Are you getting a good night’s sleep? Getting between the recommended amount of seven to nine hours of good quality sleep a night is just as important as eating well and taking regular exercise.
If we don’t sleep well, then it can lead to all kinds of health complications. Stress is one of the side effects of not getting enough rest while it can also be harmful to your physical wellbeing; when we sleep is when the body gets to work at repairing damage to cells, ensuring that we are in prime condition.
If you don’t think you are getting enough sleep or you want to improve the quality of the rest that you do get, then have a look at these five tips to getting a good night’s sleep.
Avoid electronic devices before you go to bed
Our bodies run on a natural clock which is known as our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm affects your brain and your hormones, effectively helping you to stay awake during the day and aiding you in getting to sleep at night.
You need your circadian rhythm to be in good working order if you want to get the right amount of sleep at the right time, but unfortunately, there are some ways in which you can impact on its effectiveness. The most damaging of these is exposing yourself to what is called blue light of an evening.
Blue light refers to the sort of artificial glow that electronic devices such as televisions, smartphones, and tablets give off. If you are using these devices right up until the point you go to bed you will find that your body is tricked into thinking it is still daytime and your circadian rhythm will keep you awake as a result by releasing hormones such as melatonin into your body.
Avoiding any blue light devices for at least an hour before you hit the pillow can improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Have a regular bedtime
Another way that you can help your circadian rhythm is by having a regular bedtime. It works more effectively if it can get into a pattern of knowing exactly when it should start preparing your body for sleep every day.
Say you go to bed at 11 pm every night. By getting your body used to this routine, it will know that come 10.30pm that it can start winding down safe in the knowledge that sleep will be coming in the next half an hour or so.
A regular bedtime will not only aid the quality of your sleep, but it will also aid your body’s natural body clock – you might even find that if you can introduce a regular waking up time, you don’t need an alarm clock anymore.
Avoid caffeine before bed
America is a nation of coffee lovers. We can’t get enough of the stuff. Sixty-four percent of Americans have at least one cup a day with many of us reliant on the focus and energy boost that it can provide to get us through those early mornings at work.
Coffee works because it stimulates your nervous system and prevents your body from relaxing. That makes it great for helping us to stay awake, but that also means it is bad news if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
The question then is when should you have your last coffee of the day? Mid-afternoon is probably the best answer. Caffeine can stay in your blood for up to six to eight hours after consumption, so if you are still drinking coffee past 3 pm, it could be having a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep.
Take natural remedies and supplements
You might find that your body needs some assistance in getting to sleep, in which case natural remedies and supplements can be the way to go. There are two different approaches you can take in that case. The first is to focus on what can send you to sleep, with the likes of chamomile tea, kava, glycine, and valerian being proven to help in that regard.
The second involves supplements that help you relax. One of the biggest inhibitors to a good night’s sleep is not being able to relax if we are tense or worried; our brains won’t shut down properly or allow us to get the rest we need. Magnesium, vitamin B12, L-theanine or CBD oil from a company like Ananda Hemp can aid in the relaxation process, improving the quality and length of our sleep as a result.
Ensure your bedroom environment is comfortable
You can give your body the best chance of getting a good night’s sleep by making sure that your bedroom environment is as comfortable as possible. The obvious place to start here is with the actual bed itself. If you are sleeping on a hard, lumpy mattress, then you won’t be comfortable enough to get the quality night’s sleep you need. You should change your mattress every seven to ten years according to the Sleep Help Institute so if you are sleeping on something that was purchased before the millennium, now is the time for an upgrade.
Other factors that can impact on the length and quality of your sleep include external noise, light, and temperature. High-quality windows can help to keep out any passing traffic or shouting going on outside, and dark curtains are best for reducing the amount of light. As we’ve already noted, avoiding electronic devices is particularly important, so try and keep your bedroom a technology-free zone.
Finally, there is the temperature. As you’ve probably experienced in the summer months, how hot or cold it is can have a real effect on your ability to get to sleep at night with one study showing that temperature can be more of a disturbance than noise. The optimum temperature of the bedroom will vary from person to person, but as a general rule of thumb, you should be looking for around 70 degrees to help induce a good night’s sleep.