We all know rest is important. But did you know that getting enough good quality sleep is absolutely essential for maintaining your best physical, emotional and mental health? Yep, sleep is that important! Getting a good night’s sleep increases your productivity, energy levels, and overall quality of life. Basically, it’s everything.
The keys to getting that good night sleep are pretty basic: sleeping on the right mattress, getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and practicing good sleep hygiene. In case you're thinking "wait, what's sleep hygiene!?", here's your answer: though it may sound complicated, it’s simply a variety of different practices and habits that lead to good sleep quality.
If you want to improve your sleep quality, focus on those basics! Curious how to get started? Here are some tips that will help you get better sleep tonight and onwards:
- Tend to your environment. A major aspect of good sleep hygiene is tending to your sleep environment (aka your bedroom) to make sure it's conducive to a relaxing night of rest. This includes making sure you’re sleeping on a comfortable mattress with cozy bedding, setting the temperature to the ideal range (between 60-67 degrees), shutting off your electronics, and keeping the space tidy. If there are any noises out of your control, try earplugs or a white noise machine. If you want to get fancy, experiment with aromatherapy by diffusing some lavender essential oil, burning some incense, or lighting a candle (make sure to blow it out before you sleep!).
- Mind your naps. Naps can sometimes be beneficial, but they certainly can't make up for poor quality sleep. In fact, they can actually lead to further sleep disruption by messing up your circadian rhythm. If you do need a nap, make sure to limit it to 20-30 minutes to avoid nighttime sleep disruptions.
- Get the right light. Lighting (both natural and artificial) has a profound affect on our circadian rhythm. To optimize yourself for sleep, spend 10 or so minutes outside each morning, as getting adequate light exposure during the day actually regulates your circadian rhythm and helps you sleep better at night. At night, limit your exposure to blue light lamps, TV screens, laptops and cellphones at least 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed. And once you do go to bed, it's best to make sure bedroom as dark as possible, and maybe even invest in a sleep mask or blackout curtains.
- Set up a nighttime routine. Routines are one of the most effective ways to shift our energy and train our bodies to adapt to a certain bedtime. To create a nighttime routine, choose a few soothing activities, and do them around the same time each night. Some of these activities can be things you already do, like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or reading your kids a bedtime story. If you struggle with stress, it’s a good idea to incorporate an activity that specifically targets stress reduction, such as meditation or yoga, both of which have been shown to calm the mind and switch the body into resting mode.
Pay attention to what you're eating and drinking throughout the day. For optimal sleep, practice avoiding stimulants (think sugar, alcohol and caffeine) 3 or more hours before bed. Also, avoid heavy, oily, rich foods in the hours before bed. Both can lead to trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, as well as poor sleep quality.
Real talk: If you’re implementing these tips and still having trouble falling asleep, you might want to take a good look at your mattress. Do you remember when you first got it? Do you look forward to sinking into it each night, or do you kind of dread it? If your mattress is old or uncomfortable, it's going to be that much more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep through the might. And if you do manage to clock in some hours? Well, the sleep you do manage to get is likely to be poor quality. It's vital to check in with the state of your mattress on a regular basis to see if it's supporting you, or working against you.
Moreso, we change! And it can be easy to forget that as we change, our perfect mattress changes with us. If you’re finding that you’re just not comfortable anymore, or are having trouble sleeping despite your bets efforts, it's time to upgrade.
Want expert guidance on finding your perfect fit? Come visit us at your nearest Sleep First to experience first-hand what our happy customers are saying about our top-notch selection, customer care, and good deals. We’ll be waiting to help you find your best sleep ever!
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And finally, if you find you're still having trouble after trying everything else, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about potential undiagnosed sleep disorders. You deserve the best sleep you can get!