Sleep is crucial to nearly every aspect of your overall well-being, but too many people don’t get enough of it every night. Inadequate sleep has been linked to a number of alarming effects, such as an increased risk of obesity, lower productivity, higher blood pressure, poor thinking and concentration, and a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. In a society where achievement and hard work are celebrated, many people mistakenly believe that skimping on sleep can help them get ahead in their academic or professional careers. However, exactly the opposite is true. The scary side effects of sleep deprivation can make it much more difficult for you to achieve your goals and be at your best every day.
Sleep deprivation has always been a difficult topic, which is mainly because everyone has different reasons for not getting enough sleep. Some people simply choose to survive on fewer than 6 hours a night due to a high-pressure job or a demanding academic schedule. Others struggle with certain sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, which prevent them from getting the quality rest they need. Additionally, you may have a more difficult time falling or staying asleep if you have anxiety, depression, or another mental disorder.
No matter what the cause of your lack of sleep is, you’re probably wondering what you can do to avoid sleepless nights and feel better again. Fortunately, these guidelines on healthy sleep habits and proper sleep hygiene can help you stop dreading bedtime and allow you to feel energized each and every day.
Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Without a cozy sleep environment, getting the rest you need becomes more difficult than necessary. Your bedroom should be free of distractions and have an inviting atmosphere that makes you look forward to bedtime. If your sheets or pillows have become worn out, be sure to replace them with fresh supplies. The best bed sheets come in all types of colors and designs, making it easy for you to find products that match your tastes and preferences. In addition, don’t be afraid to add another pillow or two to make your bed even cozier. Whatever makes your bedroom feel like your own should be included in your space to facilitate better sleep.
Optimize Your Pre-Bedtime Routine
To get the most out of your precious sleeping hours, it’s important to adjust your pre-bedtime routine as well. Make sure you don’t consume any heavy meals too close to your designated bedtime, as this may disrupt your digestion and prevent you from falling or staying asleep. Try to avoid these foods that commonly lead to heartburn and other digestive troubles:
- Citrus fruits
- Fried foods
- Spicy foods (garlic, onion, pepper, etc.)
- Caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda, etc.)
It’s especially important to steer clear of caffeine before heading to sleep. Not only can this stimulant cause heartburn and acid reflux, but it may also make it more difficult for you to fall asleep naturally.
If you’re feeling especially sleepy during the day and are having trouble focusing on basic tasks, taking a short nap is a great way to quickly recharge. However, naps that last too long may lead to sleeplessness come nighttime. If you plan to take a nap, be sure to limit it to 10-20 minutes. It’s worth noting that, while napping can play a role in improving alertness and performance, it isn’t a substitute for quality sleep at night. Focus on improving your nighttime sleep habits to reduce your need for a nap and to enjoy better health overall.
Exercising during the day can have a significant impact on your quality of sleep at night. There are various reasons for this phenomenon. According to experts, one of the main benefits of exercise has to do with changes in body temperature. While you work out, your body temperature rises in response to intense physical activity. Afterward, though, your temperature drops lower than normal to make up for the rapid increase. This decrease in body temperature has been said to trigger the sleep response in your body, which allows you to fall asleep more quickly.
Additionally, regular exercise has been linked to reduced stress levels and an improved mood overall. When you’re in a better state of mind, you’re less likely to be weighed down by worries and anxieties as you try to fall asleep. Another key benefit of exercise is its tendency to tire you out. Feeling exhausted after an intense workout will make you want to head straight to bed and recharge for the next day ahead of you.
Stick to a Schedule
Consistency is essential to proper sleep hygiene. By being intentional about your sleep habits, you can help build the foundation for higher quality rest. For starters, make sure you always go to bed and wake up at the same time. Once your body anticipates your bedtime and wake-up times, it will naturally slip into a routine.
In addition, be sure to remember that sticking to a schedule is just as important as creating one. It might be tempting to stay up late finishing an episode of your favorite show or reading the next chapter of your book, but you’ll likely regret your choices when you’re struggling to keep your eyes open at work the next day. To ensure that you stick to your schedule, write down your designated sleep and wake-up times and look for the best alarm clock that will alert you when it’s time to get up. When it comes to getting enough rest, embracing order and structure can make a world of difference.
Start Sleeping Better Today
Enjoying better sleep habits and hygiene is a lot simpler than you’ve been led to believe. By listening to your body and creating a nighttime routine that works for you, you can wake up each morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. All you need are a few simple changes to your sleep schedule and lifestyle and you’ll be unstoppable in every area of your work, social, and personal life.