8 TIPS TO ACHIEVE A GOOD NIGHT OF SLEEP
authored by Beth Jenkins
A good night of sleep is essential to many, if not all aspects of our lives and health. How well we’re able to work and enjoy ourselves during our waking hours, can be determined by the sleep we receive each night. But how can you ensure that the sleep you’re getting is good sleep? Or perhaps you struggle with getting enough sleep or any at all. Here are some useful sleep tips and tricks to help you achieve your most restful nights. At the end, you will find a resource list for further study.
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
In almost every article, website, and journal about sleep, you are likely to stumble across much of the same advice(which is exactly what we found). The main piece of advice from all of them was to go to sleep and wake up at a consistent time each day. It can be tough starting out but the other lifestyle tips can help you along. Research has shown time and time again that getting in rhythm with your body’s circadian rhythm, or natural sleep cycle, is an important strategy for achieving better sleep. If you are able to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, you’ll feel much more energized and refreshed, as opposed to sleeping the same number of hours at different times, even if you only change your sleep schedule by an hour or two.
Don’t eat or drink too much before bed
Eating or drinking a lot 2-3 hours before you fall asleep can lead to sleep disturbances or an inability to fall asleep in the first place. Especially avoid alcohol and nicotine late at night (or at least right before going to sleep), because while a nightcap can help you get to sleep, it interferes with your sleep once you are. Some other food/drink troubles you should be aware of are caffeine, sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. Caffeine can seem like an obvious culprit but not many people know that the effects can last up to 10-12 hours after consumption. Similarly, sugar and refined carbs can trigger restless nights that take you out of those deep, restorative stages of sleep.
Exercise during the day for a good night of sleep
Exercising regularly can lead to better sleep at night and fewer feelings of sleepiness throughout the day. A regular exercise routine has also shown to improve the symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea and increase the amount of time you spend in deep stages of sleep. The more rigorous the workout the more restful the sleep, but even just light exercise (walking for 10 minutes a day) can lead to better sleep. Remember that it can take time and a commitment to exercising regularly in order to start receiving long-term sleep benefits. Additionally, do not exercise too close to bedtime. Try finishing moderate to difficult workouts at least three hours before you go to sleep. If you continue to experience sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier in the day.
Don’t take too many daytime naps
To sleep better throughout the night, it’s important to be cautious with daytime naps. If you nap for too long or too late in the day, it can mess up your sleep schedule and make it more difficult to get to sleep when you want. The time to nap is soon after lunch or early in the afternoon; and the ideal nap length is about 20 minutes long.
Be careful about light exposure
These days it can be hard to put down the devices. In fact, many people have gotten in the routine of watching a show or two or five before clocking out for the night. However, the blue light from phones, laptops and ipads, can wreak havoc on sleep. This affects your circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime. This in turn, reduces hormones like melatonin, which are shown to help you relax and lead to restful sleep.
Create an optimal sleep environment
The bedroom environment and the way it’s set up are believed to be key factors in getting a good night’s sleep. Some important factors of the bedroom environment include temperature, noise, external light, and the arrangement of furniture. A cool, dark room with few distractions and a comfortable bed has been shown to help sleep. Soft or crisp sheets (depending on your preference, and the season) a cozy comforter, and a healthy pillow can all contribute to your sleep – not to mention a mattress that fits you perfectly. Organic and natural fabrics are often more breathable than synthetics.
Find a bedtime routine right for you
Doing the same or similar activities every night before you go to sleep can help your mind wind down and prepare for a restful night. Your nighttime routine should be what works best for you, whatever calms your mind at the end of the day. This can include things like personal hygiene, taking a bath or shower, and reading, to things like restorative yoga or listening to calm music.
Don’t use the bedroom for work
A way to make sure you maintain an optimal sleep environment is to not let your workspace spill over into your sleep space. At the end of the day you want your mind to calm down, you don’t need the stresses of work, or reminders of them, in your bedroom. Especially now when many people are working from home, it can be tempting to work from right under the covers. But by keeping the work away from the bedroom, your brain will associate the bedroom with sleep, which makes it easier to wind down at night.
We encourage you to check out the resources below for more information on how to get your best sleep. Our mission is to help you get clean, healthy sleep. If you would like to check out our cozy comforters, silky sheets, puffy pillows or magnificent mattresses, check out our website or call us 212-764-3232. We listen, we recommend, you decide.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker