The Importance of Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep and keeping up a regular and healthy sleeping schedule is just as important to your body as eating and drinking enough water. While the hours of sleep per night your body requires to stay in top shape vary based on age, it is important to keep in mind the importance of getting your recommended hours of sleep. A healthy sleep schedule will help keep you mentally sharp, physically healthy, and emotionally stable. Sleep gives your brain the opportunity to perform many important functions and processes that are crucial for your mental, emotional, and physical health. Your body tissues and muscles repair and grow while you are sleeping, and a good night’s sleep prevents impaired productivity and concentration during waking hours.
Why it Can Be Hard to Sleep
For those reasons and many more, keeping a healthy sleeping schedule based on the recommended sleep hours for your age group is very important. However, this is often easier said than done. Serious issues such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders can make it nearly impossible to get a full night of sleep. Even less serious and much more common things such as travel and stress can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. It is common to have trouble sleeping, but there are several things you can do and habits you can develop to make getting a good night of sleep easier. Read on to find out how you can fall asleep and stay asleep easier.
Avoiding Certain Substances
Humans consume many things during the day, some of which are better than others. While things such as alcohol and caffeine may be recreational or a part of your daily routine, they do not support a healthy sleep schedule. To keep your chances of getting a good night of sleep as high as possible, change the frequency and time you consume these substances, if any.
For example, refrain from drinking coffee or any other caffeinated drinks late in the day. While many people drink coffee as a way to boost focus and mental clarity, doing so in the hours before night can keep your body from winding down in preparation for sleep. Studies show that caffeine can stay in your system for six to eight hours after you drink it, which can make it incredibly easy for coffee or other caffeinated substances to affect your sleep schedule, maybe even without you realizing. Since this can often happen without your knowledge, be mindful of the caffeine you may be consuming, and be sure not to drink coffee or any other caffeinated substances late in the day.
Drinking alcohol can also negatively affect your sleeping schedule and quality. While many people drink alcohol recreationally, usually at night, this is not a habit that promotes healthy sleep. Studies show that alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep patterns, and it can also cause or increase symptoms of sleep apnea, which is a serious and potentially life threatening sleep disorder. It can also tweak and disrupt your brain’s melatonin production, which is crucial in getting a fitful night’s rest. Overall, alcohol consumption at night is not a good habit to support a healthy sleep schedule.
Exercising And Eating Right
Interestingly, the way you eat and how often you exercise also has a direct impact on your quality of sleep and sleeping patterns. It is important to note that you should refrain from eating late at night, or close to when you would ideally go to sleep. This can negatively affect your sleeping patterns by disrupting your body’s natural release of sleeping chemicals, which is the opposite of the goal. While some studies suggest that high carb meals consumed several hours before bed help promote falling asleep faster, a high carb diet is most definitely not necessary for healthy sleeping patterns.
While you should not eat too close to when you intend to go to sleep, you should also avoid drinking too many liquids beforehand. While urinating often during the night is often the subject of jokes, the medical term for it is “nocturia,” and it can easily disrupt sleeping patterns. To avoid having to deal with waking up frequently to use the restroom, which can take a serious toll on your sleep quality and schedule, do your best to avoid drinking too many liquids before you go to sleep.
In addition to eating, or rather, not eating before bed, exercise is also a good way to support and promote a healthy and regulated sleep schedule. Regular exercise promotes the overall health of your body, including the quality of your sleep. Daily exercise helps in all areas of sleep, including falling asleep faster, waking up less frequently, and sleeping more deeply. However, be careful not to do your daily exercise too late in the day, because some studies show that this can actually lead to difficulties in sleeping.
Keeping Your Sleeping Patterns Regulated
Another way to promote a healthy and regulated sleep schedule is by doing just that, keeping a schedule! While it may be difficult to go to sleep at around the same time every night and wake at around the same time every morning, this helps get your body into the routine of sleeping and waking at an appropriate and healthy time. Factors such as work and school may affect your sleep schedule, often in a negative way, but it is important that you try your best to keep your sleeping and waking hours as consistent as possible. This supports your body’s circadian rhythm, which is the built in sleeping and waking cycle your body has that attunes to sunrise and sunset. Supporting your body’s circadian rhythm is incredibly helpful to your sleep schedule and quality of sleep in a long term capacity.
In addition to keeping as consistent of a sleeping routine as possible, also try to keep long and pointless napping during the daytime to a minimum. Short naps, which are often called power naps, are beneficial to you and your body. However, sleeping at irregular and inconsistent times during the day for longer than twenty to thirty minutes can actually have a negative impact on your health and sleep schedule. While daytime napping does not affect some people, it causes disruptions in sleeping patterns and sleep quality for many. If you take regular naps during the day but are still able to keep up a healthy sleep schedule, this likely doesn’t apply to you. However, if you both take daytime naps and experience trouble sleeping at night, consider shortening your napping times or eliminating them completely.
Minimizing External Light And Noise
Not only should you monitor and regulate when you sleep, it is also important to take care of where you sleep. There are several things you can do to make sure your bedroom and bedroom conditions support the healthy and regulated sleep schedule you are trying to achieve, including optimizing things such as the temperature and your bed itself.
Making sure there is as little light as possible in your bedroom is a good starting point when optimizing your sleeping environment. Things such as electronics, alarm clocks, and other natural or artificial light sources can diminish your quality of sleep. Several studies show that sleeping in a room or environment with as little external light as possible greatly increases quality of sleep. Be sure to turn off all of your screens and any lamps or night lights before you go to sleep to get the best quality sleep possible.
As well as making sure there is as little external light in your sleeping environment as possible, you should also make sure to minimize noise as much as possible. Though this likely goes without saying, loud and/or irregular noises can be jarring and interrupt a fitful night’s sleep. While many people sleep with a noise machine running to help support their sleeping patterns, noises that are less subtle and regulated can disrupt sleep. Though this is less important than other conditions in your sleeping environment, if possible, with the exception of a noise machine, minimize external noise as much as possible.
Finding A Comfortable Temperature
Another incredibly important factor when optimizing the conditions in your sleeping environment is temperature. Regulating the temperature in your bedroom is one of the most important things you can do to promote a fitful night’s rest and a healthy sleep schedule. Sleeping can be incredibly difficult if your bedroom or sleeping environment is too cold or too warm. Comfortable sleeping temperature varies from person to person, so try experimenting with the temperature in your sleeping environment to figure out which is the most pleasant and optimal for you and your body.
Sleeping on the Right Mattress
Finding the right mattress for you can also greatly support your sleeping patterns. While it can be a difficult and long process to find a mattress that suits you and your unique sleeping patterns, one that often requires an abundance of research, it is worth it in the long run. Sleeping on a mattress that is well suited to you, while it may take time to find, is one of the best ways to promote good sleep quality and a healthy sleep schedule. A 3000 Pocket sprung with Memory foam will help; they are known for being comfortable thanks to their body contouring capabilities. Though they may not be well suited to everyone, 3000 pocket sprung mattresses may be a good choice if you struggle to get comfortable at night. Alternatively, try the Inofia memory foam and pocket sprung mattress.
Develop A Night Time Routine
Having a routine is one of the best ways to promote good sleep quality, both in your sleep schedule itself and in the activities you do leading up to sleep. Developing a sleep routine that is similar and consistent each night is a good way to relax your body and prepare it for a night of fitful rest.
Something that is recommended by many professionals, but not often followed, is the no screens before bed rule. While this may seem like a silly rule made up by parents to get children off of their phones, science fully supports this rule. If possible, try to get off of all screens, including phones and computers, at least an hour before you intend to go to bed. This gives your brain time to relax in preparation for sleep.
It is also a good idea to add some calming activities into your before-bed routine. Things such as reading, listening to music, taking a bath, writing in a journal, or meditating are all great ways to wind down. Fully relaxing both your mind and body before it’s time for you to sleep is one of the best ways to promote good, fitful sleep and a healthy sleeping schedule. Taking a bath or shower is one of the best ways to fall asleep faster and promote fitful sleep, and studies even show that taking a warm shower or bath before going to sleep can help you sleep deeper. Though it may not be possible for you to take a long, warm bath every night before you go to sleep, it can be just as effective to read for a few minutes or take the time to take some deep breaths.
How You Can Get A Good Night’s Sleep Tonight
Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important to your overall health, including your mental, emotional, and physical well being. There are an abundance of reasons why having and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule based on the recommended hours of sleep per night for your age group is important, but it can often be easier said than done. If you are having difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep at night, follow these tips and suggestions to help regulate your sleep schedule and promote good quality sleep. Even things as simple as exercising during the day, shortening the time of your daytime naps, not eating or drinking too much before bed, reducing external noise and light in your sleeping environment, finding the right mattress for you, and keeping up with a consistent nighttime routine are all great ways to promote good quality sleep.