The quality of your sleep is just as important to your health as a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. Although we all know that sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, increases the chance of developing cardiovascular disease, and has a negative impact on brain function and mental health, it seems that our modern, fast-paced society has waged war on sleep.
Maybe you got in the habit of catching up on work in the evenings and sleeping in during the weekends. Now you’re exhausted, but you spend half of your nights counting imaginary sheep and staring at the clock. These simple tips will help you sleep like a pro.
Choose the Perfect Bed and Mattress
Although you may try to make it more inviting, no amount of decorative pillows will make a sagging mattress comfortable. You’ll still wake up with back pain and a bad mood. If your mattress is long past its prime, we recommend taking a look at Sleep Number bed reviews. This company uses an innovative system based on air bladders that allows you to customize the level of firmness, and biometric sensors will provide insight into your sleep patterns.
Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Throughout the day, your circadian rhythm or internal clock helps your body shift between sleep and wakefulness. This process can get disrupted by shift work, traveling across time zones, pulling all-nighters, long naps, or frequent changes in the time you go to sleep or wake up.
Since external factors can disrupt your internal clock, you can also use external factors to regulate it. The first thing you’ll want to do is start going to sleep at the same time every day. Don’t sleep in on weekends either. It’s more effective if you create a relaxing bedtime schedule such as taking a hot bath as this will help signal your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. You’ll also want to limit using your laptop or smartphone since the blue light emitted by the screens suppresses melatonin production.
Turn Your Bedroom into the Perfect Environment for Sleep
There’s another aspect of sleep hygiene that needs your attention: your sleeping environment. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to sleep well if your bedroom is bright and noisy. Even if you’re tired enough to sleep through a thunderstorm, the light and the noise will still interfere with your sleep architecture, pulling you out of the deep sleep phase. This can be easily dealt with by soundproofing your windows and getting some heavy curtains to shut out the light.
Refrain From Alcohol and Caffeine
As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant. That’s why we keep gulping down several cups of coffee throughout the day. It makes us feel more alert. This happens because caffeine works as an adenosine receptor agonist, and adenosine is a neurotransmitter that acts as a central nervous system depressant, promoting sleepiness. The problem is that caffeine has a half-life of about 3 to 5 hours. That’s how long it takes your body to eliminate just half of the caffeine you ingested. The rest remains in your body and makes it harder to fall asleep.
With alcohol, it’s a different story. Many people say that a couple of glasses of wine in the evening actually help them fall asleep faster. This is because alcohol acts as a depressant. But it has also been found to decrease sleep quality and worsen symptoms of common sleep disorders like sleep apnea.