TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Many of us do not get enough quality sleep, and this can affect our health, well-being, and ability to perform everyday activities.
The “right” amount of sleep varies from person to person, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. They also estimate that 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep.
Now it’s important to consider the quality of sleep as well, not just the quantity; because low-quality sleep, will make you feel tired the next day even if you technically slept 8 hours.
Here are some simply tips to help improve the quality AND quantity of your sleep:
#1. Enforce a strict sleeping routine. Try going to bed at the same time every night, and have an alarm go off at the same time in the morning; ideally 7-8 hours later. If you’re getting less hours of sleep routinely, you can work your way up to 7-8, over time. If you find yourself getting carried away till it’s late and end up with only a few hours of sleep, try setting an alarm to REMIND you to go to bed. Through repetition, we can re-train the mind and body. And anytime you can stick to the routine even on the weekends, it will make a world of difference!
#2. Cut down on afternoon coffee. That coffee actually stays in our systems longer than we might think it does. Experts in the field recommend we stop caffeinated drinks by the middle of the afternoon, so that traces of it won’t keep us up later.
#3. Start dimming lights in your home & electronics, 2 hours before going to bed. The lower lights will signal the brain to start producing melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles, and that melatonin will be carried by the circulatory system from the brain to all the areas of the body. That’s the signal that it’s time for sleep to come.
#4. If you like reading in bed before going to sleep, look for light bulbs that are made for nighttime; ideally red or orange, because they don’t use certain blue hues that keep the brain awake and alert.
#5. Make the room as dark as possible and flip your cell phone upside down so the sleeping pattern doesn’t get interrupted every time it lights up throughout the night.
#6. Make the room as quiet as it can be, and that means turning off the vibrate feature on the phone as well. Keep in mind that you may not want to make it TOO quiet, or you could get used to complete silence and anytime a pin drops somewhere, you’ll be woken up. Noise machines or apps can help with this.
#7. Move the phone away from the bed. Any sleep caught between snoozes is poor-quality, because the REM sleep is disturbed and we’ll end up feeling groggier. If you generally like to snooze, just set the original alarm for a later time and by having it away from the bed, you’ll have to get up for it. Getting out of bed is usually half the battle.
#8. Set a lower room temperature. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold, will interfere with your sleep and it’s generally accepted that between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 - 21 °C) is the optimal temperature to sleep in.
#9. If you wake up at night to go to the restroom, consider a nightlight in the bathroom to avoid having to turn on the lights and triggering the brain to become active.
#10. It’s highly recommended to paint your bedroom a tranquil color. It could be a relaxing blue, lavender or pale-grey – it could be whatever color calms you. If you can, choose that - and go with a matte finish, not a glossy one.
If everything fails and you really can’t sleep, it’s better to get out of the bed than continue laying there and getting frustrated (which will wake you up more than put you back to sleep). You can get up, keep the lights as low as possible, and do only things that are still technically considered “relaxing”. When you get tired again, hop back in bed.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to live being exhausted, so if the quality of your sleep is poor for 2 months of more, see a doctor and get a check-in on your health.