Today’s fast-paced lifestyle often works against our natural internal clocks, making it difficult to get the restorative sleep we need. So let’s explore how you can develop better sleep habits and create an ideal sleeping environment for healthier rest.
Don’t let your energy levels fool you — lack of sleep can be hazardous to your health. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults are not getting enough sleep, at least seven hours of sleep each night (the minimum amount medical experts recommend), and are experiencing some form of daytime impairment because they are tired.
Even more alarming, they are reporting that insufficient sleep is an under-recognized public health problem, with short-term effects on a person’s safety and performance at work, school, and home and long-term health consequences such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and poor mental health.
The good news is you can still get the restorative sleep your body needs by creating a healthy sleeping environment and establishing good sleep habits.
6 Good Sleep Habits for Healthier Rest
Establishing good sleep habits first begins with establishing a nighttime routine. You’ll want to go to bed and rise at the same time every day, including weekends. This will help you reset your circadian rhythm, establish your natural sleep cycle, and make it easier for you to fall asleep each night.
Here are some other habits to help you achieve that deep restorative sleep we all need:
Don’t Rely on the Snooze Button as a Way To Get More Sleep.
Allowing yourself to be continually awakened by your alarm interrupts your usual sleep schedule, leading to poor quality sleep as well as grogginess throughout the following day. Instead, following the rest of these tips is more important to establish a solid block of sleep throughout the night. This will help you to awaken feeling refreshed and recharged for the day.
Consider Using Supplements To Help You Sleep.
Sleep is an essential and often underrated aspect of life. However, getting a good night’s sleep can be hard without the help of supplements. Many different supplements can help you sleep- melatonin, valerian root, chamomile tea, and GABA. You can take all of these supplements in conjunction with each other to create a more effective way to get the rest you need at night.
Turn off Electronics an Hour Before Going To Bed.
Not only do devices like tablets and cell phones emit a blue light that can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin, but their constant alerts and updates coming in throughout the night can also disrupt sleep. Read a book instead!
You should definitely avoid using technology for at least an hour before you go to bed. This will help you wind down and relax your mind before going to sleep. However, if you must use electronics as part of your nightly routine, try dimming those screens as much as possible to minimize the effects of disrupting your sleep cycle.
Make Your Bedroom Dark and Cool.
Your body needs a cool and inviting environment to help you fall asleep. If your room is too brightly lit or uncomfortably warm, this can disrupt your sleep pattern. Instead, consider using heavy curtains on the windows to block out the street light. If it’s warmer, try turning your thermostat down a few degrees or getting a fan to help keep you cool as you drift off to dreamland.
Avoid Taking Daytime Naps if Possible.
Napping for more than 20 minutes during the day can disrupt nighttime sleeping patterns, making it difficult for you to get sound, restorative sleep at night. This can also make it harder for you to get up in the morning because of “sleep inertia” or the grogginess you feel immediately after waking up.
If naps are part of your routine, try not to nap more than 20 minutes at a time and avoid doing so later in the day (in order to avoid disrupting nighttime sleeping patterns.)
Create a Nighttime Routine That Helps You Relax Before Going To Bed.
Stress is one of the most common reasons people experience difficulty falling asleep and poor quality sleep once they do fall asleep. In order to create good sleep habits, you should develop a routine that’s calming to your mind and body before you go to sleep, including avoiding stimulants like caffeine.
You can include meditation in your nighttime routine to relax your mind and body before going to bed.
It may also be helpful for you to create a relaxing bedtime ritual that allows you some “me” time instead of using it as an excuse to catch up on your phone or tablet. For example, reading a book, taking a bath, journaling, or catching up with loved ones are all good ways of winding down without relying heavily on technology before bedtime.
Remember that sleep is just one part of overall health and wellness — good nutrition and regular exercise are also key factors in promoting better-quality sleep. So focus on eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity on a regular basis.
When you prioritize your health and well-being, it’s easier to establish good sleep habits that lead to healthier restorative sleep.
Insufficient sleep can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s physical and mental health. Research has shown that routinely sleep-deprived people are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, weight gain, and reduced cognitive abilities.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that an individual get 7-8 hours of sleep each night to maintain the body’s natural hormone production, which helps regulate moods. Following these guidelines can avoid many mental and physical health risks.