In order to get the most out of your sleep, you need to make it a priority. I hear so many people say, “Sleep is overrated,” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” Well, it’s far from overrated, and why wait until you’re dead, since quality sleep will help you enjoy life more? When you make sleep your priority, you will end up feeling more refreshed throughout the day and will be more productive overall. Sleep is crucial for stress management, and lack of sleep can cause undue stress to the body. Our minds don’t function as well, nor do our bodies, particularly if the lack of sleep is chronic. Did you know that the optimal sleep amount required for most people to function at their best is 7-9 hours per night? How many are YOU getting, on average? These are just a few things you can do to make sleep a priority.
• Take the time to look at how you sleep. Is your bedroom a dark, safe, relaxing place? Are your mattress and pillows comfortable? Do they give you enough support? If you find yourself saying “no” to any of these questions, it may be time to reevaluate your sleep environment. On average, a mattress should be replaced every seven years and pillows should be replaced every year. I use a “Chiro-flow” pillow. It’s a water pillow! The link is at the bottom. There are other brands, but I have three of these and have not tried any others. Doesn’t have to be replaced, as you control the fill…water doesn’t break down. I have changed my fill amount according to my needs at different times. And, my Casper mattress was the best investment e-ver. Finding the right mattress can make a world of difference. Also think about blackout curtains.
• Look around your bedroom. What distractors are there that keep you from getting the sleep you need? Take out anything work related, especially things that create stress. You should also avoid using your smartphone, laptop, tablet or television for at least an hour before bed as well. The backlight in those objects lead to the release of chemicals that tell your body it is daytime, making it significantly harder to fall asleep. I do not recommend keeping a tv in the bedroom whatsoever. Ideally, the bedroom should be for two things: sleep, and I’ll let you guess the other. 😉 Tv interferes with both. If you need the Tv on for noise, simply get a white noise machine. I got mine on Amazon.com. I put the link at the bottom. It blocks out unwanted sounds for better quality of sleep. Of course there are many options out there, in all price ranges.
• Make sure that if you are going to drink caffeine, you don’t do it later in the day. Caffeine can stay in your body up to 23 hours. That early cup o’ joe can affect a good night’s sleep! If you’re reaching for that Monster in the afternoon, know that it, too, will affect you. My advice—if you want great sleep, eliminate caffeine, up the water intake.
• While many think it’s no big deal to have a couple alcoholic drinks in the evening, alcohol can actually have a huge negative impact on the quality of sleep.
• Journaling! This is a great way to get out of your head anything that’s consuming your thoughts. Write down what’s on your mind, then let it go. I always recommend ending with a minimum of 3 things you are grateful for that particular day. Getting your mind in a “happy place,” will create a more restful sleep. If you think of something that needs to get done, jot it down, you can revisit it in the morning…after your great night of sleep.
There are many more ways to help improve sleep quality, but these are some of the most important. If you are serious about improving sleeping habits, do more research to find out other ways you could be getting better, more effective sleep!