We all know that sleep is incredibly important. Our bodies heal and regenerate themselves during sleep. Getting enough sleep makes us happier, weigh less, think more clearly, and have better overall health. But what do we do if we can’t get enough sleep?
Here are a few tips to help ensure that you get the best night’s rest you can.
Your bedroom, and especially the bed itself, should be relegated to sleep (and romance). Working or talking or watching TV in your bed will cause your brain to start working when you get in it. Train your brain to automatically start resting when you crawl in bed by reserving the bed for nothing but sleep.
Outfit your room to be a great sleep environment. Invest in a good mattress that supports your back, pillows and bedding that are comfy and make you feel good, and a neatly organized night stand with a lamp that gives off warm light. People tend to sleep better in cooler temperatures, so you might keep the air in your room just a few degrees below room temperature.
If you need white noise to sleep, keep a fan or use a white noise app. If you’re one of those people who suddenly remembers, as you’re trying to fall asleep, everything you have to do the next day, keep a notepad by your bed and jot things down, so that you can see them first thing in the morning and let them go for the time being.
The hour before bed
Experts strongly recommend dedicating the hour before bed to quiet time. This means turning off screens and slowing down the body. To calm your brain, now is a good time to open up a book or a magazine. You could play a game of solitaire (with real cards! Not on a computer), or spend ten to twenty minutes meditating.
To calm your body, you might take a hot bath or soak in the spa for a bit, or have a your favorite nightcap (be careful to stay away from needing a drink to sleep, though). You could also wind down with tai chi or yoga, which will help still both body and brain.
If you find that you try to implement everything you’re “supposed” to do in order to get good sleep, but you’re still waking up unrested, it might be time to check in with your doctor. You could have a sleeping disorder. Some sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are obvious to the sufferer, but others go unnoticed. Sleep apnea (apnea del sueño) occurs when the sleeper stops breathing for short periods throughout the night.
This can happen either because tissues in the mouth and throat close up the airways or the brain just stops sending signals to the respiratory tract. This disorder keeps oxygen from getting to the body and the brain the way it needs to.
Fortunately, it can be helped with a CPAP machine, which uses pressurized air to keep the passages open. Checking with your doctor and treating a sleep disorder could make your world so much better.
Cover image: Evelyn De Morgan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons