5 Ways to Sleep Better by Nicole Kenny
Most of us know that sleep is important, but are unaware of just how big of an impact not getting enough quality sleep can have on our health. According to the American Sleep Association, an estimated 50-70 million US adults have some kind of sleep disorder, and 40% of 40-59 year-olds report being sleep deprived.
Sleep disorders and deprivation prevent us from getting restorative and necessary benefits. Not sleeping well or getting the recommended 7-9 hours a night can cause a number of health issues, including high blood pressure, increased risk for diabetes, weight gain, and weakened immunity.
On the other hand, the benefits of good sleep are enough to motivate anyone to prioritize quality, nightly snoozes. Those benefits range from improved mood and memory, muscle repair, lowered inflammation, better fitness performance, sharpened attention, lower stress levels, and increased longevity.
Here are five ways to help yourself get quality zzz’s.
1. Upgrade Your Mattress
While the National Sleep Foundation says a mattress can last up to 10 years, consider replacing yours after 5. A study at Oklahoma State University found that most people who switched to new bedding after 5 years sleep significantly better and have less back pain.
Other studies also show that the materials of your mattress also matter. Casper is one company who conducts their own sleep experiments, which inform the design of their selection of mattresses. Their foam layers are said to support ergonomic spine alignment and relieve pressure.
2. Stick to a Schedule
It’s best to get back in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. Keeping a regular sleep schedule that aligns with your body’s biological inclinations will go a long way toward helping you sleep better over time and wake up feeling refreshed. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid sleeping in on weekends and evening naps.
Most of us know that sleep is important, but are unaware of just how big of an impact not getting enough quality sleep can have on our health. (tweet this)
3. Stay Active Throughout The Day
Regular exercise has been found to lessen the symptoms of insomnia, and increases the amount of time we spend in the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep. As we get older, it can be difficult to find a safe and effective exercise routine, but there are a number of joint-friendly workouts to try.
If you can, do some of your workouts or other activities outdoors; sunlight exposure (or the lack thereof) impacts your body’s ability to fall asleep.
4. Simplify Your Bedroom and Evening Routine
The environment you sleep in can make or break your ability to fall and stay asleep. Factors like temperature, sound, and light all play a role. The recommended temperature range is between 65 and 67 degrees, but go with what makes you comfortable. Limit exposure to artificial light in the evening, and use fans or white noise machines if sound is an issue where you live.
These tips also overlap with your bedtime routine. Power off the TV, computer, and phone a couple hours before your bedtime, and consider trying a meditation practice to lower sleep-stealing stress.
5. Talk With Your Doctor
Finally, if you suspect you may be one of the many adults suffering from a more serious and chronic sleep disorder, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss next steps. You may need to take part in a series of tests to determine the culprit of your poor sleep, but it’s best to know for sure rather than spending time guessing on your own and getting frustrated.
Nicole Kenny is a social media strategist and a freelance writer who has a passion for a mindful and healthy lifestyle.