In this post, you’ll learn about the important rules you shouldn’t ignore if you want to sleep better at night.
Here’s the surprising thing: we spend a third of our lives sleeping.
This does not even include the hours and days we spend tossing and turning in bed.
The good news is that sleeping is good for us.
Several studies show that not getting enough sleep leads to all kinds of health risks. These include:
- Risk of stroke
- Risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Poor cognitive ability
- Risk of memory loss
- Weight gain
Regardless of all these risks, most of us ignore sleep. And we also ignore the essentials of what enables us to sleep better at night.
Let’s look at some of the sleep guidelines you’re breaking and why you shouldn’t.
1. Don’t ignore bedroom light
Controlling what we see right before bed is crucial if we want to improve sleep hygiene.
Several studies have shown that bedroom light can affect sleep quality.
In general, stay away from blue light at night.
Blue light stimulates attention and energy – something you don’t need when you want to fall asleep.
If you cannot have a dark bedroom while you sleep, consider using red rights.
Red lights, unlike blue lights, can help influence your circadian rhythm and stave off melatonin.
Another way to block out the impact of light is to wear a sleep mask.
The reality is a sleep mask can be anything that helps to cover your eyes while you sleep.
Most of them are lightweight and can easily wrap around your head because it has elastic bands.
2. Don’t ignore room temperature
When we have the right temperature, not only do we sleep well, we also sleep longer.
This because the body’s sleep cycle and rhythm follow that of our body temperature.
If temperatures are high, we are more awake. If temperatures are low, we are more sleepy. It’s as simple as that.
An important sleep hygiene tip is to make sure that the temperature in your room is neither too cold nor too warm.
The temperature for our bedrooms needs to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for us to rest well.
Part of having a good temperature and feeling good is to improve the air circulation in your room.
Don’t be afraid to open the windows, if you have to for a brief moment to clear out stuffed out air.
Also, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can improve temperature by controlling humidity. This can be helpful in the summertime.
3. Don’t ignore the impact of caffeine
The caffeine in coffee hinders the functions of a brain hormone, namely adenosine.
This, in turn, increases the production of other hormones that make you active, a study shows.
When we drink coffee or any beverage with caffeine in the mornings, it helps us stay alert during the day.
But, if you take this a few hours before sleep, you’d likely find it difficult to sleep earlier.
And this could also mean lessening the quality of sleep we wish to have.
4. Don’t ignore exercise
According to Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., a director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep:
“Moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow-wave sleep you get. Slow-wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate.”
Researchers are yet to find the exact mechanism in the human body that connects exercise with sleep.
But, the common evidence from the scientific community is encouraging.
The National Sleep Foundation reported more telling insights.
It turns out that people who exercise on treadmill 7:00 am are more likely to sleep longer.
They also sustain deeper sleep cycles than people who workout later in the day.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, morning exercises can help set you up for a restful night
5. Don’t ignore what you wear
There are two ways we experience touch when we sleep.
One is the materials we wear and the other is the materials we touch (or bedding).
The reason what we wear is important is not because of texture, but because of our body’s temperature.
The key is to choose the right materials. Avoid synthetic material because they hold more heat and make you warmer.
Instead, choose breathable materials can help you sleep better. Also, make sure what you wear is the right fit and feel.
Too tight and things can get uncomfortable and even dangerous for your health.
In one study, researchers investigated male partners of couples looking for infertility treatment.
The data spanned over 17 years from 2000 to 2017.
The findings showed that men who often wore boxers had higher sperm concentration.
These men also had a higher total count, and lower FSH levels, compared to men who did not.
In this case, sleeping naked can be a good alternative too.
6. Don’t forget pillows matter
If you want to sleep well, selecting the best pillow can be the single most important decision you’ll ever make.
But it’s not that easy.
Should you go with a soft pillow or a hard one? Should you go with wide or narrow?
Because sleeping without a pillow means you are exposing your spine to danger in an unnatural posture.
This, in turn, can ultimately result in straining your muscles and joints too.
A study enrolled 52 patients who suffered from neck pain. These patients used four pillows are part of the study.
The results showed that 40 out of 52 patients reported that using a pillow alleviated that neck pain.
7. Don’t forget screen curfews help
Mobile phones, TVs, laptops, iPads all tend to be great distractions when it comes to getting ready to sleep.
At one point or another, we find ourselves playing video games, or busily scrolling through our Instagram feeds.
Don’t do this. That takes up much time than we even realize.
Turn all these off or keep them in a different room when it is time to sleep to reduce any form of distraction.
8. Don’t eat right before bed
For most of us, our work during the day makes it almost impossible to have breaks to eat.
And so we try to make up for this by eating large meals late at night when we get home.
This habit is not healthy. It often leads to indigestion and disrupts our sleep.
To break this habit, make time for eating well during the day.
Or stick to light, healthy snacks in the evenings to help better our night sleep.
9. Don’t ignore the calming effect of reading
If you want to sleep better at night, reading can be a game-changer. Let me explain.
Their research reported that reading was the best way to reduce stress, slashing stress levels by 68 percent.
Reading enabled the volunteers in the study to lower stress levels to a point lower than before they started.
The researchers found that subjects who read silently for six minutes were able to slow the pace of their heart rate and ease muscle tension.
10. Don’t take bedtime routines for granted
A lot of studies have researched how bedtime routines impact sleep and well being in young adults and children.
In one study, researchers found that a consistent bedtime routine was associated with better sleep outcomes.
What did they mean by sleep outcomes? The factors include:
- Earlier bedtimes
- Shorter sleep onset latency
- Reduced night waking
- Increased sleep duration
If you’re ignoring any of these tips, it’s not too late. You cannot play catchup with sleep.
The more sleep you’re losing each day, the harder it becomes to reverse the negative health effects.
But these simple sleep rules can make all the difference and help you sleep better at night.