Five Tips for Improving Your Sleep Quality
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? You're not alone--according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 70 million Americans have chronic problems with sleep. Not getting enough sleep actually has a negative impact on national public health and safety. The CDC links a lack of sleep with mental illness, chronic disease, injuries, and a lesser quality of life and well-being. People who have problems sleeping also aren't as productive at work, and are more likely to suffer from obesity and depression.
Why is it so hard to sleep?
There are any number of reasons you spend your nights tossing and turning. Age can be a factor, as your circadian rhythm—your natural sleep-wake cycle—changes as you get older. If your body decides that your optimal sleep time begins at 8 pm, then waking up at 4 am is natural, although not terribly welcome.
Other reasons you might struggle to get to sleep could be associated with your lifestyle. Some culprits that make it hard for you to sleep are:
- Underlying conditions such as sleep apnea, prostate disease, stress, and anxiety.
You can make it easier to fall asleep at night by avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the evening, talking with your doctor about your medications side effects, and undergoing medical check-ups to identify any underlying conditions.
How can I get a good night's sleep?
There is a multi-million dollar industry devoted to getting a good night's sleep. On average, adults need between seven to eight hours of sleep every night to allow your body and mind to fully recover. That equates to you spending one third of your life in some stage of sleep. The good news is that you can improve your sleep habits with just a few changes to your nightly routine.
1. Stick to a nightly schedule
One of the best ways to guarantee optimal quality of sleep is to reset your internal body clock, and that really means sticking to a nightly bedtime routine. Decide on a bedtime, ideally when you're tired and sleepy. You should be able to wake up without an alarm clock, but if not, go to be earlier.
Before bed, develop a routine that lets your brain know it's time to slow down and unwind. Take a bath or shower, read a book, or just putter around the house tidying before you get into bed.
Try to avoid these sleeping pitfalls.
- Don't sleep in on weekends. If you're getting enough sleep, you'll wake up at your normal time. If you're tired, take a short nap during the day.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast can lead to a poor quality of sleep. It disrupts your blood sugar rhythms, increases stress, and you don't have enough energy to get through the day, so you nap. All these make it harder to sleep at bedtime.
- Avoid after-dinner drowsiness by taking a walk, doing the dishes by hand, or doing light chores. The worst thing you can do is fall asleep on the sofa for a couple of hours—then you'll never get to sleep!
- Turn off the electronics a couple of hours before bed. The blue light that devices emit can make it hard to turn off your brain, so try blue-light glasses if you need to look at a screen, or dim the brightness. Ideally, just turn off your phone before you start your bedtime routine.
2. Manage exposure to light
Your circadian rhythm expects you to be up and down with the sun, but that's just not possible in a world with electricity and light bulbs. Spend as much time in natural light as you can, having your morning coffee and taking your work breaks outside. Open your blinds during the day, and if you work at home, move your workspace near a window. Light therapy boxes really help you get enough light if you live where there isn't much light or sun in the winter.
3. Get plenty of exercise
The best way to ensure a good night's sleep is to get enough physical activity that you're tired at night. Although there is a correlation between vigorous cardio exercise and a good night's sleep, even ten minutes a day of walking can be beneficial to your sleep quality, especially the deep restorative sleep that really matters.
4. Create the right environment for sleep
Many people overlook the importance of your setting for sleep. Studies show that the best room temp for optimal sleep is a cool 65°F--although that's too chilly for lots of us. You sleep better when your core body temperature drops, so maybe add a layer or two of blankets and drop that thermostat or open a window at night.
5. Does the bedding really make a difference in my sleep quality?
When was the last time you thought about your pillows and mattress? The Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every 6 to 8 years, and your pillows every couple of years. A memory foam mattress will outlast an innerspring model, and the life span of your mattress does depend on other factors—like your weight and how often you sleep on it.
If you're not sure if you need a new mattress, ask yourself these questions.
- Are you waking up refreshed?
- Do you have any stiffness or pain when you wake up?
- Do you get seasick when your partner shifts in bed?
- Do you have worsening allergy or asthma symptoms?
Now that you've realized you need to go mattress shopping, remember that mattress technology has come a long way. Memory foam mattresses provide more custom support than an old-fashioned innerspring, but new technologies like bamboo covers offer an extra layer of hypoallergenic and antibacterial protection. A gel-infused top layer to a mattress helps the air circulation in the mattress, which helps you sleep cooler—a huge assist if you don't want to keep your bedroom at 65°.
Snuggle-Pedic's mattresses and pillows integrate the latest technology. Our bamboo infused memory foam, gel cooling technology, and construction conforms to your body. Our mattresses will send you off to blissful dreamland and helps you wake up refreshed and pain-free. With 120 days to try out our mattresses and free shipping in the US, why not give us a call today? You'll be sleeping like a baby in no time.