Rest, relaxation, a good night’s rest. It sounds so simple, yet millions of people find it difficult to achieve. In fact, 50 to 70 million people report having a sleeping disorder. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, which is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Disordered sleep leads to feeling drowsy during the day. Meaning, you are completing your ordinary tasks while you are drowsy, even driving. Driving while drowsy causes over 1500 fatalities and 40,000 injuries in a year.
The Center for Disease Control reports adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night for well-being. Seven out of 24 hours doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to accomplish. However, many adults don’t. And those who manage to get seven hours of lying down, may not get a good night’s rest.
These adults feel they get the quantity of sleep required, just not the quality. And quality is better than quantity. It’s better to get seven hours of restorative sleep versus ten hours of tossing and turning. Quality sleep can lead to many health benefits.
Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Rest
When you haven’t gotten good rest, you feel it the next day. You lack energy which leads to eating poorly, irritable mood, and you find it hard to stay focused at work. Long-term effects of poor sleep include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and mental health issues.
Just the opposite happens when you get quality sleep. You feel energized, your immune system is working to protect you, your moods are happier, and you are more likely to eat healthy.
Your skin becomes healthier, you can concentrate better, and your body is getting the oxygen it needs to operate at its best. Both your physical and mental health improve. So, how can you get a better night’s rest? Below are a few tips.
Create Sleep Hygiene
Sleep and hygiene are not typically words you put together. Normally you think of hygiene as being a part of caring for your body. Brushing your teeth, bathing, and other actions that keep you healthy. Well, hygiene for sleep does the same thing. It helps you get quality sleep so you can be healthy.
Sleep hygiene are the steps you take before, during and after sleep that help you get the best night’s rest. Creating a sleep routine helps your body regulate your circadian rhythm, your body’s time clock. It helps your body adjust to healthy habits, like brushing your teeth, turning off electronics, lying down in bed, and so on.
Each night, your body will expect these actions to happen at about the same time, signaling it is ready for sleep. You must also make sure your sleep routine includes ways to not be interrupted. Avoiding blue light exposure is one way to do this.
Avoid Blue Light Exposure at Night
Blue light is the light emitted from electronics like smartphones and computer screens. Turn off electronics at the same time each night, at least an hour before going to bed. You can also wear glasses that block blue light. Furthermore, there are apps you can download on all your electronics that can block the blue light on that device.
Manage Your Stress
Your life is hectic. Between work, family, and all other responsibilities, your feel overwhelmed. This stress can lead to poor sleep. Instead of getting restorative sleep, you are tossing, turning, and letting your to-do list run through your mind. Managing your stress is essential for a good night’s rest.
Working with a stress management professional, someone who can teach you techniques to manage stress, will help. Techniques like yoga and meditation are excellent skills to have and when added to your sleep hygiene routine, can help you get better sleep.
Balance Your Hormones
Hormonal imbalances can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Hormones affect your body’s temperature and can lead to night sweats and hot flashes, making it hard to sleep comfortably. They can also lead to insomnia.
If you find yourself having late night cravings, mood swings, headaches, and daytime fatigue, it may be because your hormones are out of balance. Reach out to a specialist in this field who can test your hormones and determine if this is one reason you are not getting a good night’s rest.
Watch What You Consume
Do you find yourself waking up throughout the night to go to the bathroom? These trips are interfering with you getting good sleep. The medical term for this is nocturia. It’s important you figure out the reason for your nocturia.
Caffeine could be one reason. Make sure you stop drinking or eating anything with caffeine several hours before bedtime. Caffeine can last for four or more hours so factor in that time frame when choosing drinks and foods throughout your day.
Diabetes could be another reason for frequent bathroom breaks, as well as drinking too much alcohol. The key is to avoid eating or drinking at least an hour before you go to sleep.
Additional Tips for Good Night’s Rest
As mentioned before, what you do before you go to sleep is important. Do things that are relaxing like take a hot bath or shower, read a positive book, listen to soft music, meditate or pray. If your doctor agrees, consider taking a supplement like melatonin. Make sure where you sleep is comfortable and a place you look forward to resting each night.
Only use your bed for the right reasons. Beds are not meant to be dining room tables, workstations, or bouncy houses. Beds are meant to be used for sleep and intimate relations with your significant other.
In conclusion, the benefits of a good night’s rest far outweigh any disadvantages. Even if you feel like you are doing great with little sleep, you aren’t. You may feel great for a while, but over time, you will start to notice the negative effects that come with a lack of good sleep.
Avoid these negative effects by making positive changes today.