Sleep helps us maintain a healthy body and mind. Adequate rest improves productivity, concentration, your immune system, calorie regulation, and your social and emotional intelligence. It helps to decrease inflammation, weight gain, symptoms of depression, and chronic pain.
Some of us suffer from sleep issues such as insomnia, sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. If you have any of these problems or want to improve your sleep quality for another reason, we’ve got six of our best tips for you.
The Correct Mattress
Having a comfortable mattress is essential for proper sleep. The correct bed for one person might not be ideal for another, so you’ll have to understand your needs.
Side sleepers will enjoy softer memory foam mattresses because they support the curves of the body and weight distribution. In contrast, a back sleeper might want a firmer mattress for no sagging and proper posture support.
Unsure where to start looking? The best mattress brands by health.com have a variety of options for all types of sleepers.
Sleep and Wake Up at the Same Time
Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm, which tells the brain when it’s time to be awake and when to be asleep. You can sync your system by going to bed and getting up at the same time every night. It will help your body enjoy better quality sleep.
This means that on the weekends you shouldn’t stay up late or sleep in all day. Also, napping can disturb your system because you’re snoozing when your body should be up.
Set alarms to remind you to get to sleep and to wake up. Soon your body will do this naturally, and you’ll feel well-rested in the morning.
Understand Light Exposure
Before electricity, the circadian rhythm was regulated with the sun. Our bodies haven’t fully adapted to false lighting, and our systems can become confused.
To ensure better sleep, you need to expose yourself to bright light during the day. This signals your body that it needs to be alert. Try to sit by a window at work, or go outside on your lunch breaks.
At night, you should avoid bright light to let your circadian rhythm function correctly. Nowadays, we have fluorescent lights, televisions, computers, and smartphones we look at during the evenings.
Too much exposure can trick our brains into thinking it’s still day time, and you won’t start producing melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. Try to shut off all screens one to two hours before you plan to sleep.
Limit Late Caffeine Intake
A cup of coffee or tea in the morning can get you up and moving. It’s a great way to start the day, but consuming caffeine too late in the day can make you restless when it’s bedtime.
Caffeine stays in our bloodstream from six to eight hours. You should have your last caffeinated drink at 2 pm. This will ensure you can sleep by 10 pm without feeling jittery or alert.
Exercise During the Day
You don’t have to be a complete gym rat to get quality rest, but some type of light exercise daily will improve your sleep. It’s been proven that physical activity can improve symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea.
You can burn off any extra energy you have with doing exercises. At night, you’ll be able to get to sleep quickly and deeply to recover from the long day.
Refrain from Consuming Alcohol
A glass of wine or a beer is known to help relax you. Although this is true, it can have adverse effects on the quality of sleep you get.
Alcohol interferes with melatonin production and doesn’t allow your body to go into REM sleep, which is the deepest and most beneficial type of rest. You should rethink your daily glass, and opt for chamomile tea to help relax you.
The Bottom Line
The amount of sufficient rest you get each night can have a tremendous impact on your health. Some people suffer from sleep issues, which creates fatigue and other negative effects.
Use our six tips to get better rest at night. You should use the correct mattress, have a sleep routine, understand light exposure, limit caffeine intake in the afternoon, exercise daily, and limit alcohol consumption. Soon you’ll be waking up refreshed and well-rested.