Sleep is more important than you might think. Getting your eight hours is not only good for your physical health, but it also affects your overall mood and mental health. Here, we’ll share a few suggestions on how to get your best rest every night. But first, here’s a little background on why sleep is such a vital part of your day (and night).
What Sleep Does
Sleep gives your mind and body an opportunity to regenerate. If you exercise, for example, your body repairs the tiny tissue tears incurred by the muscles. This repair process is the only way to achieve growth. Further, sleep helps you build the energy you need to physically and mentally get through each day. A chronic lack of sleep, which Americans have sadly grown to accept as normal, can have a negative impact on your health from your metabolism to your willpower.
Arianna Huffington, in her book The Sleep Revolution, illustrates the importance of sleep by stating, “One thing is clear: sleep is profoundly intertwined with virtually every aspect of brain health.” The author asserts that chronic sleep deprivation may even be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease, mental illness, and aging.
Sleep and Stress
According to the American Psychological Association, most adults sleep less than seven hours each night. Nearly half of these people say the time they do sleep isn’t as restful as they would like. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep has significant consequences, especially where stress is concerned. Not sleeping can make you feel irritable, overwhelmed, and unmotivated. You may skip exercise, which is not good when you want your body to be prepared for sleep. Physical activity, when done at least an hour before bed, is one of the best ways to tire yourself out so that you can drift off. Exercise is also associated with feelings of positivity.
Limiting stress is not easy, but there are many changes you can make at home to keep the worst of it at bay. Start by paying attention to your bedroom. If you don’t have an environment conducive to settling down, you won’t sleep, which brings us back to all of the issues we’ve mentioned above. Outfit your sleep space with a comfortable bed and, if possible, a heating or cooling unit to help you keep the temperature in your preferred range. HomeAdvisor also suggests adding blackout curtains to reduce excess light and looking for ways to reduce noise, such as adding sound dampening materials to the bedroom.
You Sleep What You Eat
There is no specific diet that will promote healthy sleep patterns. However, it is widely accepted that your body needs a range of nutrition from protein and carbohydrates to fats, vitamins, and other micronutrients. One thing that is known, however, is that spicy foods, sugar, and caffeine should be avoided in the hours before going to bed.
How to Have Better Sleep
There are many factors that affect the quality of your sleep. One advent of the modern age is exposure to blue light from electronics, such as smartphones and computers. Blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm by making the brain believe it’s still daylight, so keep electronics — including the television — out of the bedroom.
Create a healthy sleep routine by going to bed at the same time each night. If you find you are constantly being interrupted by a restless or noisy spouse or partner, consider sleeping alone. Contrary to popular belief, this practice is quite common and may improve your relationship.
Sleep is essential to your overall well-being and is something you must make a conscious effort to prioritize. Take steps to reduce stress at home and create for yourself a reliable bedtime routine so that you can achieve the sleep of your dreams.