We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, so it is no surprise perhaps that there are numerous health benefits associated with getting plentiful, high-quality sleep. These can range from boosts to your mental health, to weight loss and improved cardiovascular health. Alternately, poor sleep is linked with reduced brain functions and weight gain in children and adults. However, in spite of this, studies suggest more people than ever are not sleeping well. While those suffering from severe insomnia should consider consulting with a medical profession, there are plenty of things those with less severe sleep issues can do themselves to increase the duration and quality of their sleep. Here are just a few ways to easily improve your quality of sleep.
Avoid Stimulants before Bed
Unsurprisingly, it is generally not a good idea to consume caffeinated beverages late in the day, and especially directly prior to sleeping. Caffeine can be a useful tool for increasing your energy and productivity during the day. However, ingesting it in the evening can prevent your nervous system from relaxing when you go to sleep. It is also a diuretic, meaning you may need get up to visit the toilet more at night! You may then consider having a decaffeinated coffee or tea later in the day, instead. Similarly, smoking can also have a mild stimulating effect, so should be avoided later in the evening.
While it is certainly far from a stimulant, alcohol, and especially the overconsumption of it, has also been linked to poor sleep quality. People with problems sleeping should consequently also avoid drinking too much before going to bed.
Upgrading Your Bed
Individuals can often not anticipate the impact your actual sleeping surface can have to improve your quality of sleep. Old, creaky and unsupportive mattresses can be uncomfortable, exacerbate already-existing health issues, and cause difficulties in both getting to sleep and getting quality sleep. If you have had your current bed base for a significant period of time, you may consider purchasing a new bed, especially if you are having problems sleeping on the old one. Modern bedding solutions, such as this zero gravity bed here, are often designed with specific health benefits in mind, including increasing your ease of breathing, and reducing neck and back soreness.
Increase Your Exposure to Sunlight
Your body has a natural clock of its own, known as its circadian rhythm, which naturally dictates are feelings of sleepiness or energy within a day. It deduces this largely from exposure to natural light. Therefore, ensuring you absorb some sunlight everyday is scientifically linked to better sleep quality and duration. In fact, studies of natural light exposure among insomniacs have reported up to 80% improvements in participants’ sleep. Unfortunately, the realities of modern life mean it is not always entirely possible for individuals to get adequate sunlight within a given day. If this is the case for you, you should consider investing in artificial lights which imitate natural sunlight.
Similarly, you should try to avoid absorbing too much blue light from television or computer screens directly before attempting to sleep. This is because the input of this light can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm if you are looking to improve your quality of sleep.
Change Your Sheets Regularly
Another reason you may be experiencing sleep issues is due to allergic reactions while you are asleep. Sleeping in the same area every night inevitably produces dust particles. This can cause issues with your eyes and nose, as well as worsen your breathing. These problems can consequently lead to poor sleep as well as waking up regularly during the night. Changing your linen once a week will take care of this problem for the most part. However, you may want to do this even more regularly during spring and summer, if you suffer from hay fever. This is because by sleeping on your covers you are transferring pollen particles to your sheets.
Stick to a Routine
Your circadian rhythm will be more properly adjusted if you stick to a regular sleep pattern to improve your quality of sleep. Doing so will allow your body more certainty in knowing when it needs to both power up and down. As such, going to bed and waking up at similar times each day is significantly linked with healthier sleep quality. If you do continue having sleep problems, you should try to avoid irregular sleeping schedules. Also try to refrain or at least reduce any daytime sleeping you do to further ensure your internal clock is set. Setting your limit for naps at around 30 minutes should allow you to gain some extra energy without upsetting your sleep pattern.