A good night’s sleep can have a huge impact on your overall health from the inside out. Research has shown that individuals who get quality sleep regularly have:
- A healthier immune system
- More energy
- A higher metabolism
- Reduced risk for mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Better-looking skin
But even though multiple organizations and health specialists recommend that adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night, many Americans just aren’t getting the rest they need.
A recent study found that the average American adult gets just 6.5 hours of sleep per night. And, roughly a third of the population gets less than six hours of rest regularly.
In addition, a significant chunk of the population has a myriad of sleep-related issues that can range from obstructive sleep apnea to insomnia, which further disrupts their sleep quality.
While quantity is important when it comes to rest, quality is equally important. This is because your brain needs to progress through the various sleep cycles multiple times per night to perform at its best when you’re awake.
Getting enough quality sleep is certainly a wide-reaching problem, but there are simple things that individuals can do to boost their rest and reap the benefits of a fully rested and peak-functioning brain.
So if you are one of the millions of Americans who struggle to sleep soundly or who don’t log in enough hours on a nightly basis when you shut your eyes, consider the following tips to promote better sleep patterns and to improve your health from head to toe.
1. Keep It Consistent
Most folks alter their sleep schedule throughout the week. For example, they sleep in on Sundays or stay up a little later than normal on a Friday night. However, one of the best ways to ensure routine quality sleep is to set a schedule and stick to it.
It’s certainly fine to take your time waking up on the weekends. However, generally, going to bed and waking up simultaneously every day is a good way to train your body and brain to achieve quality rest. It also ensures you’re getting the same amount of sleep you need on a nightly basis.
2. Power Down
Many folks like to fall asleep in front of the TV or while scrolling through their phone, but the blue light emissions that stem from electronic devices can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.
This is because these blue light emissions can interfere with your circadian rhythms and trick your brain into thinking it’s actually daytime instead of night.
So power down 30-60 minutes before you head to bed, or if you absolutely have to check your cell phone or laptop before you close your eyes, try installing an app that blocks blue light emissions on your devices.
3. Improve Your Environment
In our modern world, our bedrooms aren’t just where we get our nightly rest. Instead, they can serve as the spot where we relax and watch television, conduct work, exercise, or even munch on a late-night snack, and as such, it’s easy to get distracted when it’s finally time to lay down and rest.
If you use your bedroom for activities besides sleep, it’s much harder for the brain to slow down and to stop whirling through the many activities that need to be accomplished in the day ahead.
So to combat this busy-brain problem, designate your bedroom as a cozy and relaxing space that is designed for sleep. Remove the clutter, the paperwork, the exercise equipment, or any materials that might remind you of the tasks of the day, and only head to your bedroom when it’s time to go to sleep.
This way, your brain will correlate your bedroom with rest only, instead of a space where you may also work, play, or do other activities.
4. Limit Your Naps
Several studies have shown that taking a nap during the day won’t interrupt the quality or quantity of your rest, but the trick is to do it right. Try to limit your naps to one per day at the maximum. Take naps that are 30 minutes long or less to ensure that your nighttime sleep is not disturbed.
5. Get Active
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep. A recent study found that adults who exercise regularly could fall asleep much faster than those who remained sedentary.
They received an average of 41 extra minutes of sleep per night. In addition, people with severe insomnia greatly benefitted from exercise and even reported reducing anxiety and waking up during the night.
The key, however, is to make sure that you do not exercise right before bed, as the endorphins and energy that exercise produces may keep you awake far longer than expected.
6. Skip the Nightcap
Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but it can severely disrupt your natural sleep cycles throughout the night, making it far more likely to wake up frequently or not achieve quality rest. So limit your alcohol consumption, and especially in the hours leading up before bedtime.
7. Reduce Your Caffeine and Sugar Intake
Like alcohol, caffeine and sugar can also interrupt your ability to stay asleep and can also make it harder to get to a restful state of mind, to begin with.
Try to avoid consuming sugar and caffeine in the late afternoons and evenings, and these substances can stay in your system for hours and can impact your sleep quality.
8. Consult a Professional
Have you tried altering your diet, lifestyle, environment, and exercise routine and still can’t seem to achieve a good night’s rest? There may be bigger health issues at play!
If you’re having difficulty achieving a good night’s rest or just feel slow and sluggish no matter how much sleep you achieve, it’s time to reach out for professional help.
Contact the Lamkin Clinic today! We’ll work together to uncover the root cause of your sleeping issues, and determine the best treatments to move forward, so you can always enjoy the well-deserved and quality sleep that you need.