Many Americans aren’t getting enough sleep– in fact, 40 percent are getting less than seven hours a night. While there are a lot of reasons behind this, whether it be lack of time, or an inability to fall asleep easily, sleep remains an important factor in human wellness.
While we rest, our bodies work to repair our muscles and regulate our systems. Our brains are able to remove waste products, which improves function and memory. Without proper rest, our risk of seizures, high blood pressure, and illness increases, and the symptoms of migraines and depression can worsen significantly.
5 Ways to Get Better Sleep
There is hope, however. If you struggle to get a full night’s rest, there are some pretty easy lifestyle changes you can make to invest in your sleep and get a better night’s rest.
1. Jog in the Morning
Exercise reduces stress and physically tires out the body, so the connection between a workout and sleep is understandable. People who work out in the morning, however, experience longer, deeper sleep. Additionally, the added sunshine that you’ll get outside can help regulate your circadian rhythms, which makes it easier to fall asleep at the same time every night. Just be sure to not overdo it early in the day because your body requires much more warm-up after a restful night.
2. Meditate at Night
Meditation helps prepare the mind and body for rest by clearing the mind. Common obstacles that many people face to falling asleep are worrisome thoughts, but meditation has been found to reduce anxiety and outside distractions. Incorporating a quick meditation into your nightly routine can train your body to associate it with sleep, so you’ll eventually feel sleepy once you start your meditation.
3. Use the Right Bed
Being comfortable in bed is a large factor in your quality of sleep, so it’s important to create a sleeping environment that fits your body’s needs. If you have hip or shoulder pain, invest in a firmer, more supportive mattress. If you struggle with snoring, try using a thicker, elevated pillow. For sweaty sleepers: buy cotton sheets to wick away sweat and improve air flow. Making small changes like these can make a huge difference in your, and your partner’s, sleep quality and help you stay asleep for longer.
4. Lower the Temperature
Your body’s temperature lowers naturally as it prepares for sleep, so keeping your bedroom cool should speed up the process and act as a subconscious reinforcement to your body that it’s bedtime. A lower temperature in your bedroom can also stimulate the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Keep your room between 60 and 68 degrees to get optimal rest.
5. Avoid Blue Lights
The blue lights emitted from electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers, and LED light bulbs, can have huge impacts on our sleep patterns. The light interrupts your circadian rhythm by suppressing the secretion of melatonin. Try to avoid using electronics at least two hours before bed, and if you can’t, use dim red lights. There are apps you can download on your devices to warm the color of the screen and support your sleep schedule.
By just taking a few steps throughout the day, you can easily set yourself up for a better night’s sleep, and improved overall health. So, if you’re serious about your health, start setting aside time to ensure you get regularly restful nights.
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