A good night’s sleep is the foundation for good health. When we sleep, our mind and body are able to repair itself the next day to come. Sleep can strengthen your immune system helps you maintain a healthy weight and can lower your risk for serious health conditions.
When we can’t sleep or stay sleep, our bodies and our minds aren’t able to recharge. Prolonged lack of sleep can have serious effects on our mental and physical health, so it is imperative that we get enough of it.
When we wake up from sleep, we are supposed to feel refreshed, alert and ready for the day ahead. But for a lot of us, that is not the case. We often hit the snooze button on our alarms and when we finally do wake up, we still feel groggy and are not motivated to get our day started. This may be because we aren’t getting good, quality and restful sleep.
Symptoms of Poor-Quality Sleep
If you haven’t gotten quality sleep, you may feel tired when you wake up. Even groggy and fuzzy headed. It may be hard for you to remember things like where you left your keys as you rush out the door. At work, it may be hard for you to focus or be as productive as you know you could be.
Towards the end of the day or even during the day you may feel irritable, cranky or moody. This is not an ideal state of mind to be in even when trying to go to bed. It is ideal to go to bed in a calm state of mind.
Sleep deprivation can also slow our reflexes, affects our decision making, and reduces creativity. We also may experience an anxious feeling or the feeling of being sad.
Tips to Create A Peaceful Environment for Sleep
Your bedroom should be treated as a sleep oasis. It should be stress free and distraction free when it is time to go to bed. There is no right or wrong way to create this peaceful getaway. It all comes down to personal preferences and what you think would calm and relax you.
Ideally, when we go to sleep, the room you are sleeping in should be cool and dark. The temperature- according to some researchers- should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Some experts say that the darker the room, the better the sleep. You can use blackout shades to reduce the light from external sources (especially if you live in a busy city that never seems to sleep).
The Quieter the Room the Better
Almost 75% of Americans think that a quieter room makes for a better night’s sleep. But if you’re like me, the silence can often times be a bit disturbing, so many people will opt for some sort of white noise. The white noise or ambient sound can mask the sound of outside disturbances such as car horns or noisy night owl neighbors.
You can add a fan which will kill 2 birds with one stone by creating the ideal room temperature and add a white noise to your room. You can also listen to binaural beats or the sounds of nature if you need more of a subtle distraction. You can even listen to meditation music or use guided meditation meant to improve your quality of sleep. These sounds can help create a relaxing and peaceful environment for sleep.
Choose Comfortable Bedding and Sleep Position
Although this may not come as a shocker, but your sleeping condition is imperative to a good night’s sleep. If you are sleep uncomfortably, that may cause pain and pain can be a distraction for you as you try to sleep.
Ensure that you have comfortable pillows and a comfortable mattress that you intend to sleep on. Also, find a comfortable sleeping position. You may have to adjust the type of pillows you use depending if you are a side sleeper versus a back sleeper. Your pillows should support your head to reduce any tension or stress that may be applied to your neck and back.
Declutter Your Bedroom
Research has shown that when you are surrounded by clutter, you may be more likely to have a sleeping disorder, even if your bed is comfortable. Whet your eyes see as you enter a room can influence on whether or not you’ll be able to fall asleep.
Winding Down After Your Day
After a busy day, it is important to allow your body time to unwind and decompress from your day. You don’t have to completely shut down from the world or your life. It just means you may need to make a few changes to calm your busy mind and transition from day time to night time.
Listen to Soothing Music
Listening to relaxing, slower paced rhythms instead of watching the news can help relax you. Classical music has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, listening to any music, especially your favorite tracks will help you quiet down and lift your mood.
Dim the Lights
Try turning on lamps or using a dimmer switch instead of turning on bright, over head lights. Indirect light is less disruptive to the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Candles are often ideal to use for they can create a more serene and warming glow into your room.
Aromatherapy involves using essential oils to help heal the mind and body. There are several essential oils you can use to create a calming atmosphere, reduce stress, improve sleep or to induce a sense of calm and relaxation. You can diffuse essential oils in an essential oil diffuser, burn scented candles or incense or use a wax warmer to diffuse the aromas into the air.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
You can begin to unwind even during your day. You can exercise early, limit your coffee, tea and soda intake and avoid eating foods that may upset your stomach (that you are aware of). Also, drinking alcohol too early in the day can diminish your sleep quality.
Get Some Sun
Try to expose yourself to natural sunlight early in the day. You don’t necessarily have to sun-bathe for hours (especially during the winter seasons). When you get natural light during the day will keep your body clock on a healthy sleep and wake cycle.
Cut Down Evening Phone Activity
Often times, we tend to take our work home. This would include answering work emails or constantly thinking of the next move to make on a big project. Well, believe it or not, this could be adding stress and anxiety into your already stressful life.
Think about it, every email you respond to, means you have to make another decision which, in return, keeps your mind active. By “working” at home, this takes away from your social time, family time or, most importantly, alone time. You can use mindfulness to be present in your personal life and to escape from your work life.
Tips to De-stress
Often times or not, are minds are focused on the thoughts that are swirling around in there. W It is our nature to worry, but our minds can get caught up in this worry with may lead to anxiety, agitation or even sadness. These tips can help you de-stress and help you get some much needed sleep.
There are some yoga poses that you can try to help relieve stress and anxiety and help you prepare for bed. Many people and research has found that doing a few yoga poses can help reduce stress and ease your mind before bed time.
Create a Gratitude List
Writing a gratitude list or journal means writing down all of the things that you are grateful for a few times a week. When you do this, you can actually lower your blood pressure and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Warm Bath Before Bed
Try taking a warm bath or shower a few hours before bed. This has been proven in lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. The heat also relaxes tense and tired muscles. Add a few drops of Lavender oil to increase the de-stress time that you have. Plus, you can get an added bonus of alone time when you’re in the shower or bath. So run that water, light some relaxing candles and relax.
Tips To Fall Asleep
Set a Sleep Schedule
One of the hardest things to do in a busy life is to keep a schedule. Let alone a specific schedule designed for sleep. But when we set a sleep schedule, our body’s internal clock is activated. When we set a sleep schedule, we are setting a time our body expects to get sleep.
It is important to keep to your sleep schedule. If you don’t get to sleep on time, it is still important to wake up around the same time, not sleep in to make up for the time. By sleeping in, you can alter your sleep pattern. Getting up at your usual time will heighten your sleep drive and help you sleep better the following night.
Create a Pre-Bedtime Routine
Warm up that bath water, read a book, meditate or listen to that music you love. These activities can be relaxing and it’s best to do them about an hour before you are ready to go to sleep. This creates a transition between you being up and active and your bed time. It helps you mentally prepare and wind down after a long day.
Power Down the Electronics
Yes! We love scrolling through social media in our downtime. It’s even harder to power down we get sucked into the never-ending videos on YouTube. We start on researching how to paint a wall and find ourselves watching cute cat videos.
The only problem is, the blue light from our mobile devices can interfere with the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that tells our bodies it’s time to wind down. If you don’t want to get off of your electronic devices, try putting your screen on dim. Now a day, most of our devices have the option of using a blue light filter. Apply this to your device about an hour before your bed time.
Also, when you stay on your electronic devices, it can inspire our minds to stay active (which is the complete opposite of what we want to achieve before sleeping).
If possible, sleep with your devices out of reach. Put it on the opposite side of the room or even in a another room. If that’s not possible, put it on “Don Not Disturb” to block notifications from flashing or vibrating during the night. You can also put it face-down so you aren’t disturbed. If you use your phone as an alarm (like many of us do), consider using an old fashioned alarm clock to wake up in the morning.
Get Regular Exercise
Having a regular exercise routine can help contribute to improved sleep. It goes deeper than burning excess energy even though that is one of the reasons. It has to do with the chemicals being release in our brains. The effects exercise has on our brains might not be immediate for some, but in others it may be.
It’s best to exercise at least 3 hours before going to bed. Exercise and fitness stimulates the brain to release cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that keeps your brain alert. This is normal unless you are trying to get some rest.
Limit or Reduce Day Time Naps
Taking short term naps during the day, even as little as 20-25 minutes, can alter your sleep during the night. Although it boosts your mood for the short term and you may feel refreshed after your nap, it can affect your sleep pattern for the night-time.
Summing it Up
It is imperative that we get sufficient sleep for our mental and physical health. There are several different things we can do to achieve the perfect sleeping environment and things we can do to help us fall asleep. Try a few things at a time and find out which strategy works best for you and your specific needs.
The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. Self Verve is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. Be sure to contact your physician before trying any of the items stated in the above article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Self Verve does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
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