Getting a good night of sleep is instrumental in achieving superior health. Your bedroom should be an oasis of comfort, a shield from the stress of life, a sanctuary of sleep.
Knowing how to improve sleep can be a major factor in helping you achieve your fitness goals. Without a good night's sleep, you will not have the energy you need in the afternoon, which leaves you reaching for caffeine or carbohydrates, or worse, sugar. Eating these foods can cause weight gain and stress (higher cortisol levels can lead to belly fat). Sleep loss can also affect your brain function, making you less alert and more prone to accidents. Persistent sleep loss can put you at greater risk for stroke, memory loss, and depression.
Enough of the bad news; here are a few tips to improve sleep:
- Keep the temperature below 70 degrees, most experts say 65 degrees is the perfect temperature.
- Declutter your bedroom. Busy rooms will create a busy mind and nothing prevents sleep more than a busy mind!
- Using blackout curtains to darken your room will help improve sleep. Block as much light as possible.
- Keeping electronics out of the bedroom will help you sleep better as the light emitted from electronics can suppress your body's melatonin production
- Using white noise to help you sleep better is key. At least 75% of people say that noises in the environment kept them from sleeping soundly.
- Sleep on a mattress and pillow that is comfortable to you to improve sleep. Replace mattresses every 9-10 years, minimum. Most experts suggest every 8 years. If you suffer from aches and pains, it may be time to update your mattress. Over 90% of people polled cited a comfortable mattress as one of the top priorities for a good nights rest. This should be one of the first steps to take if one is experiencing insomnia.
- Fresh sheets will actually help you look forward to bedtime as if you don't already! Adding lavender essential oil to your dryer can actually help you to fall asleep faster.
- Skip caffeine after noon if you want a great sleep cycle. Avoid other stimulants as well, such as energy drinks or chocolate before bedtime.
- Drinking chamomile tea or sleepytime tea an hour or so before bedtime can help you relax and ready for sleep.
- Don't hate me. Alcohol does not help you get better sleep, several drinks might make you sleepy, but it is a very low quality sleep that does not leave you feeling refreshed. Instead of rebuilding your body while you sleep, your body will be making up for the anti-diuretic hormones lost and repairing the metabolic cascade.(1)
- If your partner snores or keeps you awake at night, you might consider sleeping separately. On average, couples who sleep together experience 50% more sleep disturbances. (2)
- A lukewarm bath can relax your muscles and help you fall asleep faster, but a hot bath will increase your body temperature and make it harder to fall asleep!
- Deep breathing or the 5-5-5 breathing method can help. Take a breath for a count of five, hold for a count of five, then release for a count of five. (this also helps with anxiety)
- Prayer can really be beneficial for calming the mind and helping one to fall asleep.
- If you consistently have trouble falling or staying asleep consider self-hypnosis. An app like Sleep Well Pro can help you fall into a deeper state of sleep.
- Get rid of your alarm clock! Ok, well, at least move it out of your bedroom.
For some parents, the problem is getting the children in bed and asleep so they too can get some high-quality, restorative sleep. Getting your children to fall asleep so you can get your own shut-eye doesn't have to be a challenge every night. Children thrive on routines. If you haven't already, start a bedtime routine now! I found these amazing FREE printable bedtime flashcards to help your child stay on their routine! The key is consistency.
If these tips can't help you get some sleep satisfaction, consider keeping a sleep diary if you like keeping things on physical paper, or using a sleep cycle app if you are more of a techie. The sleep cycle app will also help analyze the quality of your sleep.
Do you usually get a good night's sleep or are you like many others still counting sheep? Make sure you are getting Excellent Sleep!