materials that maintain shape and structure over time, are eco-friendly and hypoallergenic and offer levels of support for your spinal alignment not offered by other synthetic or blended mattress options.