Sleep is an important part of life and impacts your overall health. When you’re getting the right amount and quality of sleep needed, your health is positively affected. If you’re not, your mental, physical, and emotional health can take a hit.
Do you often wake up groggy? Are you dissatisfied with the amount or quality of sleep you get? Don’t fret; there is hope. Grab your pillow and blanket and keep reading for tips to take your sleep from “needs improvement” to”Improved!”
1. Do a Sleep Study
If you’re feeling exhausted all day and experiencing brain fog, you may not be well-rested. Continued sleep deprivation not only impacts your health, but it can also impact your work performance. If you’re having a rough go of it, talk to your doctor about a sleep study.
The studies assess how much rest you’re getting, if you’re entering REM sleep, or if you’re experiencing sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, your breathing is interrupted multiple times with snoring and followed by episodes where you stop breathing. If sleep apnea is impacting you, a continuous positive airway pressure machine might help. Finding the best CPAP mask for you can help keep your airway open.
2. Find a New Pillow or Mattress
Are you still sleeping on your childhood mattress? Did you find a great deal on Facebook Marketplace for a “gently used” mattress? Your mattress might not seem important, but think about how you feel after a night on an air mattress or a cheap futon. What you sleep on matters. It might be time to upgrade if restless nights are your norm.
Quality pillows and mattresses can help with quality sleep. Try out a few different types to see what feels best for you. There are many decisions to make — soft or firm, memory foam or spring, adjustable or cooling. And looking for a good pillow that helps with neck and spine alignment is a quest too. These don’t have to cost a fortune either. Keep a budget in mind and look for something to help you achieve restful sleep.
3. Make a Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time can improve the quality of your rest. This can help with your circadian rhythm. Your body has a way of controlling your sleep and wake cycle. The more consistent you are in your sleep routine, the more your body will adjust and know what to expect.
If you consistently go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake at 6 a.m., your body comes to expect that. You’ll start to get tired around then, and you’ll likely wake up naturally before your alarm in the morning. Consistent bedtimes work well for little kids for a reason. Continue that throughout adulthood, and you’ll likely find yourself sleeping better as well. And try not to stray too far on the weekends, or you’ll wake up groggy come Monday morning.
4. Cut the Light
Part of your circadian rhythm and sleep schedule involves light. Your body naturally knows that dark means sleep and light means wake up. At night, melatonin is released to help you naturally begin to fall asleep. You can help your sleep pattern by controlling the light in your environment.
Blackout curtains in your bedroom can help with sleep as they reduce light. They can be especially helpful if you live in a place with longer daylight hours or if you work nights. Before bed, try to cut off blue light as well. Turn off the TV and set down your cell phone. These lights tend to make it harder to fall asleep.
5. Create a Restful Environment
Try to create a restful environment in your bedroom, especially if you have a hard time sleeping. To create this space, try to remove clutter and extra stimulus from your sleep area. Your blackout curtains, mentioned above, can help. A fan can help keep the room nice and cool. Calming smells can also relax you.
Make your bedroom a place for rest only and not multi-functional. If you are a student or work from home, try not to have your desk in your bedroom. Doing so can make it difficult to turn your mind off of tasks when you’re wanting to go to sleep at night.
6. Try Sleep Aids
If a few of the tips above aren’t helping, you could try a sleep aid. Start with a natural option like melatonin. Your body naturally produces this hormone in response to darkness to help with sleep. Adding this in can boost your natural processes. Take a little bit before bedtime, and begin your nighttime routine.
If natural melatonin doesn’t work, try other over-the-counter medications. If you try over-the-counter and it’s still not cutting it, talk to your doctor about prescription options. Make sure you have at least eight hours to sleep before you take any sleep aids. If you take them and have to wake up in a short amount of time you might feel groggy.
Quality sleep is a cornerstone of a healthy and productive life. It can even affect your driving and work performance. If you’ve been having a hard time sleeping, try the tips listed above. Quality sleep is possible. Take a few steps to improve your slumber; your mood and health are worth it!